Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Bible: Episode 3 - The Messiah Appears!

Alice C. Linsley

Episode 3 is expected to see a ratings bump with the first appearance of Jesus, played by the Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado. Though Morgado does not look like a Middle Eastern Semite, the producers have the age right. Morgado is 33, the age of Jesus at his death.

Satan was played by Moroccan actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni. Apparently some people believed this was President Barack Obama giving another performance.

The History Channel's third episode of the Bible takes huge leaps through history. It moves from the Babylonian captivity to the baptism of Jesus. It is dramatic and entertaining, but as with episodes 1 and 2, it lacks historical grounding and fails to present the cultural complexities of Abraham's Horite descendants, especially those taken to Babylon.

The Babylonian Captivity

The inhabitants of the southern kingdom of Judea were subjected to two deportations to Babylon. The first took place in 597 BC when Jerusalem was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. According to II Kings 24:1-6, King Jehoiakim and the distinguished men of his kingdom were taken to Babylon, along with the treasures of the Temple and the palace.

The second deportation took place in 586 BC in the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, who was also named Mattaniah. He had formed an alliance against Babylon with the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Sidonians and Tyrians. Jeremiah prophesied that all these would also experience divine judgment.  When the Babylonians entered Jerusalem, Zedekiah and his soldiers fled by night and were pursued by the Babylonians who overtook them near Jericho.

Nebuchadnezzar ordered that Jeremiah be freed from prison and treated well (Jeremiah 39:11-40:5). Jeremiah went to live in Egypt and never returned to Jerusalem.

The number of persons taken to Babylon is estimated between 14,000 to 18,000. Historians recognize that many people were not taken to Babylon. The Babylonians were mainly interested in the urban populations and the ruling classes who had skills which were useful to them. These included skills in medicine, mining, metal work, writing, languages, astronomy, prophesy and dream interpretation. In other words, skills for which the Horites were famous.

Among these distinguished men were Ezekiel and Daniel. Such men refused to compromise the truth in order to save their lives. They knew that Nebuchadnezzar was not the true deified son whose kingdom would never end (Ps. 145:13; Dan. 2:44; Dan. 4:34; Dan. 7:27). Daniel was thrown into the lions' den because he refused to worship the Babylonian king.

Later, in the time of Joseph and Mary, some of the wise Horites who remained in Babylon came to Bethlehem seeking the King who was born under the celestial sign which their wisdom enabled them to read.

The Scepter will not depart from Judah

In Genesis 49:10 Jacob states, "The scepter will not depart from Judah..." This is generally taken to mean that the Messiah would come from Judah, but it is possible also that it refers to an historical reality; namely, that some of Jesus' ancestors were never taken to Babylon. Jacob's holdings extended to Beersheba and the Babylonians were not interested in engaging warriors in the Negev.

The Virgin Mary's father was the Horite shepherd-priest Joachim. Amram, Moses' Horite father, married according to the Horite pattern also. He was a shepherd-priest with water sources to provide for his flocks. His daughter, Miriam, grew up around her father's water shrine and she married another Horite chief, Hur.

The name Joachim appears with these variants: Jehoiachin and Joaquin. It is a family name which reoccurs among Jesus' ancestors.

From David to the Babylonian captivity, the following ancestors are listed in Matthew 1:1-12: David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers.

From the time of the exile to the birth of Jesus, the following ancestors are listed: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, who married his cousin Mary, the daughter of another Jehoiachin. She was the mother of Jesus, who is called Messiah. Mary's ruler-priest lineage has been well established.

The recurrence of the name is consistent with the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern whereby the cousin bride names her firstborn son after her father. The Horite lines intermarried, but this does not mean that all of them were taken to Babylon as captives. The Horite shepherd-priests maintained two wives in separate households. Mary's ancestors probably withdrew to the Negev where they had family and where the Babylonians did not pursue them. It appears that some of Mary's ancestors remained free, and Jacob's prophesy came true in a literal sense.

