Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Horite Conception of Priesthood

Alice C. Linsley

Most people think of Christianity as an off-shoot of Judaism. However, the core of Christianity can be traced back to Abraham and his Kushite ancestors, long before there were Jews and Judaism. In this sense, Christianity isn't original. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in antiquity and herein rests its authority.

Abraham and his people were Horites, a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of the mythical Horus who was called the "Son of God" and "Horus of the Two Crowns". The sacrificing priesthood may not have begun with the Horites in the Nile region, but this group's conception of the priesthood shaped the Jewish and later the Christian conception of the priesthood.

Horite priests were asked to pray for people because they were recognized as especially holy people.  Abraham was asked to pray for Abimelech's household and Job was asked by God to pray for his friends. So the Horite priest's work involved intercessory prayer, fasting and sometimes blood sacrifice. Righteous Job offered sacrifice on behalf of his whole family.

The men named in Genesis are Horite ruler-priests. The Horites were a caste. One trait of castes is strict endogamy. The Horites exclusively intermarried. These are the rulers who are listed in the Genesis genealogies.

The marriages were arranged between the sons and daughters of 2 main priestly lines.

Each ruler had 2 wives at the time of his ascent: one was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the other was a patrilineal cousin wife (as was Keturah to Abraham). There are numerous examples of exactly this pattern in Genesis and Exodus.

The priestly lines are traced from brother patriarchs: Cain and Seth; Ham and Shem; Peleg and Joktan, and Nahor and Abraham.

It is by the cousin bride that the ruler-priest lines are identified. The cousin wife names her firstborn son after her father. So Namaah’s firstborn son Lamech is named after her father Lamech the Elder. This pattern continues throughout the Bible to Joseph and his cousin bride, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.

The Priesthood and Purity

Horite priests define the priesthood.  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. The Horite priest was to be purified before entering the temple. His purification involved fasting and an intense period of prayer. The purification ritual involved bathing and shaving the head. Korah, Moses' half-brother, was a priest. His name means "shaved head" and according to Numbers 16:17-18, he carried the censor to offer incense before God.

Horite priests served in the temple, probably on a rotating schedule. It is from the Horite priesthood that the priesthood of Israel developed.  Moses' two brothers, Korah and Aaron, were both Horite priests before there was a nation known as Israel.

Devotees of the "Son of God"

Many have noted the uncanny correspondence between the myth of Horus and the story of Jesus. Both were born the only begotten Son of God under miraculous and humble circumstances.  Both were slain by their own kin.  Both rose to life again.  Both inherit the Father's kingdom, uniting 2 peoples, which is symbolized by the wearing of two crowns.  This is references in the book of Job, who was himself a Horite.  The trial of Job, in which Satan acts as the accuser, parallels Zechariah 3:2-6 where Satan accuses the High Priest Joshua (Yeshua). In Yeshua's trial God acquits Yeshua and commands that he be clothed in clean garments and crowned with 2 crowns (ataroth). This points to Jesus who as the Son of God would wear 2 crowns, one representing those who have died in faith and the other representing the Church.

The correspondence between the Horus Myth and the story of Jesus can be explained in two ways. Either Christians borrowed the Horus myth or Christianity emerges in an organic way from the belief system of Abraham and his Horite people. If we decide that Christians borrowed the Horus myth, we must explain why they should have selected this one in particular. There are other great world myths that could have served as the pattern for the story of Jesus. I know of no other religions that prefigure Jesus Christ, the Son of God, other than the faith of Israel as it emerges out of the faith of Abraham's Horite people. 

This is the meaning of John 8, where when the Jews called Abraham their father, Jesus said to them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” 

“Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM.”

Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He will receive an eternal kingdom from the Father. The citizens of this eternal kingdom must themselves be eternal beings and that is why Jesus alone offers eternal life to all who believe that He is the Son of God, the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise of Genesis 3:15. He is able to do this because He alone has conquered death and can deliver sinners from the curse of death. This is the core of Christian belief. Surrounding this core are attendant beliefs which logically follow. One is that to receive eternal life, we must acknowledge our need for mercy, forgiveness and salvation. Another is that God does this for us out of His boundless love. John wrote, "This is the revelation of God's love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him." (1 John 4:9)

God told Abraham to leave Haran and go to a place where He would establish him as the father of many peoples. God had plans for Abraham and there was nothing for him in Haran, since his older brother Nahor ruled in Terah's place when Terah died. This does not indicate that Abraham abandoned the religion or marriage pattern of his Horite people. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Abraham continued to believe that the Seed of the Woman would be born of the bloodlines of the ruler-priests because he married his half-sister (Sarah) and his patrilieal cousin (Keturah), following the pattern of his Horite ruler-priest ancestors.

