Friday, May 7, 2010

Did Abraham Believe Isaac to be Messiah?

Alice C. Linsley

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

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

By all appearances, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Horite expectation of the Divine Seed who would overcome death. The Horites believed that Ra would bring forth His Son by the overshadowing of one of their virgin daughters. They lived in expectation of the fulfillment of a promise made to their Edenic ancestors that a Son (Seed) would be born who would be their Savior (Gen. 3:15).

As Abraham and Isaac ascended Mount Moriah, Isaac asked his father "where is the lamb for the sacrifice? Abraham replied that God would provide the lamb, but God provided a ram instead. For Abraham the Horite, this symbolized God's acceptance of his offering at that moment (justification now) and God's acceptance of Abraham at the eschaton (future justification). The ram caught in the thicket on Mount Moriah symbolized to Abraham that his offering had been accepted, because the lamb had become the ram. Horus was called the Lamb in his weaker (kenotic) existence and he was called the Ram in his glorified strength. Both are associated with the death and resurrection symbolism of the vernal equinox.

Abraham appears to have believed that Isaac was the Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15), but Isaac was spared when God provided his own Lamb who passed from weakness (kenosis) to fullness of power (resurrection). Abraham likely believed that Isaac was this son of promise since many of the circumstances surrounding Isaac's birth align with the ancient Horus myth. St. Paul says, "For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that He would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith." (Rom. 4:13)

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

1. Isaac was born miraculously (Gen. 21:5) as was Horus, who was said to have been born of a virgin. Issac was not born of a virgin, but Jesus was.

2. God named Isaac as the son by whom Abraham's Seed would be called (Gen. 21:12). His brother Ishmael was banished. Horus was exalted after being abused by his brother who was banished. Jesus will be exalted and those who reject Him will be banished to the fire.

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

4. Isaac received the kingdom from his father (Gen. 25:25) just as Horus received a kingdom from Osiris. Jesus receives the kingdom from the Father. In the Horite myth, Horus and Osiris are frequently interchangeable - "I and my Father are one", as Jesus explained (John 10:30). They are also all-seeing, even when their eyes are dimmed by blood.

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

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

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks of having other sheep in another fold (John 10:16).  Often the two folds are cast as dispensations: one consisting of those who lived in expectation of the Son of God (Abraham's people) and the other being the witnesses of His resurrection (the Church). Together these comprise the Kingdom of God.

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

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

8. Jesus is spoken of as the Lamb of God.  In the story of the binding of Isaac, a ram is sacrificed in place of Isaac. The ram-headed deity, based on the earliest species - Ovis longipes palaeoagytiaca - was known throughout ancient Egypt, especially at Elephantine. So the ram in the story speaks of God's self-sacrifice and would have been confirmation for Abraham that his offering was accepted though not realized at that time. The acceptance was justification of Abraham by faith in what he expected God to do.

It appears that Abraham believed that Isaac would be raised to life after the sacrifice.  This means that he acted by faith.  By provision of the ram (an ancient Horite symbol of God) on Mount Moriah, (sacred to the Horites), Abraham received confirmation that his son was indeed an acceptable offering to God, though not the Son of God expected by his people since the promise made to them in Eden (Gen. 3:15).

The Apostle Paul and James are perceived to be in conflict on the question of justification, yet they both argue based on the sacrifice of Isaac. It is evident that there is no conflict in their understandings of this event if they understood that Abraham, as a Horite, trusted that whether Isaac was the expected Son of God or not, God would confirm the truth to him. This is the man who posed the great question:  "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25) This same Abraham believed God on a very deep level.

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

Related reading:  Jesus: From Lamb to Ram; The Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant; Did Abraham Intend to Sacrifice Isaac?; William H. Willimon, On a Wild and Windy Mountain


Georgia said...

Reading about the pre-Abrahamic deities of the ancient cultures is confusing. Do you have an article about these and how they are connected? Are all these early religions foreshadowings and hints of the True and Living God and His plan to save the world? If so, was there an evil opponent/opposite of Horus?

I found this at one of the 'wiki' sites, but don't know how accurate it is:

BTW - The translation of 'pesach' as Easter (Ishtar, Astarte, Oeastre) in the KJV (Acts 12:4) is puzzling and disturbing and too elementary an error to be accidental - it had to be intentional. Do you know why?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Not ALL ancient deities foreshadow Jesus Christ. The Horus myth appears to and Abraham's people were Horites. Not a coincidence then that the priestly lines of his people intermarried in expectation that the promised Son would be born of them. This is the origin of the belief in Messiah.

Horus' mortal enemy was his brother Set.

The translation is based on the linguistic similarities to the Greek Πάσχα Paskha, and Hebrew פֶּסַח Pesakh. It is intentional, based on the dating of Easter after the first full moon following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox. Orthodox Christianity adds one more condition: Easter must also follow Jewish Passover as a testimony to the Jews that Jesus is their Messiah.

Georgia said...

The day we celebrate Christ's Resurrection and our Passover should not be called 'Easter' after the fertility goddess Ishtar, Astarte, Oestre. It was most likely re-named by powers that influenced the traditions of the church that wished to separate them from the Hebrew customs and feasts.

It is the Feast of the Resurrection or Resurrection Sunday and also our Passover. Every Sunday marks this concurrent, powerful and consequential event, our yearly commemoration should not be sullied by giving it the name of a pagan spiritual entity.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Orthodox call it "Pascha", which is Passover.

Dharmashaiva said...

Alice, were the Horites descendants of Ham? And, if so, would that mean that the Ham lineage also looked for the Messiah to be born among the Hamitic peoples?

Alice C. Linsley said...

The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried, so yes. For more on this see: