Eber 1723 AM – 2187 AM: contemporaneous with Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Nimrod, and Abraham through Jacob
Key precept: Understanding the Old Testament Hebrew nation is foundational to New Testament saving faith.
Part of the problem with understanding the Bible, I’m sorry to say, is that the church experience typically isolates Old Testament “Bible stories” in Sunday School – “Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden”, “Noah and the Ark”, “The Tower of Babel”, ‘Sodom and Gomorrah”, “Abraham Offers Isaac”, and so on. If we take everything recorded in the Bible as a coherent whole story we will understand so much more of God’s entire message to us.
Apparently I need to work through the parts of Genesis chapters 10-11 we generally skip over because of awkwardly pronounced names and the lack of an interesting narrative. It is a valuable database bridging the “stories” from Noah to Abraham. The record appears to jump randomly from one topic to another, but only if we fail to connect them with the over-riding theme of the Bible: the battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent to win total control of the kingdom of heaven and earth. Then the scattered puzzle pieces fit into place and we see the big picture.
The timeline provided by the genealogical record from Shem to Abram informs us that everyone listed in this program was alive and active at the same time, and the backdrop to Shem’s great-grandson Eber’s role in history falls into place.
The following chart gives the Anno Mundi / In the Year of the World dates in the Jewish system that calculates from the beginning of the world, set at 3760 BC, and matches them to the BC Before Christ / BCE Before Christian Era dates used by historians. Doubtless the dates are not 100% accurate but they are in the ballpark of conservative biblical scholarship (minus ~250 years for Bishop Ussher’s calculation of 4004 BC for Creation) and most importantly, serve our purpose of putting key players and events into chronological order. When we look at the numbers as well as the names we get panoramic vision.
|BC||AM||Birth / Event||Death|
|-1765||1996||Dispersed from Babel||Peleg|
|-1761||2000||Abram to Canaan||Noah in 2006|
|-1713||2048||Sodom & Gommorah|
|-1653||2108||Jacob & Esau|
|-1545||2216||Joseph to Egypt|
|-1526||2235||Kehoth son of Levi|
|-1523||2238||Jacob & Family to Egypt|
|-1462||2319||Joseph – end of Genesis / Beginnings|
When the narrative resumes “stories”, the spotlight is on Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, hybrid seed of the serpent, leader of the rebellion against God. While he is obviously a highly significant individual, we shouldn’t let him distract us from the presentation of the main character.
That would be God’s Anointed Son, Seed of the Woman in the order of Melchizedek, Father / Leader of those who remain loyal to Creator God.
The literary account is subtle, even offhand, as if God expresses through a grammatical shrug that he is not impressed with the terrifying army assembled against his small group of faithful followers.
Understand that I am using the attached video of a famous battle only to visualize this concept, not to impute righteousness to the British Empire.
After listing all the fierce and giant peoples descended from Ham, without pausing for a breath we read “Unto Shem also…” The Order of Melchizedek always stands in opposition to the man of sin and his host of evil ones. Look closer at Genesis 10 with this concept in mind.
“And the sons of Ham;
- Cush begat
- Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth…And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth [i.e. partnership was severed in order to establish his own kingdom] Asshur [a son of Shem and brother to Arphaxad/Sargon, listed here as a powerful rival to Nimrod, as we know from the rise and fall of their empires], and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
- Mizraim begat
- Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim,) and
- Sidon his first born
and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad…These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.” (Gen 10:6-21)
Think I am exaggerating the significance of the paragraph structure? Fair enough. Look closer at Genesis 11, where once again we see the narrative contrasts the rebel nations with the faithful order of Melchizedek without missing a beat.
“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do…So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. These are the generations of Shem..:” (Gen 11:6-10)
Shem is listed as the progenitor of all his physical descendants, and so are his brothers Japheth and Ham. “Now these are the gene(s)-rations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth…” (Gen 10:1) These three divisions constitute what came to be known as the Yellow, Black and White races. Shem, Ham, and Japheth are not, however, considered the fathers / heads of families / nations of all their descendants.
This is because not all their gene-ration / physical descendants identified with their genetic forefathers.
This concept is absolutely key to understanding one’s standing with God when we identify with the Christ / Messiah / Promised Seed.
Follow me closely through the haze of ancient history. Not every ancient father became a patriarch, “a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family.” But all peoples on the earth were identified with – joined with – one or another of the patriarchs present at the scattering into nations at the Tower of Babel.
“These are the families of the [grand]sons of Noah,
- after their generations,
- in their nations:
and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.” (Gen 10:32)
As we study the development of the early nations through the lens of the Bible, bear in mind the means by which individuals came out from among one nation to become citizens of another. As is still the case with citizenship in today’s nations, citizenship in the early nations was obtained not only by genetic descendants but also through
- via emancipation from slavery, converting the non-person into a person (as recently as the 19th century in America),
- and – pertinent to our study – as a privilege bestowed on those who eagerly sought the benefits of belonging to that nation.
“The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, [Na na nana na!] But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” (Act 22:24-29)
The Meaning of “Father of a Nation”
It is evident from our casual attitude towards God that American Christians don’t understand the extreme depths and heights of his relationship as our Father, and the requirements for citizenship in his nation.
Much of this is due to the fact that our American political nation, despite lip service to being “under God”, is not a biblical patriarchal system. Western republics are outgrowths of the Greco-Roman system where law, which has been defined as the “Art of Social Control”, reigns supreme and supercedes both God and family.
The word “republic” derives from the Latin noun-phrase res publica (thing of the people), which referred to the system of government that emerged in the 6th century BCE following the expulsion of the kings from Rome... Republics recurred subsequently, with, for example, Renaissance Florence...
An example of Gallicanism was the dispute between King Louis XIV [the Sun King who asserted total personal control] of France and the Holy See… Louis XIV’s extension of the droit de régale throughout the Kingdom of France in 1673…led to the 1682 Declaration of the Clergy of France… The Articles asserted that the civil power has absolute independence; that the pope is inferior to the General Council…of the whole Church… Pope Alexander VIII …quashed the entire proceedings of the 1681 Assembly and…Louis XIV rescinded the four articles and “wrote a letter of retraction”…
But hey! You say. The Protestant Reformation crippled that power! No, it didn’t.
- The Order of the Roman Pontifex Maximus / Highest Priest established in 712 BC
- by the second king of tribal Rome
- and carried into the Roman Republic
- continues to be one of the highest authorities in the fourth, and last, world empire, revealed to Daniel.
