Thursday, June 11, 2020

Expectation of the Righteous Ruler

The ancient Horites believed that heavenly recognition of a people depended on the righteousness of their ruler-priest. The ruler-priest was regarded as the mediator between the Creator and the people. If God turned His face away from the ruler, the people suffered. If the ruler found favor with God, the people experienced abundance and peace.

The deified ruler was expected to intercede for his people before God in life and in death. The ruler's resurrection meant that he could lead his people beyond the grave to new life. This is why great pains were taken to insure that the ruler not come into contact with dead bodies, avoid sexual impurity, and be properly preserved after death. The ruler's burial was attended by prayers, sacrifices and a grand procession to the royal tomb.

The New Testament speaks about Jesus as the ruler-priest. He is the firstborn from the grave and by his resurrection He delivers to the Father a "peculiar people." He leads us in the ascent to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.

It is evident that Jesus' understanding of His mission is consistent with the expectation of his ancient ancestors. He is the God-Man who overcomes death and leads all His people to His eternal reign. In His kingdom there will be two camps, but one people, just as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elkanah had two wives living in separate settlements, so Jesus Christ has two brides. The first is his sister bride, that is, those who believed as Abraham believed. The second, taken before His ascension to the throne, is a more distant cousin who has been grafted into the faith of Abraham and his Horite ancestors.

The Blood of God

In the resurrection, Jesus Christ trampled down death and bestowed life on those in the tombs, as recited in the ancient Liturgy. Jesus is the Seed of the Woman, the long-expected Immortal Mortal, the Sent-Away Son who defeats the serpent, subdues all God's enemies, and establishes an eternal kingdom. Jesus' mission involves all these tasks and more.

He is new Ha-Dam (Adam), the New Man, the New Blood. From earliest times, man observed that death occurred when an animal or human bled out. Blood was recognized as the substance of life. So it is said, "Life is in the Blood."  Eternal life comes only through the eternal blood. Immortality belongs to God alone and God has chosen to share that with those who "kiss the Son." Those who do not believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God cannot enter the kingdom of God. All have been warned from of old: "Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him." (Ps. 2:12)

"Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him." (John 6:53-56)

How is it that the blood of Christ is able to purchase two brides? His blood is pleromic. It is the very ground of all things and the substance of all life.  For Paul, the “pleroma” (meaning "fullness" in Greek) is the manifestation of the benefits of the blood of Jesus.  Paul refers to the blood of Jesus no less than twelve times in his writings. Because God makes peace with us through the blood of the Cross, he urges: “Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together” (Eph. 4:3). Jesus Christ is the “pleroma” (fullness) of all things in heaven and on earth, both invisible and visible. The Gnostics used “pleroma” to describe the metaphysical unity of all things, but Paul uses the term to speak about how all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ in bodily form (Col. 2:9).

The idea that blood is the substance of life seems obvious to people who have knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. What is less obvious is the basis of blood for rebirth or life after death, a concept assigned to the realms of theology or mysticism and dismissed by many "modern" people. The universal use of red ochre in the burial of archaic rulers signifies a widespread hope that the ruler might rise to life beyond the grave. Yet none did, save Jesus Christ.

Among Abraham's ancestors the resurrection of the ruler meant the salvation of the people. He was expected to lead them from life to the greater life, passing decisively through death. In pre-dynastic times and in the earliest dynasties people were believed to follow their deified ruler from this world to the next. Their immortality depended on the bodily resurrection of their king.

Proto-Saharan nobles were buried with red ochre at Nekhen in Sudan (3500 BC). Nekhen was a Horite shrine city dedicated to Horus whose totem was the falcon or hawk. Early dynastic Egypt adopted the Horite religion and never practiced cremation, as in the religions that seek to escape physical existence (samsara). Abraham and his Horite ancestors believed in the resurrection of the body and awaited a deified king who would rise from the grave and deliver his people from death.

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