Followers

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Final)


All rights reserved. If you borrow, please cite this page. This information represents 35 years of research.


Alice C. Linsley

When it comes to understanding the gender distinctions in the sacred Tradition received from the Hebrew and which are implicit in Scripture, we must dismiss the false narrative that the social structure of the biblical Hebrew was patriarchal. It was not.

In anthropology, a patriarchal social structure is defined by the following conditions:

1. Descent is traced through the paternal line only (Part 1)
2. Inheritance rights come through the father's lineage only (Part 2)
3. The right to rule is vested with males only (Part 3)
4. A pattern of patrilocal residence; that is, the bride lives with the groom's clan/family (Part 4)
5. the ruling body or governing council consists exclusively of males (Part 5)
6. ultimate authority rests with a male figure such as a patriarch, a chief or a king (Part 6)

None of these conditions are true of Abraham’s Horite Hebrew people. In fact, the Horite Hebrew appear to be unusually respectful of their women compared to other ancient populations. 

Descent
The biblical Hebrew traced their lineages through both the male and female lines. This is why Luke and Matthew give two genealogies for Jesus. This double unilineal descent pattern is expressed in the entrance twin pillars of Solomon’s temple. One pillar was called Boaz, after Solomon’s paternal great great grandfather and the other pillar was called Jachin after Solomon’s maternal great great grandfather.

The biblical Hebrew traced lineage both patrilineally and matrilineally, with a particular focus on prominent or "righteous" ancestors. Both male and female ancestors are remembered, though it is more common for male ancestors to be named in the biblical texts. 

Inheritance
Inheritance was passed down through both the mother and the father. The inheritance laws among the biblical Hebrew are complex because the ruler had two first born sons. Provision was made for both sons to receive an inheritance. Additionally, grants were made to the sent-away sons of concubines.

Daughters could petition to receive inheritance. By levirate marriage a widow was able to preserve her deceased husband's holdings for his son. In an extremely archaic practice, inheritance rights were attached to whoever had possession of  “teraphim” which were ancestor figurines.

The Right to Rule
The right to rule depended on one’s rank and authority more than one’s gender. Rank and authority were determined by the antiquity of the clan and its reputation. According to Genesis 36:31, the Horite Hebrew “are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the children of Israel.” That being the case, the Horite clans of Edom were especially respected. Jeremiah notes that the rulers of Edom and Teman of Edom were renown for their wisdom (Jer. 49:7).

The biblical data reveals that Hebrew women ruled their households and exercised considerable influence in their social circles as the wives and daughters of high-ranking priests. These women invested wisely, had servants, managed real estate, and owned property. Some are so important that they are named in the Genesis king lists: Naamah, Anah and Oholibamah are examples. Anah is called a "chief" in Genesis 36.

Residence: Scripture indicates that the biblical Hebrew had at least four residential arrangements: patrilocal, matrilocal, neolocal, and avunculocal. The residence of married couples depended on the social position of the groom. 

The residence of widows depended on their eligibility to remarry. Widows who were not eligible to remarry lived in the households of their fathers. This is why Judah told Tamar to return to her father's house (Gen. 38:11). On the other hand, Naomi told her widowed daughter-in-law to return to their “mother’s house” in the hope that they would remarry (Ruth 1:8).

Some widows resided in the Temple precincts or at shrines. Anna is an example. She was a widow for 84 years. "She never left the temple, but continued to worship there night and day with times of fasting and prayer." (Luke 2:36-38)

Upon the death of Terah, Abraham's older brother ruled over Terah's holdings in Mesopotamia. Abraham became a sent-away son. Sent-away sons, like Abraham and Jacob, often lived in the households of their maternal uncles. This is called "avunculocal residence.” This is why Jacob was sent to live with his maternal uncle Laban.

The clan to which the individual belonged was not based on where the person resided. It depended on the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Hebrew people. For example, upon her marriage to Methuselah, Naamah belonged to her husband's clan, but her first born son belonged to the clan of Naamah's father, Lamech the Elder. That is why the son was given the name Lamech.

Governance
It is not true that the ruling body or governing council consisted exclusively of males. Ruling persons included males and females, and gender was not the only factor in determining who would govern.

In determining who should govern, the status and antiquity of one's clan was a factor. Certain Hebrew clans were known to produce rulers. Among them were the clans of Ram, Sheba, and Shobal. Other clans, such as the clan of Asher, were known to produce prophets, and still other clans, such as the clan of Caleb, produced great warriors.