Return from Exile

The 538 BC Edict of Cyrus the King of Persia (Iran) authorized and encouraging the Jews to relocate to Israel and rebuild the temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Some Jews returned and some did not.  Jews were living in Persia in cities like Isfahan were they had been dispersed by Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus was therefore familiar with Jewish religious practices.

The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt under the leadership of Nehemiah, but the reconstruction of the Temple was not complete until 517 BC. 

The historian Josephus records that Herod the Great completely rebuilt the Temple, and even replaced the foundation stones of the Temple Mount. This renovated Temple became known as Herod's Temple and was a symbol of his power. He hoped to impress the Jews by this show of piety since, as an Edomite, he was not accepted by the dominant Pharisaic group. The Edomites were Horites and well aware of the expectation of the coming King. Herod was quickly informed that Bethlehem was to be the new King's birth place and Herod's insecurities led him to destroy every threat to his power.

This is the Scripture that Herod's wise men were frantically seeking:  “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrath, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Ephrath was the wife of Caleb and the mother of Hur (I Chron. 2:19, 50). She was a Horite.

Horite Bethlehem and Jesus' Horite Ancestry

Joseph takes Mary, his cousin wife, to Bethlehem for the census as required by the Romans. Jesus is born in Bethlehem because he is Horite through his mother. Horite does not refer to the ethnicity of the people, but to their caste. The ancient world was characterized by a caste structure. Horites were widely dispersed among many peoples across the Afro-Asiatic Dominion.

Jesus' mother's name was Miriam daughter of Joachim Son of Pntjr (Panther) Priests of Nathan of Beth Lehem. From predynastic times, ntjr designated the ruler among the Kushites. The name Panther or p-ntjr meant "God is King."

It is certain that Mary was of the ruler-priest caste because even those who hated her admit this. Sanhedrin 106a says: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.”

Mary is the blessed "Woman" of Genesis 3:15.

After Jesus' birth, Joseph is warned in a dream that Herod is seeking the Child's life. Joseph takes Mary and the Child to safety in the desert and on to Egypt.

The Church Fathers saw this as a fulfillment of the prophesy "Out of Egypt have I called my Son" (Hosea 11:1). While the Christians sees Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophesy, Jewish interpretation insists that the "son" is Israel and this verse refers to the Exodus. The Evangelists John and Matthew clearly believe that Hosea 11:1 pertains to Jesus because Jesus is the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise made to their Horim.

Further, they would have known that Jesus' mother was the daughter of  the shepherd-priest Joachim and a descendant of David and Abraham. Jesus' bloodline was traced through his mother and she was Horite by blood. Bethlehem was an ancient Horite shrine city. 1 Chronicles 2:55 which says that Caleb's sons were Kenites. They were of Kenaz, a son of Eliphaz by Timna, daughter of Seir the Horite. Caleb's son Salma is designated the "founder" of Bethlehem in I Chronicles 2:51. 

The word "Horite" takes many forms: Khar, Gur, Hur, Horonaim, Horoni, Horowitz, Horim, and Hori. Hori was the son of Lotan son of Seir whose descendants were the "lords of the Horites in the land of Seir" according to Genesis 36:20-29 and 1 Chronicles 1:38-42. Lot, Lotan, and Nim-Lot are Egyptian titles. Nimlot C was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the latter part of the reign of his father Osorkon II.

Foretaste of Paradise Restored: The Waters Restored

Jesus' baptism in the Jordan is surrounded by a great deal of very ancient symbolism. When John baptized Jesus, the Trinity was made manifest. Up to this moment, there are only hints or glimpses of the Trinity. Abraham was visited by the Three Person God (Baal Shalisha) before the destruction of Sodom.

