Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Two Brides of Christ

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:6
Alice C. Linsley

Does the New Covenant made through the blood of Jesus Christ represent a replacement of the Old Covenant? This view, called Supersessionism, holds that the Church replaces or completes God's prior covenants described in the Hebrew scriptures. It suggests that Christianity is disconnected from its origin among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors who anticipated a ruler-priest who would overcome death and lead his people to eternal life.

Opposing supersessionism are the views that the old covenant laws have been abrogated, or that God offered two separate covenants: one for Jews and another for Gentiles. The covenant that matters to Jews is that associated with Moses, but they overlook the fact that Moses' father married according to the pattern of Horite ruler-priests. This pattern, which pertained only to the rulers, involved two wives. The wives maintained separate households on a north-south axis. Their households marked the northern and southern boundaries of the ruler’s territory. Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister bride. She resided in Hebron. Keturah was Abraham’s cousin bride. She resided to the south in Beersheba.

None of the views described above aligns with this marriage and ascendancy pattern and it is to this pattern that Jesus Christ alludes at the Last Supper. He told his disciples, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:27-29). Jesus is here referring to the marriage customs of his Horite people, His Horim.

When a Jewish man proposes marriage, he gives her a contract, a ketubah. These are beautifully produced and hang in the new couple's home.

In ancient times, the contract stated the price the groom would pay for his bride. In the case of both of Jesus' brides, the price was His eternal blood. The contract includes other promises also. If the bride agrees, the bridegroom hands her a cup of wine, and if she drinks from the cup the marriage is sealed. He then says to her “I will not drink of this cup until we are reunited.”

Among Jesus Horite ancestors, the second marriage and the coronation of the royal heir were connected events. The heir ascended to his father's throne only after taking his second bride. The second bride was biologically more distant than his first bride. The first bride was customarily a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The Church is the "cousin bride" and the coming marriage feast marks Christ's coronation in his eternal kingdom.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' Horite people suggests that Christ has two brides: those who believed and lived in anticipation of the appearing of the Seed of God (Gen. 3:15) and those who believe Jesus is the Son of God and live in anticipation of His coming again to establish his eternal kingdom. The first group can be traced in Scripture from Jesus' Nilo-Saharan ancestors to the priest Simeon, the prophetess Anna, and John the Baptist.The second group is embodied in the Church and that promise is sealed by the cup of Christ's blood received in faith. The faith of both brides is fixed on a single promise established and confirmed by the blood of God.

The Blood of God

In the resurrection, Jesus Christ trampled down death and bestowed life on those in the tombs, as recited in the ancient Liturgy. Jesus is the Seed of the Woman, the long-expected Immortal Mortal, the Sent-Away Son who defeats the serpent, subdues all God's enemies, and establishes an eternal kingdom. Jesus' mission involves all these tasks and more.

He is new Ha-Dam (Adam), the New Man, the New Blood. From earliest times, man observed that death occurred when an animal or human bled out. Blood was recognized as the substance of life. So it is said, "Life is in the Blood."  Eternal life comes only through the eternal blood. Immortality belongs to God alone and God has chosen to share that with those who "kiss the Son." Those who do not believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God cannot enter the kingdom of God. All have been warned from of old: "Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him." (Ps. 2:12)

"Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him." (John 6:53-56)

How is it that the blood of Christ is able to purchase two brides? His blood is pleromic. It is the very ground of all things and the substance of all life.  For Paul, the “pleroma” (meaning "fullness" in Greek) is the manifestation of the benefits of the blood of Jesus.  Paul refers to the blood of Jesus no less than twelve times in his writings. Because God makes peace with us through the blood of the Cross, he urges: “Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together” (Eph. 4:3). Jesus Christ is the “pleroma” (fullness) of all things in heaven and on earth, both invisible and visible. The Gnostics used “pleroma” to describe the metaphysical unity of all things, but Paul uses the term to speak about how all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ in bodily form (Col. 2:9).

The idea that blood is the substance of life seems obvious to people who have knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. What is less obvious is the basis of blood for rebirth or life after death, a concept assigned to the realms of theology or mysticism and dismissed by many "modern" people. The universal use of red ochre in the burial of archaic rulers signifies a widespread hope that the ruler might rise to life beyond the grave. Yet none did, save Jesus Christ.

Among Abraham's ancestors the resurrection of the ruler meant the salvation of the people. He was expected to lead them from life to the greater life, passing decisively through death. In pre-dynastic times and in the earliest dynasties people were believed to follow their deified ruler from this world to the next. Their immortality depended on the bodily resurrection of their king.

Proto-Saharan nobles were buried with red ochre at Nekhen in Sudan (3500 BC). Nekhen was a Horite shrine city dedicated to Horus whose totem was the falcon or hawk. Early dynastic Egypt adopted the Horite religion and never practiced cremation, as in the religions that seek to escape physical existence (samsara). Abraham and his Horite ancestors believed in the resurrection of the body and awaited a deified king who would rise from the grave and deliver his people from death.

Expectation of the Righteous Ruler

The ancient Horites believed that heavenly recognition of a people depended on the righteousness of their ruler-priest. The ruler-priest was regarded as the mediator between the Creator and the people. If God turned His face away from the ruler, the people suffered. If the ruler found favor with God, the people experienced abundance and peace.