<< One of the most amazing aspects…of the papacy is that the church of Rome promotes the pope as the “Pontifex Maximus” or,..Supreme Pontiff… since The early church fathers say that the Pontifex Maximus was the “King of Heathendom”, the evil high priest of the pagan mystery religion of Rome…
the Pontifex Maximus was usually…the Emperor himself, which made one the “chief priest” of the Roman “state cult”…when Constantine the Great became the first Christian Roman Emperor, the “state cult” changed to Christianity. Now, oddly enough, the first Christian emperors all still retained the title of Pontifex Maximus (a traditional title for Emperors) which, under imperial law (though not Church law), actually made them the “Head of the Church”! It was by this authority, for example, that Constantine called the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) to settle the Arian controversy. [Emphasis added.]
…it was not until the Empire split in two…(circa 360 AD) that the Pope / Papa was given the title Pontifex Maximus…the pious young Emperor bestowed it upon Pope Damasus I, who became the first Pope in history to hold the title “Pontifex Maximus.”
…It was not until the Popes began to conflict with several heretical Eastern Emperors (who, by the way, never relinquished the title “Pontifex Maximus” in the Eastern Empire) that the Popes began asserting their legal [civil] authority under imperial law. [Emphasis added.]
…in recent centuries the temporal [civil] authority of the papacy has declined… Still, the pope is considered one of the world’s most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic, cultural, and spiritual influence on 1.3 billion Catholics and beyond, and because he heads the world’s largest non-government provider of education and health care, with a vast network of charities.
Of course, in republics like America the only persons subject to the Pope’s over-riding legal authority are Catholics in matters like abortion and birth control. This is not just a religious code of ethics. This demonstrates their membership in a Father-headed “one nation under God” nation that takes precedent in both time and authority over State political legal systems.
And don’t overlook the power of Protestant and atheist leaders. The battle for supreme authority between 1) the head of religion (be they Catholic or Protestant) and 2) the head of state continues to be reflected in contemporary governments. Their strategies range from
- eliminating religion’s political influence altogether via ideologies like Communism,
- minimizing religion’s influence by conversions to belief in materialism via control over education and the media,
- coopting religious leaders via carefully controlled influence sharing.
…it was until quite recently fashionable among political scientists to believe that the religious factor had ceased to have much impact at all—whether in the direction of conflict or consensus—on the contemporary politics of the western democracies…If religion itself had not dissolved away in the cold light of Reason, as Enlightenment thinkers had once expected, it was surely much more marginal for the modern European with an essentially secular and materialist approach to life and politics. After 1945 in particular, the political agenda seemed to revolve almost entirely around the humdrum business of ‘who gets what, when, how’…
In the 1960s, however…a number of studies led political scientists to re-examine the orthodox assumptions about the secularity and materialism of politics in the liberal democracies. In 1967…a seminal survey of…the characteristic structures of western party systems…showed that not only had religion…been of prime importance in the foundation of the European party systems in the late nineteenth century…but that the effects of this impact had been extended into the most recent period…
…these claims were not of course incompatible with the deeply rooted assumption that the religious factor was in some way archaic—a survival from some earlier era…the outcome of events as distant as the Reformation and the French Revolution…however, LaRose and Urwin underlined the contemporary significance of the religious factor when their examination of the social bases of political parties led them to the surprising conclusion that… ‘religious divisions, not class, are the main social basis for parties in the Western world today. This was only one of a number of studies which ‘rediscovered’ the political impact of the religious factor at about this time and since then a number of publications have been concerned with the question of assessing and accounting for the strength of the religious factor in the politics of the liberal democracies…
...the impact of religion could in fact increase as ‘political Christians’ engage themselves for and against the ‘new politics’ of peace, environmental, development and other issues.
So we see that the ancient role of religious leader was carried forward in time, alive and kicking, into modern states. What about the ancient secular role of Father of the Nation?
We don’t have to go far back in history to find the answer. We can follow the same track as the role of religious leader. The Roman Empire, like furniture styles, covers the classic, the transitional, and the modern.
After the original autocratic rule of King of the ethnic Romans was shrouded in Republican egalitarianism and Empire internationalism, “enrollment in a tribe remained an important part of…citizenship”. The legal process granting Roman rights and responsibilities was accomplished through adoption as sons, including the bestowal of the new tribal / national / gens name / identity.
The word gens is sometimes translated as “race”, or “nation”, meaning a people descended from a common ancestor…The oldest gentes were said to have originated before the foundation of Rome (traditionally 753 BC), and claimed descent from mythological personages [gods and demigods] as far back as the time of the Trojan War (traditionally ended [during the time of Judges] 1184 BC)…The nomen gentilicium, or “gentile name”, was its distinguishing feature, for a Roman citizen’s nomen indicated his membership in a gens...
In theory, each gens functioned as a state within a state, governed by its own elders and assemblies, following its own customs, and carrying out its own religious rites. Certain cults were traditionally associated with specific gentes. The gentile assemblies had the responsibility of adoption and guardianship for their members.
We can recognize the precursor to the Roman legal procedure. When the Babylonians changed the names identifying Dani-El and his Jewish compatriots as sons of the nation of the God, they were formalizing their adoption as sons of the nation of the Babylonian gods.
This had many of the same effects as assigning the new identity of “American” to a naturalized citizen from another country.
But! Adoption was immensely more significant than entitlement to the rights of a citizen in this lifetime.
Adoption Into A Nation
Adoption swept away the existing state of being an inferior person or even non-person slave and bestowed a new and improved identity including
- a new past heritage glorifying the father of the nation,
- rights and privileges in the present
- and protection by the gods after death.
The subjects in the Roman Empire in the first century at the time the New Testament letters were written understood exactly what Paul explained happened to Gentiles who put their faith in the Promised Savior of the God of Judaism.
“God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant / slave, but…an heir of God through Christ.“ (Galatians 4:4-7)
“There is therefore now no condemnation [automatic assumption of guilt and trial by torture to elicit a confession] to them which…are the sons of God. For ye have…received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8)
And still today in the Middle East where the Bible originated, success and survival depend on belonging to a clan headed by the “fathers.”
Clans pose a challenge to state development in ways that are often difficult for Westerners to appreciate. Part of the challenge is cultural. Members of clans are united by powerful feelings of solidarity that impede or erode the overarching national identity essential for democratic citizenship. But more important, throughout history, from medieval Iceland and Scotland to modern-day Libya and Yemen, where clans function as basic units of social organization, they claim to have the legitimate authority to administer justice for their members by using their own force.