There is also the image of the chaotic waters at the beginning of creation being subdued again. The chaotic deep that conceal the great serpent is restored to order, and the serpent is given warning of his impending doom. The Apocalypse of St. John identifies the dragon as "that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray" (Rev. 12:9, 20:2).

In Genesis 1 we read that the primal substance covering the earth was water and it was disordered, that is, it had no boundaries. God’s breath (Ruach/Logos) created order from the chaos, separating the waters above from the waters below, and the dry land from the seas. The chaotic waters are called Tehom and the ordering word of God is called Tehut. In the cosmic struggle, Tehut is victorious over Tehom. The oldest known law code is the Law of Tehut (c. 3500 B.C.) and it was said to express the wisdom of God by which boundaries were established and fixed.

This is why there are some many stories about Jesus and water. His first miracle was to turn water to wine at a wedding. He gives Peter a great catch of fish. He calms the wind and the waves. At his baptism Christ our God enters the waters which must obey him.

Jesus' Baptism marks the beginning of the promised restoration of Paradise, that is, perfect communion with God. This is why the Orthodox hold an annual blessing of the waters on the Feast of the Baptism of Christ our God.

Orthodox bishop blessing the waters

The ancient symbolism is seen in this Orthodox prayer:

That these waters may be sanctified by the power, and effectual operation, and descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

That there may descend upon these waters the cleansing operation of the super-substantial Trinity, let us pray to the Lord.

That he will endue them with the grace of redemption, the blessing of Jordan, the might, and operation, and descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

That Satan may speedily be crushed under our feet, and that every evil counsel directed against us may be brought to naught, let us pray to the Lord.

That the Lord our God will free us from every attack and temptation of the enemy, and make us worthy of the good things which he hath promised, let us pray to the Lord.

That he will illumine us with the light of understanding and of piety, and with the descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

That the Lord our God will send down the blessing of Jordan, and sanctify these waters, let us pray to the Lord.

That this water may be unto the bestowing of sanctification; unto the remission of sins; unto the healing of soul and body; and unto every expedient service, let us pray to the Lord.

That this water may be a fountain welling forth unto life eternal, let us pray to the Lord.

That it may manifest itself effectual unto the averting of every machination of our foes, whether visible or invisible, let us pray to the Lord.

For those who shall draw of it and take of it unto the sanctification of their homes, let us pray to the Lord.

That it may be for the purification of the souls and bodies of all those who, with faith, shall draw and partake of it, let us pray to the Lord.

That he will graciously enable us to perfect sanctification by participation in these waters, through the invisible manifestation of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.


Unknown said...

Just before the beginning of the first episode of The Bible the History Channel broadcast a 1 hr. documentary on the Shroud, concluding with impressive technological methods for reconstructing the face of Jesus. The producers of The Bible chose to ignore the results and gave viewers an attractive replacement.We seem to have a hard time resisting projecting human ideals on reality. I guess a more authentic appearance wouldn't sell.

Alice C. Linsley said...

William, this series is 85% entertainment and 15% history, if that.

Satan's appearance was interesting, but not accurate either. He should have appeared as an angel of light. That is why he is called "Lucifer" and the "Father of Lies." Satan's face so resembled President Obama's that the Media immediately assumed this was a right-wing religious attack on the President.

You have to love the drama!

Jason said...


In a previous post on Horites, you mentioned that the word "Horoscope" is a derivation that shares the "Hor" prefix. I then remembered that Fr. Andrew Philips of ROCOR and the author of the Orthodox England Journal had a terrific write up titled "Aquarius and Revelation" in Journal volume 15 number 4 (free online downloads - all of his Journal is excellent reading).

In it he explains how the signs of the Horoscope pertain to Christ. It was a great read, and after reading your material here I think it also provides an additional connection to Horite messianic belief. If you or any blog reader haven't read it, I heartily recommend it!

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, Jason. I look forward to reading that piece.

The earliest horoscopes were based on real astronomical observations and had nothing in common with the non-sidereal horoscopes so popular today.