107) The First Fathers

The 2020 COVID pandemic has made us aware of the world-wide interconnectedness of humanity.

In the past, geographical barriers prevented such interactions. Then enforced inbreeding among isolated people groups rapidly stabilized the genetic makeup of the groups, identifiable as paternal Y-chromosome and maternal mitochondrial haploid groups.

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“Now these are the gene(s)-rations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.” (Genesis 10

The biblical account of the Semitic peoples is eerily consistent with today’s news, providing validation of these ancient documents.

“Shem, the third of Noah, had five sons, who inhabited the land that began at Euphrates, and reached to the Indian Ocean [through the Persian gulf].

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  1. For Elam left behind him the Elamites, the ancestors of the Persians [Iranians].
  2. Ashur lived at the city Nineve; and named his subjects Assyrians [northern Iraqis] who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others [from a materialistic perspective.]
  3. Arphaxad named the Arphaxadites, who are now called Chaldeans [considered to be the “live continuation of all the indigenous people of Mesopotamia.” Saddam Hussein personifies the dream of reuniting all the indigenous people of Mesopotamia at Babel/Babylon. “To the horror of historic preservationists, he had the ancient walls of the former capital, Babylon, completely reconstructed using tens of thousands of newly fired bricks. An archaeologist had shown him bricks stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II in 605 B.C. After the reconstruction, the small Arabic script on thousands of bricks read in part, “In the reign of the victorious Saddam Hussein, the president of the Republic, may God keep him, the guardian of the great Iraq and the renovator of its renaissance and the builder of its great civilization, the rebuilding of the great city of Babylon was done.”]
  4. Laud [aka Lud] founded the Laudites, which are now called Lydians [in modern eastern Turkey, after whom was named a prominent promoter of the apostle Paul’s missionary endeavors.]
  5. Aram had the Aramites, which the Greeks called Syrians;
    1. Of the four sons of Aram, Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus: this [Eliezar’s and Job’scountry lies between Palestine and Cele-Syria / Greater-Syria. [Geographically this is the territory now called Lebanon, whose borders have shifted over the years. In other words, Uz inherited a piece of his father’s land, called Syria now but at that time Padan-Aram which, as we see from the geography of Aram’s other sons, extended beyond modern Syria. And with Uz we find another link to the apostle Paul in the city in which he was converted.]
    2. Ul founded Armenia; [back to Mount Ararat, where it is possible that Noah put down roots. Armenia was the first Christian state, declared 12 years before Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.]
    3. Gather the Bactrians; [Uzbekistan, heading east, a wealthy and powerful territory in ancient times, from where, sometime after 1500 BC, one of the world’s most ancient prophets, Zoroaster / Zarathustra, traveled through Mesopotamia opposing polytheism as worship of Daevas / evil spirits. He preached that there is only one God, the creator,  Ahura Mazda  / Lord Wisdom of  Asha / Truth, opposed by Angra Mainyu / Ahriman of Druj / Lie. He stressed the importance of free will and urged the people to follow the path of righteousness and truth.]
    4. Mesa the Mesaneans; it is now called Charax Spasini. [back to southern Iraq].

Arphaxad’s son Salah is also listed in the “fathers of nations” in Genesis 10 so although we don’t find him listed in the local directory he must have a people group descended from him. Since what we know about the nations comes from sources like Josephus, whose knowledge was limited to the Middle East and perimeter, there is a huge gap in identifying the ancestry of peoples in the Far East and the Americas.  From a biblical perspective those ancient nations can with certainty be traced back to Genesis 10, even if the exact match is uncertain.

I would start by identifying Salah with the Indus Valley civilization, which is just a short boat ride from the mouth of the Euphrates River and corresponds to Josephus’ report that Shem’s descendants migrated east to the Indian Sea. Corresponding roughly to  Salah’s lifetime (archeology is not by any means an exact science), this thriving culture, along with Mesopotamia and Egypt, was one of the three cradles of civilization.

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Providing some support for this theory is the alternate name of “Sarasvati Civilization” with its linguistic connection to Salah, especially since Asians are known to mix the “L” and “R” sounds. Another clue is that the language of this culture has been tentatively identified as Semitic. Archaeological excavations indicate that the region was depopulated about 1900 BC and replaced with Aryan, i.e. Japhethite, peoples, who established the eastern leg of the Indo-European straddle.  The standard pattern of dispersion of the original peoples is away from civilization, i.e. further east. Moving on through time as well as space we find that 1766 BC is the traditional date for the founding of the first historic dynasty in China.

Pottery is the classic means by which archeologists identify different civilizations. Which pottery is from the Harappan Indus Valley Civilization and which is Pre-Columbian American?

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There are many other cultural similarities between the the Hindu and Mayan civilizations as well. 

We can know for certain Salah’s primary son and their descendants, because they are named and stayed close to home.

“And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided;” (Genesis 10:24-25)

Peleg was still a young man, about 125-150 years old, when the tower of Babel incident occurred about 2200 B.C. 

There are different interpretations of what was actually divided. If we take a straightforward translation from the Hebrew we accept that the physical earth is what is reported here. The breakup of one large landmass at this time would certainly expedite the breakup of one empire into independent nations.

While some analysts assume that the geological upheaval would be so destructive that humanity couldn’t survive, interpreting the report of this earth division as being caused by the usual aftershocks of the initial massive tectonic upheavals during the flood, as described in that post, is simply to be expected. Geological science confirms this interpretation.  

Shem’s, Ham’s and Japheth’s people groups are described in following posts. These three ancestries constitute what came to be known as the Yellow, Black and White races.

But these genetic divisions are not the nations.

“These are the families of the sons of Noah,

  1. after their generations,
  2. in their nations:”  (Genesis 10:32)

A nation is a political grouping of people, often composed of people with common ancestry, but not necessarily. One’s genetics – their family – is imposed, for better or for worse, and can’t be changed.

But’s ones associates – social, political and religious identity – are valued assets to be gained to improve one’s lot in life.

Citizenship not something to be taken for granted. It is a privilege bestowed on those on those deemed worthy of the benefits of belonging to that nation. The means by which individuals came out from one nation to become citizens of another was the same as it is today. 

Adoption swept away the existing state of being an inferior person or even non-person slave or captive, 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 at the time the New Testament letters were written understood exactly the concepts Paul explained happened to those who put their faith in the Promised Savior Son of YHVH / Singularity / Creator through the records preserved by Judaism.

“God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law [of death to humans], 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)

Modern Western nations are outgrowths of the Greco-Roman system where law, which has been defined as the “Art of Social Control”, reigns supreme and supercedes both religion and family.

“The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging…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.” (Acts 22:24-29)

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...

The concept of a republic became a powerful force in…the American Revolution. In Europe, it gained enormous influence through the French Revolution and through the First French Republicof 1792-1804.

Nationalism is a modern movementit was not until the end of the 18th century that nationalism began to be…one of the great, if not the greatest, single determining factors of modern history…the American and French revolutions may be regarded as its first powerful manifestations. After penetrating the new countries of Latin America, it spread in the early 19th century to central…eastern and southeastern Europe…Thus, the 19th century has been called the age of nationalism in Europe, while the 20th century witnessed the rise and struggle of powerful national movements throughout Asia and Africa.

This may account for the casual attitude towards God that American Christians have due to failing to understand the extreme depths and heights of his relationship as our Father, the requirements for adoption into his nation. and our responsibilities as citizen-warriors.

However, the original Gentile readers of Paul’s letters comprising our New Testament understood exactly what it meant to identify with his God. Even after the original autocratic rule of the 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 gents 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 Trojan War (traditionally ended 1184 BC) [during the time of the book of Judges]The nomen gentilicium, or “gentile name”, was its distinguishing feature, for a Roman citizen’s nomen indicated his membership in a gens...

Persons could be adopted into a gens and acquire its nomen. A…naturalized citizen usually took the name of the patron who granted his citizenship.

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 associates with specific gentes.

The gentile assemblies had the responsibility of adoption and guardianship for their members.

Scrrrreeeech! Slam on the brakes! Did you just catch that? “Gentile assemblies!” 

 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” (Hebrews 12:23)

Gentile originally meant a descendant of Japheth, but by the time of the Roman Empire “Gentile” meant any person from any nationality / race who had become a citizen in the Roman Empire.

The significance of that is just loaded.

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