From resolving disputes over land [think Abraham and Lot] and arranging marriage settlements[think Jacob and Hamor] to exacting revenge within the context of the blood feud [think Simeon and Levi], clans exert legal powers that are independent from those of the state [think Peter and John as member of God’s clan declining to obey the Jewish rulers]
…It also weakens a core liberal value: individual rights. [Think the early church.] Under the rule of the clan, people are afforded protection not as individuals per se, but rather as members of the lineage groups to which they belong. Law is conceived on collective terms. Thus an injury to a clan member [is an injury to all clan members, think “I am crucified with Christ, Gal 2:20” and] not only demands a response from all members of the clan of the victim [think Stephen’s insulting rebuke to the Jewish rulers], but also can be exacted against any member of the clan of the perpetrator [think Saul’s persecution of the church].
“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites…(now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel…the children of Israel had sworn unto them: [but] Saul sought to slay them…[in an action like the Rwandan genocide. Saul was from Gibeah so seizing their property would increase his wealth. He may also have attacked them as easy prey to save face militarily after being embarrassed by the Philistines].
Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites…wherewith shall I make [up for this] the atonement, that ye may bless [instead of cursing as apparently they were doing] the inheritance of the Lord?
And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any [random] man in Israel…The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.” (I Samuel 21:1-8)
This God-authorized blood feud may seem appallingly uncivilized and allow you you to confirm your rejection of the Bible, but it is actually the basic principle of biblical salvation. Any member of a family can take die in place of another. When seen from the side of the person whose life is saved by another family member substituting his life, this practice isn’t so bad after all. How many more deaths were prevented by this act of justice?
But take note – you must be a member of the family to be covered by the death! This is why God became a human and humans seeking salvation from the sin feud and death must become members of God’s family.
In Libya, Moammar Gadhafi put clan loyalty at the heart of his revolutionary ideology, seeking to forge a stateless state, guarded by his leadership but organized around decentralized local institutions and clans, which he viewed as the natural basis of the social order.
In Yemen, the Saleh regime’s highest priority has been to buy at any price the loyalty of the more powerful clans.
In the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat implemented a series of policies in the wake of the Oslo Accords that took power away from the university-educated leaders of the first intifada and strengthened the power of clan elders, which he could control directly through patronage.
As did Jesus Christ in the wake of the new covenant, where the nation that lost power is not the entire group of Israelites, but the rulers of the tribe of Judah and the new nation / clan is the group that identifies with him and he empowers with his Spirit, the Christ-ians.
When during the second intifada Israel destroyed numerous local government institutions, such as police stations and courts, the clans Arafat had strengthened rushed to fill the vacuum.
As did churches after 9/11. This should be the biblical response to men’s hearts failing for fear.
These cases are part of a more general dynamic, which varies in intensity throughout the region. The 2004 Arab Human Development Report calls it “clannism.”
How can modern democracies be built in the face of push-back from clans?…in addition to encouraging trade and economic development
America’s economic dependence on Consumerism is contrary to biblical “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (I John 2:15-16)]
the United States should do what it can to help reformers in the region strengthen the identity and power of the intellectual and professional classes, among whom personal identity is most powerfully peeled away from the social core of kinship.
This may explain
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” (I Corinthians 1:26-27)
It is crucial to recognize that the early converts in the Roman Empire understood clearly that their adoption into God’s kingdom / nation / gens removed them from their former inclusion in a Roman or heathen nation, with ALL that entailed.
These nations all combined the religious AND political headman roles in one leader. Therefore these early Gentile converts understood they were now subject not just to a new religious leader but also to a new political / legal head of state – Creator God.
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do…I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word…And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep [guard] through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are…the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [set them apart from the world’s system of values, policies and procedures] through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one [family, nation, gens] in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Tragically, for a world desperately needing salvation in this world and the next, much of modern American Christianity has lost sight of the true meaning of “one nation under God”.
America is Not One Nation Under God
There is a group in the US who brought out a film shortly before the 2018 midterm elections called The Trump Prophecy. This film likened the US president to Cyrus, the first emperor of Persia – a pagan used by God to bring about his purposes…
Sure, Cyrus was responsible for freeing the Jewish population from captivity in Babylon, but I think I missed the bit of the Bible where God’s people campaigned to be subject to his rule in the first place. It all sounds like an excuse for people desperate to justify voting for someone who Christians should be rebuking, not supporting.
…one thing I know for sure is that we are instructed to love God and to love our neighbour – and that means that someone who separates children from their mothers, bans Muslims from entering his country, and countenances torture, is worthy of rebuke.
So not only is it wrong to support Trump on this basis, it…contributes to the tribal politicisation of evangelical Christians.
The politicisation and tribalism of Christianity is dangerous and, in the case of Trump, stands in direct opposition to the values of the saviour who Christians seek to follow. One who gave up his rights to save others rather than trampling on the rights of others to promote himself. Some Christians may believe they are bringing about God’s purposes, but in reality they are causing his name to be associated with the very things he stands against…
The choice of American Christians to publicly back Trump now, and George W Bush before him, has been a dangerous move in a culture war that now means that half of the US has its fingers in its ears when it comes to the gospel. My challenge to Christians in the US is this: what matters more to you, the identity of the person in the White House or the promotion of the good news about Jesus Christ? If it is the latter – and it surely must be – then you need to seriously reconsider your support of the former. The politicisation of US Christianity has undermined the witness of evangelicals everywhere.
Hopefully we’re beginning to understand that an accurate understanding and application of being a citizen in contemporary times has to start with understanding ancient history. Likewise, understanding the true meaning and proper application of belonging to the one unified nation under God starts with studying the exemplary life and times of our ancient religious leaders.
When we understand that nations / clans / families / groups by any name meet the essential human needs of safety, belonging and self-actualization, we can better catch the reasons why individuals and families transfer their citizenship, i.e. support and civic duties, from one nation to another.
Migration is prompted by “push” factors driving people out of their homeland and “pull” factors luring people to go to the trouble of resettling in a strange land. These usually come into play during periods of internal social or external military conflicts. This is reflected in the graph showing historic peak migrations to America. Understand that these same factors were active in the earliest stages of history. We just need to change the names and the cultural identifiers.
- Famine. In Ireland during the mid-1800’s a potato blight causing mass starvation and disease prompted mass emigration. It is estimated that in just four years at its worst one million people died, one million emigrated, and others became nation-less refugees resulting in an immediate population drop of 20-25% out of a population of nine million, with a continuing population decline for a century. The destruction of the Irish people is attributed to England, which ruled Ireland from 1801-1922 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and which permitted for the benefit of the wealthy landowners “a mass of poverty, disaffection, and degradation without a parallel in the world.” Although Ireland produced twice as much food needed to feed the entire Irish population, the British refused to lift the strict export rules on the foods to divert them to home use so as not to lose profits for, therefore political support from, the wealthy merchant class. The British also refused to send basic food supplies into the country stating, and I quote, “the judgment of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson.”