Totems can be used to trace ancestry, the relationship between clans, marriage ties, and prominent rulers. The rank of the clans depended on their animal totem. The totems represented the position of planets and constellations. The lion is one of the four figures of Ezekiel's merkabah (solar chariot), a six-spoke symbol that appears on the ossuary boxes of the high priests and their family members. The lion was associated with the Sun. Therefore, the lion clans were preferred when selecting a high king. These clans included the clans of Judah and Shobal.

1 Chronicles 2:50 gives Hur as the firstborn son of Caleb and Ephrathah. Hur is associated with the Horite settlement of Bethlehem. Hur’s first born son was Shobal, a high-raking Horite Hebrew chief.

Women also ruled. Salome Alexandra ruled over Judea from BC 76-67. She was one of two queens who ruled in Judea. Huldah served as a royal adviser to the king. She lived in Jerusalem with her husband, Shallum, who was in charge of the priestly vestments. The narrative in 2 Kings 22 reveals the high esteem with which she was regarded by the king and the people.

Deborah's ruled over Israel from her oasis that was marked by a large date nut palm. It was between the settlements of Ramah and Bethel. The people had to go out to her for counsel, just as people had to travel to the wilderness to consult with John the Baptist.

The first born son of the ruler-priest's second wife (usually a patrilineal cousin) became a high ranking official in the territory of his maternal grandfather. Abraham's son Joktan (Yaqtan) was a high ranking official in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. This first born son of the second wife was named after his maternal grandfather. This explains why the Bible speaks of two men named Joktan, Esau, Enoch, Lamech, Nahor, etc. This "cousin bride's naming prerogative" is a distinctive feature of the social pattern of the biblical Hebrew.

Anah is listed as a clan chief among the Horite Hebrew of Edom. She was the mother of Oholibamah and Dishon. The clan totem for Dishon was the gazelle.



Finally, we glimpse the powerful influence of the royal mother in the story of Bathsheba appearing before King Solomon. When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat down at his right hand. (1 Kings 2:19)

Ultimate Authority

For the Horite Hebrew ultimate authority is expressed in the pervasive representation of the High God by the sun, the great light that gives light to the world. Abraham’s Horite Hebrew people perceived the High God as having male qualities. He (Ra or Ani) was called the father of a divine a son (Horus or Enki). He was believed to appoint by overshadowing, and to inseminate the earth.

We are not inclined to worship God in the same way or to agree on every point of theology. Nevertheless, there is an overarching Tradition upon which all who follow Jesus Messiah agree: that God has self-revealed in the God-Man Jesus, the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners, to overcome death, and to restore perfect communion with the Father. This is the unique claim of Christianity.

To that claim, we must add that the Messianic Tradition is received, not invented. The Messianic Faith has very deep roots in the religious yearnings of archaic populations. The Church builds and edifies its members by continually resourcing in the Messianic tradition received from our spiritual father Abraham and his Horite Hebrew people.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Time to jettison the "common ancestry" theory?


A. anamensis skull


Archaic humans show a range of physical features that are found in modern humans. Those features include high broad foreheads, low receding foreheads, low cheek bones, high cheek bones, protruding chin, cranial size generally proportional to body size, dentition within the range of primitive and modern humans, and hands and feet like modern humans.

That assessment of the data is leading paleoanthropologists to rethink the prevailing evolutionary theory, according to this recent statement made by Hester Hanegraef.
"Discoveries all over the world in the last decade have led to a complete rethinking of our evolutionary past. It shows that new fossils do not always support existing hypotheses, and that we must be prepared to change our views and formulate new theories based on the evidence at hand."

Note the protruding jaw of this eighth century BC blacksmith.


The 1500 bones and bone fragments recovered by the Rising Star Expedition belonged to at least 15 individuals. The adults were about 5 feet tall. Parts of the skeletons resemble modern human anatomy while other skeletal remains resemble the australopiths, like Lucy. In other words, this burial pit contained the remains of people who ranged in appearance about as much as modern humans.The bones/bodies were ritually deposited over “some period of time.”

This 250,000 year hand of Homo naledi is virtually identical to that of modern humans.

This find is being presented as a "new branch" of homo, called Homo naledi. H. naledi is viewed as slightly more human than the A. australopithecine and slightly less human than modern humans.