The deified 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 the ascent to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.

It is evident that Jesus' understanding of His mission is consistent with the expectation of his ancient ancestors. He is the God-Man who overcomes death and leads all His people to His eternal reign. In His kingdom there will be two camps, but one people, just as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elkanah had two wives living in separate settlements, so Jesus Christ has two brides. The first is his sister bride, that is, those who believed as Abraham believed. The second, taken before His ascension to the throne, is a more distant cousin who has been grafted into the faith of Abraham and his Horite ancestors.

The Two Flocks of Christ

The ruler-priests had two wives living in separate settlements with separate flocks. Together these two camps constituted the ruler's kingdom. There were practical reasons for this practice. In the event of attack, the ruler's line was more likely to survive if divided into two camps. This very fear of being "cut off from the earth" motivated Jacob to divide his household into two groups when returning to Canaan (Gen. 32). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks of having other sheep in another fold (John 10:16). Both folds live in expectation of the Son of God, who through His death and resurrection, leads his two folds to the eternal kingdom.

Related reading:  Jesus' Horite Lineage; Moses' Horite FamilyDid Jesus Have a Wife?Israel and the Church; Yes, Georgia, There is a Kingdom; Horite Deified Sons; Who is Jesus?; Blood and Crosses; Mining Blood; Water and Blood; No Kingdom By Deception; Kushite Kings and the Kingdom of God; The Cousin Bride's Naming PrerogativeMary's Ruler-Priest Lineage


Jonathan said...

1. It occurs to me that perhaps the two-bride (two-fold) pattern that you are talking about here might have some resonance with the opening of the presentation of the gospel of Matthew, where he represents the generation (tolodoth) of Jesus Christ as the son of David the son of Abraham. What do you think?
2. In re: "The ancient Horites believed that heavenly recognition of a people depended on the righteousness of their ruler-priest." Does this belief help explain the relevance of Malachi 3:3, "He shall purify the sons of Levi", a phrase we might get to meditate on this time of year if we happen to attend a performance of Handel's Messiah, in which the phrase is sung by the choir. Continuing in that same vein, and taking departure from your point questioning strict Supersessionist views, what additional meaning (if any) would you ascribe to the necessity of securing a continuing role of some kind for the sons of Levi, AFTER the revelation of the New Covenant in Christ? Joseph Smith, for example, taught (concerning Malachi 3:3) that the sons of Levi were just due to really come into their own with the institution. begining in the 19th Century, of a whole new (or, maybe it's restored), "latter-day" Aaronic priesthood. But this is far from the Orthodox Christian view.

Alice Linsley said...

You make interesting connections, Jonathan.

The Tolodoth of Jesus is traced through both Mary and Joseph since their lines intermarried. Mary was Joseph's cousin bride. Orthodoxy attests that she was his second wife.

The sons of Levi and their Horite ancestors were concerned about purity of life. This included sexual purity, avoidance of contact with impure things, such as dead bodies, and ritual purity such as washing and shaving before their terms of service. Korah was a common name among the Horite priests. It means "shaved one." The name is found in the Psalms, and Moses' half-brother was named Korah.

In the ancient world there were many orders or castes of priests, but only the Horites were devoted to the Creator, his Son and the virgin queen who gave birth to the divine son. These priests were recognized as being especially scrupulous in their manner of life. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”

Both blood and water were regarded as purifying agents. One way to trace the relationship in the ancient world between purity and blood is through linguistics. The Hebrew root thr = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm toro = clean, and to the Tamil tiru = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian tor = blood.

According to priestly law, the blood of a sacrificed animal was to be sprinkled seven places on the altar. Christians note that Jesus Christ bled from seven places, suggesting that He is both the altar and the sacrifice. Through His offering up of Himself, He gives “life to the world” (John 6:52-56). We remember also that from His side came blood and water, the two agents by which we who trust in Him and repent are purified.

I believe that God has a plan for the Jews in these last days. Do I know what that plan is? No, and I wouldn't want to speculate. I am confident, however, that God's plan is not Zionism.

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

Thanks for the correlation of Christ's wounds with the altar cleansing. He is the HILASMOS, the mercy seat.

Nawej Katond said...

Hello Alice,
What you are describing here has been commonly practiced in Africa ever since. My great grand-parents, may grand-parents, my parents and myself did the same thing. A girl accepting drink from his fiancée marks the consent, therefore the official beginning of the marriage process. It is a pre-colonial practice. In fact, the boy's family offers drink to the girl's family. The later, asks their daughter to pour the drink, drinks some and offered it his father. If the girls agrees to do so, she marks her consent. The process of marriage can then proceed, otherwise, it stops. This is more less what you call in the Western world as engagement. I should mention again that the words of marital rituals are surprisingly similar: bala (to marry), mar (moher), cihaku (thiyatu) dowry, and many more. To ask a girl's hand is said to seek for a vase or firewood fetcher. There is a similarity with the Abraham descendants who met their wives at well waters, the girls went to fetch water. There a speculation of Mary and Jesus around the well when the latter asked her for water. Any comment?

Alice Linsley said...

Thank you, Nawej, for this information. Very interesting and helpful!

"There a speculation of Mary and Jesus around the well when the latter asked her for water. Any comment?"

Are you asking about the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well? Her name was Photini and you can read about here:

Best wishes to you.