Sound vaguely familiar?
“And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food…They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come…for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” (Gen 43:1-2, 47:1-6)
- Subjugation. Government policies in 18th century Germany turned many of its people into virtual serfs / slaves. German laws of primo-geniture permitted only the eldest sons in families to inherit all of a fathers’ land. Heavy taxation prevented accumulation of capital for investment into private ventures, and constant warfare cut short the lives of generations of young men. From the 1700’s through the 1800’s millions of Germans emigrated to America, many of them as farmers developing America into the top exporter of food to the world, with Johann Jakob Astor demonstrating German Americans’ success in business by becoming America’s first multimillionaire. Given their love for personal freedom it should come as no surprise that German Americans opposed slavery, not only because it provided most of the farm labor in the southern U.S. states but because some of the German immigrants were political refugees from the many failed revolutions of 1848 in Europe who came to the United States filled with ideals and continued to fight for freedom as leaders in the American abolitionist movement. In the Civil War nearly one-quarter of all Union Army troops were German Americans, about half of whom had been born in Europe.
Illustration of the most famous scene from the expose Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, in which the slave Eliza has to cross a treacherous body of water to reach freedom from the slavers pursuing her, and most importantly, her son.
Seem vaguely familiar?
“the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field…And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river…And the angel of the LORD appeared unto [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush…And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows…Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt…But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea…And the LORD said unto Moses…speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward…And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground...(Ex 1:13-22, 3:1-10, 14:9-22)
- Class struggle by laborers against capitalists. The 19th century was marked by an endless series of wars, with the British emerging as the victors, defeating both the Napoleonic and the Hapsburg Empires to become the largest empire in history, controlling the fourth part of the world’s population and landmass including much of Asia and almost all of Africa under colonial rule. The Pax Britannica (updated Pax Romana) ushered in unprecedented globalization and economic integration. In combination with the Second Industrial Revolution this resulted in skyrocketing profits and power accruing exponentially to the upper classes who built gorgeous mansions and filled them with treasures from around the world, but in plummeting standards of living for the vast majority of people on whose labor the rich were getting richer. This was due in large part to a massive population shift from farms to urbanization. Outright slavery was abolished but factory and mine workers were treated no better than slaves and often even worse. Widespread unemployment of able bodied men destroyed families as factory and mine owners increasing their profits by preferentially employing women and children who were paid less per hour. Children as young as 6 years old worked up to 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. Diseases swept through the crowded and unsanitary cities but the newly established governments had neither the medical knowledge nor administrative will to combat them. Increasingly desperate people found it more and more difficult to find a reason to stay home. At the turn of the 20th century Italian immigrants made up 10% of the foreign immigrants. At the same time, Russian discriminatory policies imposing poverty through relocation to desolate areas spurred millions of Jews to emigrate.
Seem somewhat familiar?
“And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life…For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely…And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was 30,000 men. And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy. And Solomon had 70,000 that bare burdens, and 80,000 hewers in the mountains; Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, 3,300, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work…And the 1) house which king Solomon built for the LORD…when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither…And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house...seven years in building it. But Solomon was 2) building his own house thirteen years…He 3) built also the house of the forest of Lebanon…Solomon 4) made also an house for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken to wife…
All these were of costly stones…stones of ten cubits [which I calculated to be at least 15 feet square, or roughly the size of one end of the largest quarried stones known, at Baalbek, Lebanon, and if cubed I calculated to be about 2,500 pounds or 1 1/4 tons each] , and stones of eight cubits…and cedars…two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about…And Solomon left all the vessels unweighed, because they were exceeding many: neither was the weight of the brass found out. And Solomon made all the vessels that pertained unto the house of the LORD: the altar of gold, and the table of gold, whereupon the shewbread was, And the candlesticks of pure gold..And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD….Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country...And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant…even he lifted up his hand against the king…And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he [had] made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph...And [when] Solomon slept with his fathers…Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee…And king Rehoboam consulted with the young men that were grown up with him…thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So…the king answered the people roughly…So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house[hold], David. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day…there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.” (I Ki 4-12)
- Benefiting future generations: In 2015 Mexican immigrants accounted for more than 1/4 of all US immigrants. What is seldom expressed in the polarized and inflammatory political discourse is that many Mexicans feel forced to leave their native country. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) displaced more than five million agricultural workers from their land. Many Mexican immigrants who would prefer to stay home come to the US so that they can provide a better future for their children and future generations.
“…And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me…And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying…arise, get thee out from this land…And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.” (Gen 27:41-45, 31:4-16)
Now that we have realigned our Sunday School coloring book images with the reality of human nature, let’s examine the line of Melchizedek Shem as the mass of humanity scattered into nations at the Tower of Babel.
The Hebrew Nation
Eber was the first scion / offshoot who could be acknowledged by Shem as being in his likeness and capable of carrying out his righteous legacy. Remember, “a child became a son or daughter not primarily by the fact of physical generation but rather through acknowledgement or election by the father...The perfect son then is the incarnation and extension of his father’s will and character, and he points to his father, not to himself.”
Eber is the head of the only nation left standing against 69 demonically empowered dogs of war.
Eber is identified ethnically and linguistically as the founder and patriarch of the Hebrew nation. Cultural historians confirm the biblical account that the Hebrew nation was the only godly nation to come out of Babylon.
“The most distinct and long-lasting elements of ancient Hebrew civilization lay not in its architectural, artistic or diplomatic contributions but in the focus of the people as a monotheistic God who was radically different from the gods worshipped by most ancient peoples.” Our Oriental Heritage by Will Durant
“Little is known about the oldest eras of ancient Hebrew civilization because the culture was nomadic.”
And why would that be? They were running for their lives.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” (Revelation 12:13-15)
While that quote may be attributed to a specific historic event, there is no question that patterns of behaviors occur throughout the Bible.
Eber’s nation is the one nation the LORD God reserved to harbor his Chosen One / Christ when he turned all the rest over to the gods they chose to serve. This nation is the classic “reserved remnant” God always keeps in a hostile and wicked world. As much as the following passage applies in history to the nation of Israel in 50 AD and 850 BC it applies to the handful of faithful believers in 2200 BC.
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid...Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God…saying…I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also [as in the past] there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:1-5)
We deduce therefore that the Hebrew nation is the nation ruled by The Order of Melchizedek. This deduction is confirmed by historians.
Hebrew (and Jewish) contribution was not of a material nature. There was no unique technology, tool, architecture, art, pottery technique or even alphabet unique to Hebrews. The contribution was more ideological.