Jeffrey Schwartz thinks that the H. naledi remains represent two or more different species. He makes his case in Newsweek: “Why the Homo Naledi Discovery May Not Be Quite What it Seems”

On the other hand, John Hawks states that "The variation within the collection is not high, it is extraordinarily low." Hawks reports: "Homo naledi has a mosaic of features that include some that compare most closely to more primitive australopiths, and others that compare more closely to Homo. How do we know that this is one species rather than a jumble of species mixed together? Simple: every feature that is repeated in the sample is nearly identical in all individuals that preserve it."

Similar speculation arises around A. anamensis. This find has been in the news this week. A. anamensis lived approximately between 4.2 and 3.8 million years ago. Nearly one hundred fossil specimens are known from Kenya and Ethiopia, representing over 20 individuals.

The shape of the end of this lower leg bone, or tibia, indicates that A. anamensis walked upright. Most features align with those identified with A afarensis. The teeth in this jawbone are large relative to the body size of A. anamensis. The back teeth are also large relative to the front teeth. Both primitive traits are characteristic of all Australopithecus.

Hester Hanegraef notes that A. anamensis and A. afarensis overlap for at least 100,000 years, "making it impossible for A. afarensis to have evolved gradually from one single ancestral group. In fact, it is becoming increasingly obvious that most species on our evolutionary lineage likely evolved by branching off from existing groups." (Read more here.)

The question remains: Do these early Homo fossils represent stages or branches of evolutionary development from a common ancestor, or do they represent archaic humans with the same range of physical diversity as modern humans?


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Appointment by Divine Overshadowing


Alice C. Linsley


Many ancient shrine cities had names that began with the solar symbol Y. Jerusalem was called Yeru. On the border of Nubia and Egypt was a holy shrine city on Elephantine Island. It was called Yebu. According to "The Diplomatists Handbook For Africa" by Count Charles Kinsky, Yebu is a variant of Jebu. Yeru-salem was a Jebusite city.

The Y symbol designates a divinely appointed place, servant, ruler or sacrifice. The divine appointment was by the "overshadowing" of the Sun. This is represented by the initial Y in the Hebrew names of biblical rulers: Yaqtan (Joktan); Yachin (Joachin), Yishmael (Ishmael); Yishbak; Yitzak (Isaac); Yacob (Jacob); Yosef (Joseph); Yetro (Jethro); Yeshai (Jesse), Yonah (Jonah), Yoel, and Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus). The Y is a solar cradle.

Divine appointment by overshadowing is symbolized by the sun resting in the Y. This is a common image in the ancient world.

At the shrine cities of Dan and Bethel in the kingdom of Israel the central image was the divinely overshadowed bull calf. This is the same image that Aaron fabricated in the wilderness. It is a Messianic image of the appointed sacrifice.



Nowhere in Scripture is Aaron criticized for making the golden calf. However, the people who worshiped the image are criticized. Here a distinction must be made between the symbolism of the golden bull calf and the actions of the people. The distinction is clear when we consider that Christians do not worship the cross. We worship the Messiah who died on the cross to make atonement for sin.

The ram was also shown overshadowed on ancient monuments. The ram provided by God on Mount Moriah was a symbol of the son of God, Horus. Horus, the son of God, was said to rise in the east as a lamb and set in the west as a ram in mature strength. He was called Horus of the two horizon, which expressed two aspects of his nature as both meek and fierce. The Horite Hebrew recognized God Father and God Son. The son was sometimes shown as the divinely appointed ram on ancient monuments, and was a symbol of Jesus among early Christians. 




The Y was a symbol of the long horns of the Acholi cattle. It emerged as a sacred symbol among Abraham's Proto-Saharan cattle-herding ancestors. This breed is the oldest known bovine breed among the Nilotic peoples. 

Hathor, the mother of Horus, is shown on ancient monuments wearing the solar cradle. She foreshadows the Virgin Mary who conceived by divine overshadowing (Luke 1).




A reader of Just Genesis, Sarki Arzika, has written about a connection to the Hausa of Nigeria:

Dear Alice,

Concerning the Y shaped forms you write about, this is a characteristic of ancient Hausa architecture which were of triangular forms and mounted with symbols like rabbit ears at each corner. This Y shape is present on some ancient capes used generally by Maharba (hunters), Priests, and Kings.


Related reading: The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y; The Substance of Abraham's Faith; Solar Symbolism of the Proto-Gospel; Ram Symbolism in the Ancient World; What Abraham Discovered on Mount Moriah


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Were Peleg and Joktan Twins?


Southern Arabia is the home of the Joktanites who Josephus called "Horites".


