Monday, May 8, 2017

What Abraham Discovered on Mt. Moriah

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)

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:2-3)

Both James and Paul point to the story of Abraham on Mount Moriah to speak about the nature of justification. Therefore, it is important to understand what that event meant to Abraham the Hebrew.

Abraham was a Horite Hebrew, a devotee of God father and God Son. The "son" was called HR in ancient Egyptian, meaning "Most High One" or "Hidden One". 

The Horite and Sethite Hebrew were a ruler-priest caste that originated in the Nile Valley. The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is Nekhen, an ancient city that stretched for two miles along the Nile. Votive offerings at the Nekhen temple were ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine. Horite Hebrew priests placed invocations and prayers to Re (Father) and HR (Hur/Hor/Horus) at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose. For the early Hebrew, the sun was the symbol of God Father and the co-equal Son. They viewed the solar arc as God's path through the heavens. 

"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)

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. However, that is not what God did. As the story goes, God provided a ram. To understand what this would have meant to Abraham, we must investigate the early Hebrew beliefs concerning the expected Righteous Ruler who would die and overcome death on the third day.

God provided a ram instead. For Abraham the Horite Hebrew, the lamb was associated with the east and the rising of the sun. The ram was associated with the west, the setting sun, and the future. This belief emerged from the solar imagery of the Proto-Gospel. Horus, the son of the High God was depicted as being one with the Father. He rode with the Father on the solar boat. The boat of the morning hours was called Mandjet (Ancient Egyptian: mꜥnḏt) and the boat of the evening hours was called Mesektet. While Horus was on the Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form.

The ram symbolized God's acceptance of Abraham's offering at that moment (justification now) and God's acceptance of Abraham at the eschaton (future justification). The ram caught on Mount Moriah symbolized to Abraham that his offering had been accepted, because the lamb had become the ram, in mature strength. Horus was the Lamb in his weaker (kenotic) existence, and he was the Ram in his glorified strength. 

It appears that Abraham believed Isaac was the appointed son whose death would be overcome. but Isaac was spared when God provided his own sacrifice. Abraham likely believed Isaac to be the son of promise since some circumstances surrounding Isaac's birth align with the early Hebrew expectation of the Son of God.

Consider why Abraham 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 conceived of a virgin when she was divinely overshadowed. Consider the Angel's words in Luke 1:35, explaining to Mary that she would conceive by overshadowing.

2. As Abraham's heir, Isaac was honored as being one with his father. From pre-dynastic times, the Creator was said to have a son, Horus. The Father and the Son are inseparable and of one essence in the theology of Abraham's Horim. Horus knows the Father and the Father knows the Son.

3. 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 Seth who was banished.

4. 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.

5. Isaac received the kingdom from his father (Gen. 25:25).  Horus receives a kingdom from Ra. In Horite Hebrew belief, Horus and Ra are frequently interchangeable - "I and my Father are one", as Jesus explained (John 10:30). The Father and the Son are inseparable and of one essence in the theology of Abraham's Horim. Horus knows the Father and the Father knows the Son. This is expressed in the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. In the priest's prayer to the King, he says, "Horus is a soul and he recognizes his father in you..." (Utterance 423)

6. 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 separate his two wives and their 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." The Horus narrative speaks of how he unites the peoples of the Upper and Lower Nile into one people. Jesus Messiah is the one who unites all peoples.

7. The association of sheep with the Son of God is found in the Old and New Testaments. Horite Hebrew 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 faithful expectation of the Son of God and the other being the witnesses of His resurrection (the Church). Together these comprise the Kingdom of God. They might also be seen as the two wives of Christ. The second wife was taken shortly before the ruler ascended to the throne. This puts the marriage feast of the Lamb in a new light.

8. 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 Hebrew temple (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 Hebrew settlement, who were the first to receive the news of the birth of the Son of God!

9. Jesus is often portrayed as the Lamb, a tender image. In His resurrection victory He is better portrayed as a ram, mighty in strength, mature, and ready to defend his flock. In the story of the binding of Isaac, the ram speaks of God's self-sacrifice and would have been confirmation for Abraham that his offering was accepted. The acceptance was justification of Abraham by faith in what he expected God to do in the future.

10. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts provide a great deal of information about Horus and the Father-Son relationship. The righteous rulers who were buried in the half dozen pyramids in question hoped for bodily resurrection and their hope rested in Horus who was pierced in the side, died, and risen from the dead on the third day. The expectation that the Righteous Son would not remain in the grave is expressed in Psalm 16:10: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. The final enemy is death. Psalm 110: The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

In the Coffin Texts, funerary prayers dating to about 1000 years before Psalm 110, we read in passage 148:
"I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Set, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done. I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of 'Red Cloak'."

Abraham knew to expect a son who would overcome death. He likely believed that Isaac would be raised to life after the sacrifice. In other words, he acted by faith. By provision of the ram on Mount Moriah, a site that was sacred to the Horite Hebrew, Abraham received confirmation that his offering was accepted, and he also discovered that Isaac was not the anticipated Ruler foretold in Eden (Gen. 3:15). That one would be revealed in the future.

The narrative sheds light on the relationship between the justified of the Old Covenant and the justified of the New Covenant. There is only one ground for justification, as the story of Abraham on Mount Moriah reveals. That is trust in the promised Son of God.

Paul and James are perceived to be in conflict on the question of justification, yet they both argue based on this story of Abraham and Isaac. There is no conflict in their understandings of this event. Abraham obeyed God by going to Mount Moriah. There he was given the sign of the Ram by which he apprehended by faith the promised Son of God. Abraham trusted God to confirm the truth. 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.

By all appearances, Jesus fulfills of the Horite Hebrew expectation of the Divine Seed who would crush the serpent's head. This expectation was expressed about 1000 years before Psalm 91 in the Pyramid Texts.
"Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)" Utterance 388

The early Hebrew believed that one of their virgin daughters would be divinely appointed by overshadowing to bring forth the Messiah. 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).

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