For starters, Hebrews created and developed monotheism. The three monotheistic religions of today (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) are all based on that Hebrew/Jewish concept. Both Christianity and Islam are called Abrahamic religions and revere the Hebrew prophets.
But Monotheism is not just a quantitative issue (believing in one God as opposed to many). Hebrew monotheism separated humans from nature – by believing that God created humans in His image and made it ontologically different from other animals. That allows for a completely different relation of humans to their environment – it gives a theological justification for humans to lord over nature.
The “ethical monotheism” of the ancient Hebrews also established the equality of all men – in that they are all created in God’s image. When the American Declaration of Independence talks about “all men are created equal” it’s referring to that Hebrew concept. No wonder that Martin Luther King used biblical references all the time.
By creating the notion of a transcendental God, it also creates the idea of a supreme and trascendant moral reference: meaning, Good and Bad become absolute terms, and not what society or the king says it is, but what God says it is. That develops a moral conscience and a moral aspiration.
The ancient Hebrews also had – and gave to us – a different idea of time. For the pagan world, time was eternal or cyclical, for Hebrews is sequential. that opens a new different way of thinking about the future.
In sum, much of the way in which we think today derives from the ancient Hebrews, much of the religious landscape of the world as well and much of the ideas of liberal democracy are rooted in the Hebrews as well (Hebrew theology and Greek methodology)
For such a key figure in God’s plan of salvation, Eber is barely mentioned in the Bible. First his ancestor Shem, then his descendant Abraham, are documented in the Bible as the royal priest-leader / father of the children / people who identified with Eber’s God. Why is Eber’s life story omitted?
Since he lived as long as his father, it is unlikely that Eber was martyred under Nimrod. I like to think that, like Paul, Eber was a missionary constantly traveling to spread the Gospel to the migrating heathen nations with his evangelist great grandfather Noah.
“For the [Old Testament] scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed….the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!…Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.“ (Romans 10:11-18)
Meso- and South American mythology is just one of hundreds of ancient world-wide cultural legends which supports this speculation. This is most easily recognized when the elements that are obviously limited to that nation’s environmental and cultural understanding are redacted, along with the corrupted blurring of the identity of the true God with the Usurper.
In the beginning, all was darkness and nothing existed. Viracocha the Creator came forth from the waters
of Lake Titicaca[the sea of space] and created the land and the sky [on Evening 1] before returning to the lake. He also created a race of people – in some versions of the story they were giants / powerful immortals aka angels. Some of These people and their leaders displeased Viracocha, so he came out of the lake again and flooded the world to destroy them. He also turned some of the men into stones. Then Viracocha created the Sun, Moon and stars on Day five.
Then Viracocha made men to populate the different areas and regions of the world…The Inca referred to the first men / angels as Vari Viracocharuna / Variation of Viracocha. Viracocha then created another group of men, also called viracochas / Same name as his – not just “like God” but exactly sons of God because made in his exact identity and delegated his exact uniquely identifying characteristic of dominion over the earth. He spoke to these viracochas and made them remember the different characteristics of the peoples that would populate the world…
Viracocha…sent one to the east to the region called Andesuyo and the other to the west to Condesuyo. Their mission, like the other viracochas, was as prophets and seers to awaken the people and tell them their historiespast, purest and future…he went to the province of Cacha and awoke opened the eyes of the Canas people… They attacked him and he made it rain fire upon a nearby mountain. The Canas threw themselves at his feet and he forgave them.
Viracocha continued to Urcos, where he sat on the high mountain…Then Viracocha founded the city of Cuzco…Once that was done, he walked to the sea, awakening people as he went. When he reached the ocean, the other viracochas were waiting for him.Together they walked off across the ocean after giving his people one last word of advice: beware of false men who would come and claim that they were the returnedviracochas.
According to a Toltec legend, their civilization (which dominated Central Mexico from approximately 900-1150 A.D.) was founded by a great hero, Ce Acatl Topiltzín Quetzalcoatl. According to Toltec and Maya accounts, Ce Acatl Topiltzín Quetzalcoatl lived in Tula for a while before a dispute with the warrior class over human sacrifice led to his departure. He headed east, eventually settling in Chichen Itza. The God Quetzalcoatl definitely has a link of some sort to this hero. It may be that the historical Ce Acatl Topiltzín Quetzalcoatl was deified into Quetzalcoatl the god…
In their mythology, the world was periodically destroyed and rebuilt by the gods. Each age of the world was given a new sun, and the world was on its Fifth Sun, having been destroyed four times previously. [This is consistent with this writer’s interpretation of Genesis 1 as discussed in the post In the Beginning.]
In another legend, still told in Mexico, Quetzalcoatl was feeling ill. His brother Tezcatlipoca, who wanted to be rid of Quetzalcoatl, came up with a clever plan. Drunkenness was forbidden, so Tezcatlipoca disguised himself as a medicine man and offered Quetzalcoatl alcohol disguised as a medicinal potion. Quetzalcoatl drank it, became intoxicated and committed incest. [This is consistent with Noah’s downfall reported in Genesis.]
The translation of Quetzalcoatl means…feathered serpent. [Consistent with the biblical seraphim, described elsewhere in this blog.] This point is interesting in that he very rarely appears in this form. He is more often depicted in many of his other roles, specifically as Topiltzin the high priest (Brundage 102-03). The significance of this will appear later in the paper, but suffice it to say the name is in itself misleading…
Many of the roles designated to Quetzalcoatl are unrelated to say the least, however the Aztecs seemed to be able to accept the various roles without question…
Another manifestation of Quetzalcoatl is that of the wind / spirit...The wind is a powerful force..
Another of Quetzalcoatl’s associate forms is the Morning star…In this form he battles the stars that overwhelm the sun at night and as the last star visible before the sun rises he has defeated the stars that seek to destroy the sun (Brundage 110). Ce Actal is also in competition with the sun who eventually overwhelms and destroys him to resume his place in the daytime sky. This is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp in relation to Quetzalcoatl and I have only brought it up here to illustrate the complex nature of the god and his relations to Aztec mythology. [This is easily understood as the Seed of the Serpent’s determination to assume the identity of the Seed of the Woman.]
…however the most famous, and for the purposes of this paper the most relevant expression is that of the high priest Topiltzin. [Emphasis added.] This form is the only one in which he is truly human and it is from this form that he is said to have transformed into all the other manifestations that were previously discussed…
The most common account presents Quetzalcoatl in human form and as a holy priest who comes down from his heavenly abode to give the Aztec people a new religion. He tries to make the Aztecs rituals more of a personal spiritual event. Before his arrival the legend says that the Aztecs sacrificed hundreds of humans to the various gods. In the form of the high priest Quetzalcoatl’s goal is to make Aztec ritual more simplistic and auto-sacrificial… He is more concerned with the sanctity of human life…
Most of the accounts that survive to the modern day agree on the first part of the story. However the ending occurs in many forms. One story tells how…High Priest Topiltzin was eventually made ruler of the city and during his reign as the priest/king of Tula the city prospered. The priests seeking to reinstate human sacrifice conspired against Topiltzin and toppled him from power…Topiltzin was hounded by his pressures all the way to what is today the Gulf of Mexico…The story ends with Topiltzin floating away to the east and promising one day to return…
The next task is to find out how such a tremendous legend evolved. Scholars have suggested that the myth of Quetzalcoatl the priest is based on pre-Columbian contact between the Old World and the new…the very religion of the Aztecs had…a common memory of the flood, the creation of male and then female in the creation story…why would the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican civilizations represent a god as having facial hair when all Native populations do not have it? Why was the god white, when most all Native Americans were of a brown complication? These are questions that will have to remain mysteries in the Quetzalcoatl legend…
Meanwhile, back at Jerusalem and the Promised Land…
Since Eber predates Jacob, his Hebrew nation’s precedence to Judaism is easily understood and accepted in terms of sequence or time.
“And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew;” (Genesis 14:13)
We must therefore also accept that the Hebrew precedence to Judaism is, in abstract terms, primarily in authority. Any derivative individual or group claimant such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam must have its beliefs, policies and practices validated by their consistency with the founding organization.
“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made…And…the [Mosaic] covenant, that was confirmed before…the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:15-17)
For example, the Apostle Paul, considered the founder of Christianity, had to prove the legitimacy of what was considered his “new” doctrine exempting Gentile believers in the Jewish Messiah from Jewish regulations. He won his case in a Messianic Jewish court of law, by
- distinguishing between the Mosaic code for Jews found in their legal books Exodus – Deuteronomy,
- and the preceding, therefore precedent setting, Hebrew practice – documented in the primarily history book of Genesis.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness…How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” (Ro 4:1-10)
Take Paul’s declaration that Gentile believers in Christ / Messiah / Seed of the Woman are governed by Abraham “our father” at face value.
Gentile believers In Jesus Christ Are Hebrews
The burgeoning Gentile population of believers like the Galatians needed to understand the differences between themselves and the Messianic Jewish believers. The author of the letter to the Hebrews
- starts by reminding them that the establishment of their faith predates even the beginning of time, let alone Judaism,
- reiterates the continuity of the Hebrew faith from Abel to his present time while incorporating Judaism as a subset of Hebrews,
- educates the readers on the precedence of the Hebrew Priesthood over the Levitical priesthood,
- and wraps it up by pointing to YHVH’s Savior as the author and finisher of the Hebrew faith for Gentiles and Jews.
“…one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
- thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: “And God said, Let us make [prototype] man in our image, after our likeness: and let them [mankind] have dominion”
- But now we see not yet all things put under him / Adam
- But! [Emphasized with the classic Greek oratory pose with outstretched pointed index finger] we [do] see Jesus / YHVH’s Savior who was made a little lower than the angels /i.e. mortal for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man / genetically one with Adam
- For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren
- Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage
- For verily…he took on him the seed of Abraham the Hebrew
- Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 1)
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus…For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ / Seed of the Woman as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.“ (Hebrews 3:1-6)
- “Christ / The Promised One since day 1 glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee
- As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him
- Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5)
- For this Melchisedec…abideth a priest continually [from the first Adam to Christ physically through the legacy of shared DNA and spiritually through unity with the Holy Spirit
- Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people…payed tithes in Abraham. For he Levi was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him
- he Melchizedek whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better
- For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
- And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec
- For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
- By so much was Jesus / YHVH’ Promised Seed of the Woman Savior made a surety of a better testament.” (Hebrews 7)
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We – Hebrews! –have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man“ Hebrews 8:1-2)
- “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God
- By faith Abel obtained witness that he was righteous
- By faith Enoch pleased God…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him
- By faith Noah…became heir of the righteousness which is by faith
- By faith Abraham,…obeyed
- Through faith also Sara…judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable
- These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but…were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city
- By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God [the Hebrews] than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season
- And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness…
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect / completed.” (Hebrews 11)
There you have it.
What has been called a new Gentile Christian faith is simply the continuation of faith in the Savior from sin and death through resurrection and restoration promised to the first two humans, and established as One Nation Under God at the time of the dispersal of a multitude of nations under Antichrist Nimrod.
I am well aware how sharply this contrasts with the orthodox Christian analysis of the letter to the Hebrews. “With its myriad references to Hebrew customs and the Old Testament, the book was likely sent to a Jewish Christian community…”
This is illogical for starters. The Messianic Jews didn’t need to be educated on the Old Testament. It was the influx of scripturally illiterate Gentile new believers who did, to protect themselves from being led astray by Ultra-Orthodox Messianic Jews demanding conversion to Judaism.
Assumptions like this betray the analyst’s lack of awareness that the identity of “Hebrew” encompasses, but is not synonymous with, “Israelite” – all the descendants of Jacob / Israel, or “Jew” – genetic and amalgamated members of the clan of Judah. Names are meaningful. We shouldn’t be careless with them. Long before there was a nation of Israel the Hebrews are defined as the people of the LORD God.
Jews from Judah who belong to larger group of
Israelites from Israel/Jacob who belong to larger group of
Hebrews from Eber
“And Joseph said unto him…think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews:” (Gen 40:12-15)
In context here while Joseph is including his family as Hebrews, he is not defining his family as the only Hebrews. The family of Israel became a subset of the nation of the Hebrews, just like the twelve tribes were subsets of the nation of Israel. But when Joseph was in Egypt, before Jacob / Israel’s sons coalesced into a unit, but rather were falling apart (Gen 34, 37, 38, 49), the Egyptians were interacting with Hebrews who were not part of Israel’s family. This is demonstrated by the description of long-established religious practices by the Egyptians towards the Hebrews before the Egyptians knew they were interacting with Joseph’s family.
“And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” (Gen 43:32)
Job’s address as “the land of Uz” (Job 1:1) referencing one of Shem’s grandsons, his herding lifestyle in what soon became a heavily urbanized area, his experience with the pre-urbanized raiding Chaldeans, and his long lifespan estimated at about 200 years dates him as living during the formative stages of post-flood civilization. He was not an Israelite. He would have been one of the Hebrew people known to the Egyptians inhabiting the land of Canaan. He undoubtedly crossed paths with Shem and Eber, possibly with Abraham who lived 175 years during this same time frame. He proves to us that the way of salvation in ancient times was exactly the same as that known to us under the terms of the New Covenant – repentance and profession of faith in the promised Redeemer.
“Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! [As a sure testimony in the day of judgment.] That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! [As was Cyrus the Great’s last words.] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God [resurrection]: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me…Then Job answered the LORD and said…I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent…” (Job 19:23-27)
Where do you think Paul got his doctrine of resurrection and salvation from all of sin’s consequences if not from these Old Testament scriptures?
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” (Romans 1:1-4)
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;“ (I Corinthians 15:1-3)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus / Redeemer Seed of the Woman YHVH’s Savior and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?…So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:9-17)
Paul’s claim to be an Hebrew, and a consummate one at that, confirms that there is a religious significance to this identification, which precedes and is separate from the Israelite national identification, and is important enough for Paul to brag about.
“Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.” (II Corinthians 11:22)
“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee…touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (Philippians 3:5-6)
I strongly suspect that Paul struggled with recognizing his and his fellow Israelites’ priority identity as Hebrews. Like Jesus‘, Paul’s pervasive quoting of Old Testament writings to prove his New Testament assertions proves to me, at least, that this superlatively knowledgeable Jewish lawyer spent most of his one-on-one tutorial with the Word piecing together the Old Testament evidence for this thesis.
Having a problem digesting this? Then you can grasp what a massive “backward” paradigm shift this was to the Messianic Jews. Think of this situation like the conflict between American Federalists claiming higher authority to annul any laws made by one of the States comprising the United States. We know how that turned out.
A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral (emphasis added) issue of slavery.
In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict.
A key issue was states’ rights.
The Southern states wanted to assert their authority over the federal government so they could abolish federal laws they didn’t support, especially laws interfering with the South’s right to keep slaves and take them wherever they wished.
Sectional tensions over slavery in the United States had been building for decades by 1854, when Congress’ passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened territory that had previously been closed to slavery according to the Missouri Compromise…
Emancipation would redefine the Civil War, turning it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery, and set a decisive course for how the nation would be reshaped after that historic conflict..
At the outset of that conflict, Lincoln insisted that…“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or to destroy slavery,” he wrote in an editorial published in the Daily National Intelligencer in August 1862. “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that…”
As Lincoln and his allies in Congress realized emancipation would have no constitutional basis after the war ended, they soon began working to enact a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. By the end of January 1865, both houses of Congress had passed the 13th Amendment, and it was ratified that December.
“It is my greatest and most enduring contribution to the history of the war,” Lincoln said of emancipation in February 1865, two months before his assassination. “It is, in fact, the central act of my administration, and the great event of the 19th century.”
Likewise, Paul’s proclamation that the Gentiles were entitled to full rights in the Hebrew nation inflamed the existing conflict with the Messianic Jews. And understandably so. They stood to lose significant political and economic power if they acknowledged that their political entity was subordinate to a higher authority.
Note carefully that Abraham Lincoln recognized that he needed a higher authority than just his position as elected president and the current government officials to truly empower the freeing of slaves. He did this by appealing to the Constitution, the supreme law of the nation, and to Almighty God as supreme law giver.
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free;…And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution…I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
Likewise, Paul’s proclamation of equality among ALL believers in Jesus Christ as the promised Seed of the Woman, regardless of national origin, was not established via fiat through a “revelation” creating a “new Christian” church superseding the now extinct Jewish religion. It was based on the existing constitution of the Hebrew nation.
Whoa! Hands waving frantically by those in the know. Paul himself said he received revelation about the church from Jesus. Good point. Let’s look at that passage.
“Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
- How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery
- compare the revelation of Jesus Christ to John. No revelation at the end of any mystery story announces a new thing. Unveiling a new product or service is advertising. Revelation of a mystery clarifies the details about something that was already known in generalities.
- Whereby, when ye read [read what, if not scripture?] ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ
- Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit
- That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel
- Whereof I was made a minister…to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery
- which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ
- To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God – he always outwits the Adversary!
- According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord…Of whom the whole family / tribe / nation in heaven and earth is named
- Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3)
Now do you get it? What appeared to be a constantly losing battle with Satan from the beginning of time to possess men’s souls is revealed to be instead a win for God through his covert actions WORKING WITHIN SATAN’S STRATEGY! What a coup! This is the revelation Paul – and other apostles and prophets – were given, NOT the creation of a new Christian Church.
The apparent loss of the Adams to the serpent’s lie has already been discussed in the post The King Is Dead as instead a win for God when, faced with a choice, Adam developed the likeness of God by instead of taking the easily rationalized route of selfishly abandoning his helpmeet, he instead selflessly died for her sake.
Another example would be the spreading of Judaism throughout the Persian Empire made possible only when Haman’s plan to destroy all Jews gave Esther the opportunity to choose to selflessly present her body a living sacrifice rather than selfishly abandon her people. Read the book of Esther if you are not familiar with this magnificent military report. And for the purposes of this discussion, the spreading of faith in Jesus Christ world wide was expedited, not crushed as would be expected, by the terrifying Roman Empire’s militarily-backed world-wide dominance.
This is further proven hermeneutically. Note carefully, this word “constitution” encompasses the action of bringing into existence as well as the policies and practices on which all national actions are either legitimized or deemed acts of rebellion against the State. All these requirements are found in the biblical record of the constitution of the Hebrew nation led by Abraham, but not for a new nation led by Paul.
“…they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and…reasoned with them out of the [Old Testament only being available at that time] scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ / redeemer promised to the ancestor of all humanity must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus / YHVH’s Savior whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed…and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few… coming [to Berea] thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.“ (Acts 17)
It was Paul’s humility in lowering his identity from that of a privileged Israelite in a uniquely favored relationship with Almighty God to an universal average Joe that qualified him to be the rare apostle to the Gentiles. Why do you think there were there so many apostles to the Jews and so few to the Gentiles? Because even the Messianic Jews couldn’t bring themselves to give up their Favored Nation Status!
It is easy to see how Paul’s egalitarian association with the Gentiles would have appalled even the Messianic Jews as much as interracial couples in the Deep South, regardless of the Emancipation proclamation. I’ve rearranged the order of the phrases to demonstrate the parallels.
From Moses gloriously on Mount Sinai:
- “Ye are the children of the LORD your God
- thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God
- the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2)
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God [vs election by the majority 11 disciples], to the [Jewish and Gentile] saints which are at Ephesus…the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
- adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…
- be holy and without blame before him in love:
- chosen us before the foundation of the world, i.e. Long before, ergo trumping, the establishment of the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai!]” (Ephesians 1:1-5)
I know this sounds like heresy, but once we place the Hebrew nation in the context of its birth, it is easy to recognize that it is the ingathering back into one godly nation out of all the nations into which pre-flood humanity was shattered at Nimrod’s post-flood Tower of Babel.
Christ’s Hebrew United Nations is the rival to Antichrist’s United Nations
The fundamental similarity is easily recognized by their charters, which is “To maintain international peace and security…solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all.”
The fundamental difference is easily recognized by the means by which they go about to achieve peace.
- Antichrists’ United Nations [dys]functions by politically shifting alliances of a constantly changing membership with competing agendas and arbitrarily assigned identifications making biased rulings / laws.
“Since the end of WWII, the U.S. has been the central player in the international system, leading in the creation of new international organizations like the United Nations, NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
American diplomacy has been essential to multinational agreements on trade, climate, regional security and arms control. Americans could and did claim to be at the center of a “rules-based international order.”
Those days are gone.
Not only do China and Russia contest America’s global role, a growing number of other countries are asserting an independent and increasingly influential role in regional economic and security developments…
The power shifts are increasingly visible.
Iran is and will remain an increasingly assertive and influential power in the region..
The Russians are in the Middle East region for good, building on their long-standing relationship with the family of Syria’s dictator.
Turkey, a rising regional power, acts increasingly independent of the preferences of the U.S., its NATO ally, playing its own hand in the regional power game.
The U.S. helped unleash these trends with the strategically fatal invasion of Iraq in 2003 – fatal, because it permanently removed a regional leader who balanced the power of Iran…
China now plays almost as powerful a role in the global economy as the U.S…China is spreading its political and economic influence into Africa and Latin America. The U.S. cannot slow Chinese economic growth nor contain its power. China is changing the rules, whether the U.S. likes it or not.
The prospect of a unified Korea would bring into being another major regional power center in the Northern Pacific.
Russia is rebuilding its military…threatening its near neighbors and actively engaging in the Middle East. Russia is consciously and actively rebalancing the power of the United States, with some success.
While the U.S. continues to have the world’s only global military capability, able to deploy anywhere, it is no longer evident that this capability effectively sustains U.S. leadership. Clear military victories are few..
- The UN increased from 51 primarily developed countries in 1945 to 195, most of them under- or un-developed, in 2011, including Palestine and the Vatican as member states although neither are countries. These have vastly different perspectives and competing goals.
In 2018, the U.N. General Assembly passed 21 resolutions condemning Israel, and a mere six for the rest of the world, according to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international body. Israel, a democracy, was condemned seven times more than the brutal North Korean dictatorship, which still runs gulags and was the subject of a mere 3 resolutions. Indeed, just on Nov. 15, 2018 the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel – all while ignoring human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey and Pakistan, for example.
One of those resolutions evens condemned Israel for “repressive measures” against the Syrian people, although the U.N. itself has largely failed to condemn or punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for murdering his own people en masse…
the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) documented in a Nov. 9, 2018 Jerusalem Post Op-Ed, the U.N. has created an “institutional infrastructure” for the sole purpose of attacking the Jewish state.
Most infamously, on Nov. 10, 1975 the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism – the belief in Jewish self-determination – with racism…[while creating] the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which works feverishly to delegitimize Israel…
The U.N. has even created two different agencies for dealing with refugees…the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), is exclusively for Palestinians. All other refugee populations in the world fall under the jurisdiction of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which, despite dealing with six times as many refugees as UNRWA, has only a quarter of the staff.
UNRWA…has a separate definition of “refugee” just for Palestinians (which includes people who are generations removed from the conflict and people who are citizens of other nations)…
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has sought to strip Jewish holy sites in Israel of their Jewish identity by declaring them “occupied” and denying their history…
Hezbollah…was recently caught digging attack tunnels into Israel. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)… turned a “blind eye” and become an “accessory to Hezbollah’s ambitions,”…
Similarly, in 1967, Egypt’s then-ruler, Gamal Abdel Nassar, requested that the U.N. remove a peacekeeping force on the Israel-Egypt armistice line. Nasser was obviously planning to attack the Jewish state. Yet the U.N. complied, helping to precipitate the war that followed.
- Christ’s many nations are truly united in one nation / family under God
- For the law…can never…make the comers thereunto perfect.
- Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith…Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
- this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
- after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
- let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
And this lines up exactly with Paul’ revelation of the mystery of the Hebrew, but what is called the Christian, nation.
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ:“ (Ephesians 1:9-10)
“God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)…And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh...ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise [starting with redemption from the bondage and death from sin through the Seed of the Woman, and pledge to Noah, and promises to Abraham] having no hope, and without God in the world; But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; that he might reconcile both unto God in one body…And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; In whom all…together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.“ (Ephesians 2)
The letter to the Ephesians addresses current events and stressors facing the new Gentile believers in the first century AD, hence the focus on the Commonwealth of Israel. By that time the nation of Israel was in fact the last bastion of YHVH’s salvation.
“Simeon / Peter hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things…For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:14-21)
It’s understandable that, however the Hebrew nation was defined in Abraham’s day, the Jews in Paul’s day defined themselves as the sole heirs to God’s covenant with Abraham. This is a misperception, however, which only Bible scholars at that time recognized .
“Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!…Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.
Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?…
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed…when he seeth his / Abraham’s children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him / Jacob they [Abraham’s children] shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.“ (Isaiah 29)
“Zacharias [the priest, father of John the Baptist] was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying…As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began…to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we…might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins…To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1)
Zacharias is, of course, referencing the Old Testament. Don’t overlook his reference to Gentile children of Abraham.
“in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:1-2)
And sure enough, John the Baptist gets it.
”…John the son of Zacharias…came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying…ALL FLESH shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Luke 2)
The stones that John points to were likely the building blocks transforming rural Galilee and the Deca-polis / Greek for Ten Cities around the Jordan River into a major urban international crossroads.
When Herod Antipas took over Galilee in Jesus’ time, it was a rural region on Judea’s margins…
Herod Antipas transformed sleepy Galilee by building bustling urban centers of government, commerce, and recreation. The crown jewels of his building program were Tiberias and Sepphoris…
the socioeconomic impact of Antipas’ two cities of Galilee in Jesus’ time was enormous…archaeological evidence has indicated that within one generation – the very time of Jesus – some 8,000 to 12,000 people moved into Sepphoris and Tiberias…
Discoveries such as these give proof of the socioeconomic changes and uncertainties faced by most Galileans in Jesus’ time.
The socioeconomic changes and uncertainties faced in 100 AD provided golden opportunities for YHVH’s witnesses to proclaim the advantages of transferring citizenship from the earthly empire to God’s kingdom.
Don’t the same circumstances apply in 2100 AD?