Alice C. Linsley

To Eber were born two sons: the first was called Peleg, because it was in his time that the earth [eretz] was divided, and his brother was called Joktan. (Genesis 10:25)

This diagram shows the division. The Hebrew word eretz and should be rendered "territory" instead of earth. It appears that Eber broke his territory into two, assigning separate territories to each royal son. The word eretz has multiple meanings: earth, land, soil, and territory. Since this passage deals with royal sons, the most appropriate word choice for the context is territory. Eber split his kingdom into two. Peleg ruled over one territory and Joktan over the other.



The Hebrew word pelegh means "watercourse" and likely relates to the fact that Eber controlled commerce on the major water ways of his empire. This was a common practice among archaic Afro-Asiatic kings. However, the Aramaic word pelagh and the Arabic word phalaj mean "division." This means that the information about Peleg and Joktan in Genesis 10:25 is verified by both groups: the Arameans and the Afro-Arabians.

Josephus noted a connection between Abraham's cousin wife Keturah and the Joktanites. Keturah resided at the Well of Sheba (Beer-Sheba) as she was of the royal house of Sheba. So it is apparent that the lines of Peleg and Joktan intermarried, as did the royal lines of Cain and Seth, Ham and Shem, and Abraham and Terah.

Why did the Genesis writer make note of this division? Does it speak of something usual, a development that is not the normal pattern?

The division is noted because it is an anomaly. It was the norm for the Horite Hebrew rulers to pass the rule to the first born sons of their first wives. This is why Isaac was Abraham's proper heir. He was the first born of Abraham's first wife, Sarah. Likewise, Esau was Isaac's proper heir and Esau ruled over Isaac's territory between Hebron and Beersheba (north-south axis) and Ein Gedi and Gerar (east-west axis).

That Eber divided the territory suggests various possibilities. 1) His holdings were too vast to be ruled from one location. 2) Peleg and Joktan may have been twins, born to the principal wife, Eber's queen. Peleg comes to represent the populations known as Arameans, and Joktan represents the Afro-Arabians. Though separate, the two populations share a genetic history and common religious beliefs and practices.

This division of peoples of the same ancestry and social patterns is expressed in Genesis 25:22-23, where we are told that Rebekah conceived twins.
"the children inside her struggled with each other, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So Rebekah went to inquire of the LORD, and He declared to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

In the case of Rebekah's twin boys we are told which is the older: Esau. Esau was Isaac's proper heir and Jacob attempted to steal the royal birthright. However, Jacob became the sent-away son and Esau remained in Edom. Esau never served Jacob, except to greet Jacob upon his return to Edom in a spirit of forgiveness.

The Bible provides very little information about Peleg who is claimed to be Eber's first born. The Bible and extra-biblical sources offer much more information about Joktan. These Horite Hebrew rulers came to rule over separate territories, represented by the Arameans and the Arabians. The Aramean territory was called "Eber-Nahar" and was comprised of Syria, Phoenicia, and Cyprus. The Joktanite clans resided in Southern Arabia. Another way to look at this division is to speak of "Afro-Asians" and "Afro-Arabians" since all have ancestral and linguistic roots in Africa.

Joktan is a royal name. The name  has several variants, including Yaqtan, Jochin, and Jokshan. In Genesis 25 we read that Keturah bore Abraham Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The earliest Arabic texts are called "Dedanite." King Solomon named one of the twin entrance pillars of the temple Jochin after his maternal great great grandfather. The other pillar was named Boaz, after Solomon's paternal great great grandfather.




It is likely, given how late in life Sarah gave birth to Isaac, that Joktan was Abraham's first born son. He was probably born before Ishmael. However, he was not Abraham's proper heir. Joktan would have belonged to the household of his maternal grandfather who he served. Joktan, the son of Abraham and Keturah, was named for Keturah's father, Joktan the Elder. This is another example of the Horite Hebrew pattern whereby the cousin bride named her first born after her father.

Today the population of Southern Arabia is Muslim, with the exception of Yemenite Jews. Genetic studies indicate that the inhabitants are mainly in Y-DNA groups J1 and T1. These have a wide dispersion: Anatolia, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, the Fertile Crescent, the Caucasus, and even among a small number of Mongolians. Where J1 and T1 are found in high frequency, mtDNA haplogroups HV, N1, and U3 are also present. ZS226 is a subclade of J1. ZS227 includes the Kohanim (priest) haplotype found among both Jews and Arabs.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"Binary" is a Bad Word These Days




Alice C. Linsley

Recently, I read about a catchy slogan that has gained popularity among left-leaning segments of American society. The slogan is “No borders, no bosses, no binaries." This was one of the slogans used to advertise the 2019 Socialism Conference.

