Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jesus: From Lamb to Ram


Alice C. Linsley


God works single-mindedly throughout the ages to restore lost humanity to Himself.  This is the theme from Genesis to Revelation, and it is predicated on the first promise concerning the Seed of the Woman who would crush the head of the serpent and restore Paradise.  In calling Himself "Son of Man", Jesus identified Himself as the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise (Gen. 3:15). To receive Him as the Son of God, we must affirm His complete humanity. To believe that He is God with the power to save us, we must receive Him as both the Son of Man and the Son of God.

When Scripture poses binary opposites such as God-Man, it is initiating a pattern of thought that travels between 2 points, just as the Sun appears to move from east and west. In this movement there is a point in which the Sun's glory is greatest - the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, which in the northern hemisphere is June 21- 22.  Likewise, on a sunny day the sun is felt most intensely upon one's shoulders at hign noon, the point between east and west. 

The notion here is that of a shuttle moving back and forth. The weave requires redoubling to make the fabric or the web strong. The  English web is likely derived from the word keb or kab. Kab pertains to weaving with a shuttle. Weavers are called the ka, those who kab. Ka also refers to the the body which is "knit" in the womb.  Ka-ba refers to the relationship between the body and the soul. Kab also implies a doubling or redoubling to strengthen.

This movement between points corresponds to the ancients' observations of the stars and constellations.  They were adept at sidereal astronomy. Horus of the two horizons (east-west) and Horus of the two crowns (north-south) are examples of how meaning is derived by holding 2 points in view. We see this in the Passover sacrifice at twilight, what is called in  Hebrew ben ha-'arbayim, meaning "between the two settings."  Rabbinic sources take this to mean "from noon on."  According to Radak, the first "setting" occurs when the sun passes its zenith at noon and the shadows begin to lengthen, and the second "setting" is the actual sunset (p. 55, vol. 2, The Jewish Publication Society Torah Commentary, "Exodus").

On the eastern horizon Horus is the lamb, young and pure as the new day. On the western horizon, after his sacrifice at the sacred center (the Cross), he is the ram who comes to full strength.  The ram's horn (shofar) symbolized the covenant between God and the Israelites. When it was blown the veil or tehome was lifted, allowing God's Presence to be seen.  In Genesis One, tehom signifies the chaotic waters which are subdued and put into order by the Word or Wisdom (tehut) of God.  The ram's horn which lifts the veil and the Word of God which subdues chaos refer to Jesus the Christ.


From Lamb to Ram on Mount Moriah

As they ascended Mount Moriah, Isaac asked Abraham "where is the lamb" for the sacrifice.  Abraham replied that God would provide the lamb, but God didn't provide a lamb, but rather a ram. 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. In his intention to offer his son, Abraham appears to have believed Isaac to be the Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15), but Isaac was spared because God would supply his own Lamb who passed from weakness (kenosis) to fullness of power (resurrection).

The sign of the Old Covenant is the blood of lambs and rams, but the lamb is weak compared to the adult ram. The blood of lambs speaks of the kenotic work of Christ, the Lamb of God. 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.  This sheds light on the story of Abraham's offering of his son.  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?"  Is this really about the necessity of faith and works? Or is James saying that faith is perfected or redoubled through sacrifice, death and resurrection? This understanding of redoubled strength better fits the context of Abraham's binding of Isaac.

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 first promise. John writes: "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:5)  To paraphrase: "who goes from fleshly weakness to divine strength?"  Only those who "put on Christ", the Lamb who has become the Ram. This is about resurrection of the Sacrificed One expected by the Horites; the Righteous Ruler who would overcome death and lead his people to immortality (final justification).

This is the faith of Abraham and his Horite ruler-priest ancestors.  "Har-Ur" (likely the origin of the place names Haran and Ur) refers to Horus in maturity, or the Elder Horus. In his infancy, he was depicted in ancient Egypt as either a calf or a lamb and in his maturity as a bull or a ram. Horus is the only mythological figure in ancient Egypt who was understood to be a man. And only as a man does he wear the two crowns.


Related reading:  Ram Symbolism in the Ancient WorldThe Lamb is BoundDid Abraham Believe Isaac to be Messiah?; Sons and The Son; The Bosom of Abraham; The Victory of Tehut Over Tehom

2 comments:

Susan Burns said...

I think "cube" is also from "kaba".

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, that makes sense. Cube or Kuba likely relates to the loom used in weaving.

A reader expressed doubt that loom and shuttle weaving existed in Abraham's day, but Abraham lived not that long before Job and the shuttle in mentioned in Job 7:6. Weaving is certainly a very ancient craft.