Monday, July 25, 2011

Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel

The stone ossuary of Miriam, the granddaughter of the High Priest Caiaphas.
Note the six-prong solar image.

Alice C. Linsley

To better understand the roots of the Messianic Faith called "Christianity" we must investigate the origin of Messianic expectation deep in antiquity. The hope for a ruler-priest who would overcome death and rise on the third day is at the heart of the Christian Faith and is a feature that makes Christianity unique among the world's religions.

An investigation into the roots of the Messianic Faith will take us to Abraham the Hebrew and his Nilo-Saharan ancestors for whom the Sun was an emblem of the High God and His Son. One of their shrine cities was Nekhen on 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. The temple was a large structure, fronted by huge cedar timber pillars, and it was to become the prototype for temple architecture for many millennia.

At Nekhen, Horite Hebrew priests placed invocations to God Father (Ra) and to the Son (HR) at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose. The primary orientation for the Hebrew and other biblical peoples of the Ancient Near East was east. The Hebrew word for East is קדם (qedem, Strong’s #6924), from the root word קדם (Q.D.M, Strong’s #6923) meaning "to meet," and the rising sun is "met" each morning facing the east.

Prayers were offered at dawn. This practice continued throughout dynastic Egypt. Moses was told to meet the king early in the morning as he was going down to the Nile to pray.

The relationship of the divine Father and the divine Son is central to the Christian Faith but belief in the divine Son is rejected by Judaism. YHWH has no son. Therefore, we find the introduction of a new idea about God, one that expresses the Jewish understanding and is removed from the Proto-Gospel with its understanding of the divine Father and divine Son.

The rising and setting of the sun was symbolic of the expectation of the rising God for the Horite Hebrew. This gives us insight into the significance of the lamb-ram transformation on Mount Moriah. The lamb was associated with the east and the rising sun. The ram was associated with the west, the setting sun, and the future. Horus rode the solar boat of his father in the morning hours. This state was called Mandjet, 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 provided on Mount Moriah represented God's acceptance of Abraham's offering at that moment (justification now) and God's acceptance of Abraham at the eschaton (future justification). What Isaac expected was a lamb, but what God proved was a ram in mature strength. Horus was the Lamb in his weaker (kenotic) existence, and he was the Ram in his glorified strength. Both are associated with the Horite Hebrew death and resurrection symbolism and with their Messianic expectation.

Messianic solar references are found throughout the Bible. Consider James 1:17. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."  God's presence is like the brightness of high noon when there are no shadows.

Psalm 84:11 says, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield."

Malachi 4:2 likewise uses solar language: "But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings (rays)."

The Father-Son relationship and the solar imagery was later suppressed under rabbinic Judaism in which there is no Son of God. John's Gospel seeks to correct this. John explains that the purpose of writing is "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God." (John 20:31) Likewise, Martha professes that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God (John 11:27), and John the Baptist bears witness that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34).

The ancient Horite Hebrew knew the Father and the Son from the Nile to the Orontes and the Tigris and Euphrates. Among the Nilotes, the father was called Ra and the son Horus. Among the Akkadians, the father was called Ani and the son Enki.

Clearly this aspect of Christianity did not originate with the Jews, and it did not originate with the Disciples. It developed organically from deep roots. Therefore, it is nonsense to speak of Christianity as an invention. It is not a synthetic religion which cobbles together beliefs and ideas according to the spirit of the age. Rather, Christianity emerges out of a belief that God made a promise a long time ago to a certain people living in a place called "Eden" and that He has been busy fulfilling the Edenic Promise (Gen. 3:15) in the God-Man Jesus Christ.

Christianity draws some observances from Jewish worship practices, but the belief that God would take on flesh, die and rise again were evident among Abraham’s Hebrew people long before Judaism emerged. IN that sense, the roots of Christinaity are deeper than those of Judaism. 

The dying and rising of God was symbolized by the sun’s rising and setting. The early Hebrew did not worship the sun as is erroneously stated in some books on ancient civilizations. Rather the sun served as the symbol for the Creator's rule over the whole world.

The swelling of the sun speaks of God's greatness and sovereignty. The Arabic yakburu means “he is getting big” and with the intensive active prefix: yukabbiru means "he is enlarging." (The term biru refers to a sun temple, or house of God. Ha'biru/Hebrew refers to those who serve at the shrine or temple.) Such would have been the observation of the Horite Hebrew priests who greeted the rising sun and watched as it expanded across the horizon. This is the likely origin of the Hindu Sun blessing ritual (Agnihotra) and the Jewish Sun blessing (Birka Hachama) performed every 28 years.

What Jews in Jesus’ day believed and practiced emerged from the tradition that they received from their horim, their ancestors. The elements of this tradition align with the ancient Nilotic beliefs surrounding HR (Hor/Hur/Horus) who appears on ancient steles and monuments as a falcon-headed man or as a falcon flying above the Sun on his Father's solar boat, as shown below.

At the Horite temple in the Delta city of Behdet (Damnhour) Horus was represented by a winged Sun disk. The name Damnhour means "town of Horus" and derives from the ancient Egyptian dmi-Hor.

Aspects of the ancient solar symbolism are found in the Bible and in historical texts. Psalm 92:2 describes the Lord as “a sun and a shield.” The Victory Tablet of Amenhotep III describes Horus as “The Good God, Golden [Horus], Shining in the chariot, like the rising of the sun; great in strength, strong in might…” (Tablet of Victory of Amenhotep III, J.H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, p. 854).

Horus was the guardian of the ancient Egyptian and Kushite kings from as early as 4000 B.C. The kings were perceived to be the representatives on earth of the Ruler of the universe, the “sons” of God. From the earliest Dynastic Period, the king's name was written in the rectangular device called a serekh, which depicted a falcon perched on a palace façade. Horus as guardian and deity was manifest within the palaces and the shrines as the king himself. The king’s “horus name” was associated with gold and the sun which is the meaning of the title “Golden Horus” in which a falcon appears on the hieroglyphic sign for gold.

Horus was sometimes shown with the sun as his right eye and the moon as his left. The right eye was the one with which he saw all things, but his left eye was weaker, having been injured in combat. This reflects the binary distinctions which characterize the Messianic Faith as it is revealed in the Bible. In this view, one entity of the binary set is superior to the other in an obvious way. The Sun is superior to the Moon (Genesis 1) because it is the greater light. The Moon's light is refulgent. The male is larger and stronger than the female.

The sun is to the moon what the male is to the female, superior in size and strength. This is characteristic of the binary distinctions observed by the early Hebrew in the patterns of Nature. Their acute observation of those patterns informed their binary reasoning.  

The Sun was assigned a masculine gender and was greater than the Moon which was assigned a feminine gender. This pattern was modeled on earth by the kings and their queens. The kings appeared with skin darkened by the Sun. Their queens appeared with white skin, representing the Moon.

The binary distinctions of the Horite and Sethite Hebrew were based on observable patterns in nature. By observing celestial and earthly patterns they recognized that one of the entities in the binary set is superior to its other in visible ways. Thus, the biblical worldview is binary. It involves binary sets in which one of the entities of the set is superior in a visible way. This is quite different from the dualism of religions that emerged later.

Religious traditions, such as that of the Horite and Sethite Hebrew, develop in traceable ways from great antiquity. Such traditions are passed down through families, clans and tribes. The core belief of Christianity concerning the Son of God can be traced to Abraham and his Horite Hebrew ancestors, long before Judaism. In this sense, Christianity isn't original, but what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in antiquity and therein rests its authority.

Related reading: Contextual Incongruities in GenesisThe Sun and Celestial HorsesThe Sun and the SacredThe Sun and the Moon in GenesisOf Dung Beetles and Red Herrings; A Tent for the Sun; Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans; Solar Symbolism Among the R1b Peoples

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