Clearly, a world without borders, bosses, and binaries would be the realm of chaos. This is what the Bible warns against. Proverbs 22: 28 says, "Don't move a boundary marker set up by your ancestors." Native American wisdom speaks of the Creator assigning lands to the various peoples. Leftists are quick to point out the tragic treatment of Native American populations by Europeans, yet they would rob them of the lands that they rightfully control through their tribal councils. Removing borders and boundaries does not make people free.

The slogan drives at a new world order where the existing authorities are replaced by ideologues, and as history has shown, ideologues hold their principles above human lives. Far more people were murdered in the Twentieth Century by socialists than by the Nazis. In Russia alone, the number killed under Stalin's regime is incalculable, easily as many as twenty million.

The slogan expresses lawlessness or anarchy in order to achieve a new order. Socialists are willing to sacrifice lives, property, and social stability to achieve a pipe dream. Chaos only brings chaos. The spiral is not upwards toward a better social order. It is always downwards toward more chaos until a leader emerges who will strong arm the people into submission. That leader comes to power through bloody struggle, not through an orderly process of elections. In Marxian thought this is a positive development and one which is necessarily repeated over and over. We have only to look at the final decades of ancient Rome to imagine the horrid life this cycle produces for the average citizen.

Socialism operates on the level of theory and Utopian idealism. It is not rooted in empirical observations. It is made of dreams, ambitions, and non-reality. In stark contrast is the biblical worldview with its emphasis on the Law.

In the Bible the Law hinges on the empirical observation of binary sets and distinctions which are recognized in patterns in nature. The distinctions present certain hierarchies. For example, in the binary set male-female, males are recognized as being larger and stronger than females. Homosex was forbidden because it defies the male-female binary order in creation. The defiance has no limits. It gives way to theories of a gender continuum and gender transitions.

In the binary set Sun-Moon, the sun is recognized as the greater light (Genesis 1). The light of the Moon is refulgent. The Moon reflects the glory of the Sun. Another hierarchy. 

Another binary distinction is between humans and plants. Onanism was forbidden because the seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. 

There is a binary distinction between humans and non-human animals. Bestiality was forbidden as it blurs the distinction between humans and animals. 

Likewise, the distinction between life and death was not to be blurred by boiling the baby goat in its mother's milk (forbidden three places: Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26, Deut. 14:21). The baby's life is to be nurtured by the mother's milk.

The wisdom of the Law becomes clearer to us when we understand the binary logic upon which it rests. This wisdom has a basis in empirical observation and reality. It points us to a realm of peace under a Good God. Some seek to replace it with a lesser wisdom and a god of their own invention.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Image of God Means Imaging God



Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26)

What follows is the abstract for IMAGING GOD: A theological Answer to the Anthropological Question? by Alistair McFadyen (University of Leeds). The full text may be read here.
Traditionally the central trope in Christian theological anthropology, ‘the image of God’ tends to function more as a noun than a verb. Whilst that has grounded significant interplay between specific Christian formulations and the concepts of non-theological disciplines and cultural constructs, it facilitates the withdrawal of the image and of theological anthropology more broadly from the context of active relation with God. Rather than a static rendering of the image a more interactionist, dynamic and relational view of ‘imag ing God’ is commended as a key anthropological term. Engaging with Psalm 8 suggests that, biblically, asking the anthropological question (what is humanity?) is tied to the answer to the theological question: who is God? This locates theological anthropology securely within the interactive context of being related to by God and suggests that theological anthropology might be a matter of performance, rather than definition: actively imaging God.

McFadyen's article makes sense of the theological context of this Biblical figure of speech - "the image of God" and he rightly asserts that the theological and the anthropological meanings are inextricably entwined. He uses the term "anthropological" in a theological sense, i.e., as related the biblical view of human nature, and this helps his argument. On the other hand, he fails to explore the trope as an anthropologist would and that weakens his case. 

The weakness comes from failure to see that the structure of Psalm 8:4 is parallel to the structure of Genesis 4-5. Adam and Enoch are paralleled, as are their descendants whose lines intermarried. In this diagram of Cain's line (Genesis 4) and Seth's line (Genesis 5) are shown parallel. They represent two ruling houses that intermarried. Naamah, the daughter of Lamech the Elder, married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah. She named her first-born son Lamech, after her father. This is one of many examples of the cousin bride's naming prerogative found in the Bible.