The story of Horus and the story of Jesus correspond in great detail, though Horus never existed in the material sense. He was the prefigurement of the One who would wear 2 crowns and unite 2 peoples. The Horites worshiped the Creator who emblem was the Sun when many other peoples were worshipping false gods. They anticipated the coming of the Son of God to earth and believed that He would be born of their royal-priest bloodlines. That is why the lines of priests intermarrried exclusively and why unchaste daughters of priests were burned alive (Lev. 21:9).  Sexual impurity was not tolerated. 

Joseph, Jacob's first-born son by Rachel, married Asenath, the chaste daughter of a priest of Heliopolis (city of the Sun). Heliopolis, which was called Lunu by the Egyptians, was a shrine city of Horus. Lunu means place of pillars because the temples of Heliopolis were constructed with many pillars.

We have no evidence that Horite priests performed the Canaanite practices condemned by the prophets, who were their descendants. These priests were very concerned about purity, expecially when preparing for their time of service in the temple.  In the ancient world the Horite priests were known for their purity and devotion to the High God. 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.”

Related reading:  Who Were the Horites?; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; God as Male Priest; The Genesis King Lists


Ron said...

Alice, please explain why ataroth is translated into English as turban in Zech. 3, yet means crowns, specifically the two crowns of Horus.

Alice C. Linsley said...

A more literal translation is: "He also said, 'Let them set a pure diadem on his head. And they set the pure diadem on his head..."

Some versions use the word "mitre" instead.

It appears that turbans were first worn in Sudan by the highest ranking men, called sarki (a type of priest). These were of bright white cloth, which could explain why the word "pure" is attached to the head covering in Zech. 3:5. Or the word pure may appear here simply to stress the contrast between the filthy garments and the clean garments that God orders for his priest.

Read more about the Sarki here:

You always ask great questions, Ron!

Alice C. Linsley said...

Another thought, Ron. I have a hunch that both the turban and the crown are meant. The Horus crown that was worn by the Pharaohs was both. The inner part was a turban and the other part a crown. The turban represents the Priesthood and the crown the Kingship. Jesus wears both as our Priest and King.

I'll explore this and write something for Just Genesis. Check back in a few days!

Ron said...

I see that Breton's LXX uses the singular mitre, where the word ataroth is plural, as opposed to the singular atarah. However, Strong's indicates that the word translated turban/mitre in Zech 3:5 is not ataroth but tsaniyph.

Zech 6:13 supports the idea of a priestly ruler. Is the use of two metals, silver and gold, to form one crown (6:11) significant in the myth of Horus? (I have a thought on this, but I will wait to see what you say.)

I look forward to your forthcoming post.

Susan Burns said...

Alice, The father-in-law of Moses, Jethro (Yatir, Hobab, Ruel?) would not drink wine. Do you think he was a Horite priest? The Rechabites, Nabateans, Bedouin and modern Muslims all eschew alcohol. However, Christianity includes wine in the most holy ritual. What could this mean?

Other "Canaanite practices condemned by the prophets" would surely include child sacrifice. I will soon make a post on this subject as I have been researching it lately.

Alice C. Linsley said...

There were groups of priests, sub-castes. Not all performed animal sacrifice. Some were metal workers. These are traced back to Tubal-Kain. The Bible sometimes refers to them as Kenites. The two most precious metals were silver and gold.

One of Abraham's most famous ancestors was Kush. Kush was one of the main gold-producing areas in the ancient world. It was mined between the Nile and the Red Sea, mostly north of the eighteenth parallel, where traces of ancient mining are still found. Excavations at Meroe and Musawwarat es-Sufra have revealed temples with walls and statues covered by gold leaf. It has been computed that during antiquity Kush produced about 51,440,000 ounces of pure gold, worth about $22 billion at todays value. Gilt silver amulets and statuary of Nubian/Kushite nobles have also be excavated.

What is your theory on this matter of two crowns, two colors, and two metals?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Susan, I'm eager to read your research, which is always excellent!

Jethro is called a Midianite in the Bible. This means that he was a descendent of Abraham by his cousin-wife Keturah. Midian was one of the 6 sons that Keturah bore to Abraham. My guess is that Midianite priests were devotees of Horus also. Jethro was one of them. He is called the priest of Midian. This is why Moses married Jethro's daughter, Zipporah. Moses was the son of a Horite priest, Amram. As a high-ranking son he would have taken a Horite bride.

Ron said...

It is more of a thought than a theory. It depends entirely on whether or not gold and silver are, in Egyptian mythology (or, more generally, in the Afroasiatic worldview) associated with the sun and the moon. I don't know if they are.

But if they are, then perhaps the two metals in the Zech. 6:11 crown symbolize the eyes of Horus.

Or perhaps they symbolize sun worship at the western end of the Afroasiatic dominion and moon worship at the eastern end, mentioned in one of your earlier posts ("Was Abraham a Pagan?"), which may suggest rule over the whole Afroasiatic dominion, from east to west. At that time, wouldn't that be the entire known world?

Susan Burns said...

Ancient Gebts could be the "two lands" of Egypt. A trading economy and trading language united Meroe and the lower Nile delta. Clyde Winters writes on this extensively.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The 2 crowns represemt the Upper and Lower Nile regions which were united under the Kushite Pharaohs (See Robert Merkot's work). The totem of the Lower Nile was the Cobra and the crown was originally made of reeds.

Susan, your work on reeds is very helpful in understanding something of the symbolism of the earlier crown! Especially this piece:

Gold and the color yellow were associated with the Sun, so that is confirmed. I haven't confirmed that silver was associated with the Moon, but I think you are right, since the Sun and Moon were always paired as binary opposites and they represented the Masculine and Feminine. I hesitate on this because I wonder if the silver-gold alloy (electrum), which is found in nature, isn't the more significant representation of the Moon and the Feminine. This fits the belief that the woman was taken from Man and is of his substance (Gen. 2).

Men were depicted as red in ancient paintings of the Sahara. Red also represents the Sun.

Ron said...

I think I need to read something more rudimentary before I attempt Morkot's The Black Pharaohs. Maybe I'll begin with his DK book. :)

Susan Burns said...

Ron, tsaniyph appears to be a wrapped cloth. However, cognate words refer to other aspects of headpiece such as sharp thorn that could be used as fastener. I suspect this word comes from tsuph as does the other tsade/pe cognates. Words that use tsade/lamed describe tsuph (reeds) when they are mature. The first glyph for "behold" is a mature reed. Perhaps we have derived our "!" from the reed symbol for behold.

Susan Burns said...

The white (linen) inner turban could represent Osiris in his dormant state. Linen wrappings are woven "without seams" and are "pierced" by the fastening of the thorn. If the linen represents mummy wrappings of Osiris then the crown means; behold! chief of the rhizome economy of tsuph.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Susan, the first glyph - a reed representing "Behold" and from whence we derive the exclamation mark... Wonderful!

So the sema sign demands the attention of all pharaoh's subects. It is the staff of the ruler.

This is the equivalent of alpha in Greek and in most sign languages is represented by the palm and closed fingers pointing up with the thumb tucked in across the base of the palm.

Susan Burns said...

Now I am wondering if rhizomes were stored by wrapping them in woven linen? The linen would transport moisture to the "eyes" and keep them alive while dormant. If there was a seam the connection would be broken and those rhizomes near seams would die the second death. It is imperative that the linen wrappings of pharoahs must be without seams. The mummy wrapping funery ritual seems to have been derived from the over-wintering of rhizome eyes. The dormant Pharoah must reawaken in his the next world and avoid the second death.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Susan, the white linen would retain the moisture yet inhibit the growth of mold spores. Cotton will mold, but not linen.

I'd never thought of this! You are such an inspiration.

Unknown said...

Fascinating! The whole mummy wrapping seems to find an echo in the gospel accounts of the burial of Jesus. They say that He was wrapped in "linen cloth," which is later described by Luke and John as "strips". John adds that about seventy five pounds of "myrrh and aloes" were used with the wrappings and that a cloth was placed "around Jesus' head." These things were, "in accordance with Jewish burial customs."
And, although the gospels do not tell us what the "undergarment" of Jesus was made of, John specifies that it was "seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom." Which hints at the rhizome storage idea.
Is this part of a continuing idea? All quotations are NIV, the nearest to hand.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, Gerrie Fay! You have made an important connection. Jesus has Horite blood through his mother, Mary, who even the rabbis recognized to the of the ruler-priest caste. From very ancient times the Horite ruler-priests expected a righteous ruler to be born of their lines who would overcome death and lead his people to immortality. That is why these people took great pains in the burial of their rulers. The Horites originated in the Nile Valley and there the process involved mummification. The spices and linen wrapping used to bury Jesus were part of a longer process of preparing the body. See this: