Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Abraham's Faith is Central to Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

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. (Galatians 3:16, 29)

Abraham is a pivotal figure in the Bible. He is mentioned in 230 verses and he is the central figure of the book of Genesis.

The first part of Genesis is the story of God’s dealings with Abraham and his Nilotic ancestors. The second half deals with his descendants before the Israelites became established in Canaan. The sections are joined by the account of Abraham’s death and his burial attended by his sons. The transition tells us that Isaac ruled after Abraham’s death and lived among the Egyptian Ishmaelites near the well of Lahai Roi. Issac and Ishmael were together at the burial of their father (Gen. 25:9).

Ishmael and his children must be regarded as an Egyptian since his mother and his wife were both Egyptian.

Isaac's ascension to Abraham's throne took place after his marriage to his cousin wife. Cousin or niece wives were usually the second wives.  Assuming that Isaac continued to marriage and ascendancy pattern of his Horite people, his first wife would have been his half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham.

Abraham the Horite

Abraham was a Horite. The Horites were a caste or ruler-priests who were Habiru (Hebrew in English). The Habiru were shrine priests who were devotees of Ra and Horus. Their beliefs have been traced back to the oldest Horite shrine city, Nekhen in Sudan. They expected a Divine Seed to come into the world who would overcome death.  Jesus fulfills the Horus myth of Abraham and his ancestors.

When we recognize the centrality of Abraham to Genesis, numerous verses of the Bible fall into context. Consider the following:

Romans 4:1 calls Abraham "the chief of our forefathers."

John 8: God promised to provide through Abraham’s seed (see Acts 7:2ff.). Paul adds that the “seed” of Abraham, through whom blessings are bestowed on all who believe is Jesus; not Israel.

Lazarus called out to "Father Abraham" (Luke 16:22-31) as one who was not gathered to the bosom of Abraham.  Jesus here illustrates that the Jewish rulers were wrong to claim heavenly recogition by virtue of being Abraham's descendants. This is clearly Jesus' intention, because He said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do."

Hebrews 4:2 states that the Gospel was preached to the Apostles and to their ancestors in Moses's time. However that generation died in the wilderness because they were not united with their Horite ancestors in faith. Christians often assume that living in the dispensation of the Church we are the sole recipients of God's grace and revelation of His Son. Hebrews indicates that Abraham and Moses did share the faith of their ancestors to whom God first revealed the plan of salvation. That plan concerned a divine Son who would be born of the Horite ruler-priest lines. He was expected to pass through death to life and lead his people from the grave to eternal life.

Abraham died at age 175 and was “gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:8). This phrase is used interchangeble with "gathered to his fathers" and both are used only for rulers among Abraham’s people. Among the ancient Egyptians 175 was regarded as the ideal lifespan, further evidence of Abraham's Nilotic context.

Genesis is the story of God’s dealings with Abraham and his ancestors (chapter 1-12). The other chapters deal with Abraham's descendants before the establishment of Israel. Because this is so, we must recognize that the promise concerning the coming of the Seed of God by the Woman (Gen. 3:15) does not originate with the Jews. It is much older. The expectation was preserved by Abraham's ancestors to whom the promise was first made in Eden, a well-watered region that extended from East Africa to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. This appears to be the point of origin of the Proto-Gospel and the faith of Abraham.

Related reading: Is it Possible to Speak of the Proto-Gospel?; Challenge to Shaye Cohen's Portrayal of Abraham; The Habiru Were Devotees of Horus


Jonathan said...

When Jesus spoke to the Jews in the Temple saying, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works that Abraham did" (John 8:39 (ESV))-- which of those "works" that Abraham was known to have done, do you suppose that He had in mind should be emulated by his children? Are we talking about the "works" that you engaged with Shaye Cohen about in your post in December 2010 -- notions such as, that Abraham observed the Sabbath, observed blood sacrifice, observed certain styles of dress and food that were peculiar to his Horite-ruler caste? Are we talking about the way he circumcised himself and his male children, as one of Abraham's worthy works? ... About the almost-sacrifice of Isaac? ... About marriage and procreation of children (by multiple wives)? ... About the wandering journey that he took when seeking out a land that the Lord would show him? Which of these works would the Jews in the Temple have been needing to have made a practice of emulating, in order to have been worthy to be called the children of Abraham by the Lord that day? Which of these works do we need to do to be judged the children of Abraham today?

Alice C. Linsley said...

The single "work" for which Abraham is commended in the Bible is the offering up of his son by faith. He offered his son believing that he would rise from the grave. As they headed to Moriah, Isaac asked his father "Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" God provided a ram instead. Among the Horites, the Son of God (HR) was born each day as a lamb at dawn and died as a ram at the end of day. The ram is the lamb come to full strength and maturity or perfection. So Jesus Christ passed through the grave in perfection and divine power. The story of the offering up of Isaac is about Abraham's Horite faith, grounded in the first promise of the Bible (Gen. 3:15) which was given to Abraham's Horite ancestors in Eden. Without such faith no works are pleasing to God.