Analysis of the diagram enables us to see that Enoch and Adam are rulers whose descendants practiced endogamy, that is, their royal lines intermarried. Endogamy is a universal trait of castes. Their descendants represent the oldest known ruler-priest lines, and it is from them that the Son of God came in the person of Jesus Messiah.

On a fundamental level "imaging" God is what the deified ruler is to do. To miss this is to lose sight of the connection between dominion and the divine image. There is a Messianic dimension as the One who has ultimate dominion is the Son of God. Jesus Messiah is the icon of God the Father and this icon is not a static picture, but a living image.

McFadyen writes:
"Because God’s relating – and therefore God – are already oriented towards the human; indeed, oriented and seeking the human in its fullest realization. Psalm 8 has a shorthand code whereby it rolls up the whole history and future directedness of God’s relating in its orientation towards human well-being, flourishing and consummation: God’s mindfulness (v.4). And it is in the context of wondering acknowledgment of the status that affords human beings that it articulates the anthropological question in a specifically and definite theological register."

Adam was made in the image of God and this expresses a God-Man relationship, but beyond that we must consider the claim of Abraham's ancestors that they are the royal descendants of Adam. In other words, they claim a historical link to the divine image through their Horite Hebrew ancestors and this constitutes their work as ruler-priests who are to image God.

Psalm 8:4 is reveals an important theological and anthropological understanding of the God-Man relationship. Adam parallels Enoch/Nok, the father-in-law of Cain and Seth . In this sense, Genesis poses two founding fathers: Adam and Enoch/Nok/Anochie. They are founders of the ruler-priest lines described in the Genesis 4, 5, 11, 25 and 36. These are not genealogies. They are King Lists.

Note that Enoch and Adam are paralleled in Psalm 8:4:

What is man (Enoch/ha-noch) that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man (ben adam) that you care for him?

Psalm 8:4 connects the Adam and Enoch and highlights their historicity and meta-historical significance. The historical ruler Enoch parallels the "son of man", Jesus' favorite description of Himself. There is a sacred mystery here concerning Christ that places Him at the nexus of the meta-historical and the historical. Both Adam and Enoch point to the fully human Son of God, the very "image of God" shown to us perfectly and fully in the person of Jesus Messiah. 

The Psalmist parallels two deified rulers: Adam and Enoch. He regards both as "fathers" of the Hebrew people whose roots are in Eden. Perhaps this is why Jesus' ruler-priest identity was recognized in Tyre in Mark’s Gospel, not on a mountain, as in Matthew's account of the Transfiguration. For Mark, the Messiah’s appearing means the beginning of the restoration of Paradise. Mark likely had in mind this passage from Ezekiel 28: 
"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."

Likewise Amos 1:5 speaks of “him who holds the scepter from the house of Eden."

Genesis connects "image of God" with dominion over all the earth. Consider this from Genesis 1:26:
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
In the beginning, Adam did not have to work for his dominion. God bestowed to him a territory to rule over. The suggestion that Man is to enjoy status as a deified or righteous ruler who "images" the Ruler of the universe is quite evident. This is a bestowed ontology.

The Fall did not remove the image and likeness of God, nor did it remove the responsibility to "image" God. Adam's descendants spread abroad and they ruled over territories from Africa to India and beyond. As they dispersed, they took their expectation that a Son who would be born of their ruler-priest lines. He is called the "Seed" of God in Genesis 3:15. Of this Seed, Paul writes in Galatians 3:
"Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ… And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Jesus referred to Himself as the promised "Seed" when He foretold his death in Jerusalem. He told his disciples "Unless a seed fall into the ground and die, it cannot give life." (John 12:24)

The phrase "image and likeness" suggests a royal seal which holds the image or likeness of the king. There is a sense of divine appointment. Adam, Enoch, Cain, Seth and all appointed rulers after him are to "image" on earth the righteous rule of God. Yet all failed, save Jesus Christ beneath whose feet God will subject all things. 

McFayden writes, "Engaging with Psalm 8 suggests that, biblically, asking the anthropological question (what is humanity?) is tied to the answer to the theological question: who is God?

Psalm 8:4 does indeed speak of who God is. However, it does so using parallelism of historical persons and it places the Son of God as the culminating figure of the biblical narrative and the Messianic Faith.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Free Online Course on Genesis




Hillsdale College now offers a free online course on the book of Genesis with Professor Justin Jackson. This is a literary approach to the book and should be helpful in discerning the nuances of the text. Register here: https://lp.hillsdale.edu/genesis/

To understand the nature of a literary approach, read Robert Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative.