Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Two, Part One

Now, down to the meat of the matters.  The opening framework here will be to show the symbology of the pattern which I have assigned to Abraham.  In the beginning, he was Abram, of Mesopotamia.  Thus, from his start, he was a man of two rivers.  The Tigris and Euphrates were the most important features of his homeland.  They made possible the rise of the Sumerians, the forebears of Assyria, Akkad, and Babylon.  They gave fertile soil to a hostile region, and commercial waterways that are still used today.

Time has not erased the power of these rivers.  You can still see the various barges, large and small, sailing along them, as in times past.  The Kalak, a raft made of strong reed and goat skins, can still be seen, although the British rail system greatly reduced water traffic in the region.  Barges, flat bottom boats, were commonplace until the river was dammed in the 20th century.  Barges were usually large vessels, designed to move cargo on the Euphrates slow speed, while the Tigris required curved hulls to navigate safely.

From a land of two rivers came Abram, to a Promised Land, which was marked off by-two rivers.  Genesis 15:18 describes it:

“To your t]descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates

Thus, he kept the river of his origin, and added another.  This is consistent with the character of El: he gives generously, multiplying liberally, desiring always to bless.  Thus, we can see a window here, of an adding on.  Something here must be addressed, to clarify any ambiguity.

While the Tigris is a branch of the Euphrates, with different vessels, on a different route, it is still a river.  That means that, morphologically, it must share more attributes than it differentiates. This is to assert, bluntly, that the two rivers do not represent two gods or two religions.  The Tigris is a product of the Euphrates; as such, it is a descendant, with the same character.  What differs are not the rivers so much as the vessels upon them, and the routes those take to reach the unification in the end.

Thus, the Tigris route does not vary ethically from the Euphrates.  Yahweh does not change what is right and wrong.  The sailing conditions, however, are bifurcated for a while.  This corresponds well to the fact that Grace is only a limited time offer.  The time will come when the great hall is closed, and no more guests or virgins will get in.  Fortunately. this only occurs when mankind has gone reprobate, and the times of the Gentiles are complete.

So, let us look at the covenant given to Abram.  First, it changes his name.  This is important in the Bible.  This change, to Abraham, magnifies his character, from strong one, to very strong one.  This also indicates an increase in his possessions, and his progeny. He will increase in blessings, and he will have more of what he had before.  Thus, we see multiplication already begin in the name being elevated.

So, already, he is not the man he was before.  He has two names, and expanded blessings-the foremost of which is that he will have a son.  Now, in Gen 15, it is written: “Abram believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’  Here is a conundrum.  What exactly did Abram do?  Yah told him He would do these things.  Is that, then, belief?  The definition of faith ,from Hebrews, “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Here I must inquire: where is the faith in this?  El appears to Abram, and tells him He will perform some verbs.  Anyone in the universe can believe that.  Yet, the Scripture affirms that Abram believed.  How is this anywhere as strong a faith as the offering of Isaac?  They aren’t even close.  That is why I thought of Gen 15/17 as one covenant, the circumcision/flesh covenant, and Gen 22 as the covenant of the Gospel.

The problem here was a false choice dilemma.  It isn’t an either or affair.  In 15, the faith is trust and obedience, which is also required in the Gospel.  The Torah requires the evidence of things not seen.  If it were not so, would Israel have turned away, time and time again?  Even with the Law given, as by Elohim, they still ran after false gods and fallen men.

So, why then the two rivers? It seems that each has common elements.  Is this division illusory?  Let us examine the vehicles of faith that the covenant of Abraham produced: the Law and the Gospel.  Here we will see the difference.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter One, Part One

Abram, as all of us, had a story from which he arose.  Unlike most of us, his came from a band of survivors from a world destroyed for iniquity, sailing on a barge to a new beginning.  His ancestor, Noah, was also a man of faith, also approved of by El.  Like Abram, Noah would be given a covenant by Yahweh, that would apply to his sons, for as long  as this world persists.  I must pause here, to explain something you will almost certainly reject, and that is the account of Noah.

I won’t bury you under volumes of work here; that would be a diversion.  Very simply stated, the events listed in Genesis concerning Noah did not occur on this planet.  You will likely recoil from this idea, but we are, by the Word of Yahweh, under commandment to be honest.  The ninth commandment compels right witness; Jesus does as well (let your yes be yes).  So, on either river you take, your steward demands you accept the truth.

Here are truths observable to mankind today.

1)  the human race did not emerge from 8 people

2) the human race did not reset 5000 years ago

3) life has not been wiped clean here (almost, but not 100%)

4) structures and artifacts exist that predate the Ussher numbers

5)  The Flood did not cover our mountains.  Everest stands at almost 30000 ft.  If the waters covered it, that adds 908 atmospheres of pressure.  This results in the loss of all topsoil, converting the planet to a ball of mud, killing most plant life as well.

There is much more, but that is another story.  I mention it only to prevent confusion if I use phrases like ‘Noah’s world’, etc.  If you disagree, so be it; it isn’t necessary for you agree with me to see what I am presenting about Abraham.  Noah was the last righteous man of his world; he was also the forbear of the Messiah.  His trip is symbolic of the journey of faith in all cases.

Noah left all he knew behind, to venture forward to a new life.  He sailed onward, keeping his eyes on the horizon, searching for that land promised to him.  When he arrived here, he founded three lines of people, one of whom would be the Hebrew race, from which would arise Abram (I know, Hebrew comes from Eber, but that is how we refer to the genetic group commonly called Jews).  He was also given a covenant, a sacred calling, and a promise of hope.

Noah’s covenant was for he, and his descendants, with a promise to all life not to drown it again.  He went out in faith, a man of righteousness, a man approved, and made the line that would give us Abram.  In that sense, Noah is the father of all who sail the river of faith, which ever branch they traverse.  Abram followed this pattern.  Going out from Ur, he made for a land promised to him, a place where he would have descendants from his body-and some who were not.

Noah serves as the symbol of God seeing us through the storm-contrary to the Ninja rapture advanced by Darbyites.  Noah obeyed and believed, as his descendant would do.  But he never made a sacrifice like his only son; and that is why he only sailed on one water.  His progeny, Abram, would supercede him.  Abram would also at in absolute, Kirkegaardian trust that his friend, El Shaddai, would not turn against him.  And thus, from the mountain of hope beyond reason, a new river was made.  Carved from Abraham, it would bend away from the Great River, for a little while.  Thus Abraham would become the father of two rivers: one from his body, a covenant of a land, a people, a tribe, and one from his faith, which would usher in everyone else.

Abraham, the river of faith: Seeing the Euphrates and Tigris as the Torah and the Gospel

Prologue: how it came to be

Greetings to all.  This blog series will explore an epiphany I received last Friday, during our Holy Convocation on Skype.  I want to thank all our members, who make the gathering a true joy for me.  I give special thank here for our brother Jason; it was his presentation on the covenant of Abraham that laid the groundwork for the awakening; it was also he that spoke the words that caused me to here the striking of the Truth.  This is not to elevate one man over another: it is simply right to acknowledge from whence the radix of the understanding emerged.

One of the most vexing elements of my faith walk has been the apparent dichotomy between the Sinai covenant of old, and the Gospel, the new covenant of Calvary.  I find myself a product of the latter, who seeks instruction from the tutor, which is the former.  Yet, the hobgoblin remains: why does there seem to be such a gulf between them?  This struggle-Law vs Grace-has driven much of Western literature.  The legendary Hugo explored this theme masterfully in his brilliant epic, Les Miserables.

In our Sabbath gatherings, we have had many discussions on this divide.  I am not in the full Torah Observance movement; I look to it as a guide, a teacher.  Paul refers to this covenant as that of Hagar, and the Gospel as Sarah.  But many believe that it one covenant, building piece by piece over time.  We have had vigorous struggles on this theme, which led to the last meeting.  I was having a hard time dealing with the Abramic covenants; Genesis 15 is the covenant of flesh, and Genesis 22 the covenant of faith.  I saw these as the roots of the Torah and Gospel, two separate events.

Jason presented a paper to address this conflict.  He asserted that it was one covenant, whilst I held to 15/17 and 22 being the divide Paul discusses in Galatians.  I could not believe that Abraham was not multiplied more in 22 than in 15.  Jason asserted that the number in 15 and 22 were the same seed promised, that the sum was given in 15 and 22.  In the midst of the debate, Jason made the prophetic (the minor usage, a right witness) statement that made it all clear.  He said ” They may look different, but they all meet in the end”.  And so it was. In that moment, the sacred chord was struck, and I heard it.  We were both right.

Jason was moreso than I; he correctly assessed that 15/17 and 22 were not different covenants at all. I held that Romans 4 clearly came from Gen 22; but then, it also hearkened to Gen 15.  Yet Paul refers to Sinai and the Gospel as distinct from each other.  It was maddening.  Why is it that this happens so often in the Bible?  Why is there conflict in  a divine revelation?  The answer is, there isn’t.

Jason said it perfectly: the seed in 15 and 22 are one number, because they all meet in the end.  When those words fell, I was immediately taken to Revelation 12:17: whose children keep the commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Here, all of Abraham’s children, through Torah and Gospel, meet in the end.  Just as the Tigris and Euphrates do, at the Persian gulf, before heading into the sea.

The Euphrates is the Great River.  It is the mightiest of the ancient world, and served as the basis of the Mesopotamian civilization.  But Mesopotamia was a named given the fertile land by the Greeks; it means ‘the land between two rivers’.  That second river is the Tigris; but is it really a second at all? Geograpically, it does not directly stem from the Euphrates; but the water table on which it rests, including Lake Hazar ( its’ source) is saturated by the Euphrates.  But for a small turn of fate, a minor channel forming would have made it so.

I am treating the Tigris, therefore, as having the Great River as the tributary for the Tigris; this isn’t a lesson in geology or water tables.  It is meant to show a spiritual principle: of how one river, Abraham, carved out a fork that became a different stream  for a while, until rejoining the Great River once again.  Thus, in Abraham, we find both Torah and Gospel, which are not opposed, but are two different currents, rolling towards the place where they will reunite.

This groundwork having been laid, I will take us back to the first Great Barge that traveled waters of faith, that being Noah and the Ark.

 

 

Herb Montgomery, Malkav reborn

As my variegated existence has unfolded here, for more than half a century, I have on occasions sampled some of the cultural offerings available to me as a dividend of my American citizenship.  Many of these Hors de ouvre have been the plethora of films that have been proffered generously by Tinseltown and others; a good deal of apertifs have come from the music industry. The dish that provided some of my most intense pleasures, however, was the RPG, or Role Playing Game, the grand-daddy of which was D&D. A good amount of my creative energy went into the boundless adventures it provided, which were limited only by the mind.

The success of Dungeons and Dragons opened a plethora  of avenues for new formats to emerge, ranging from space, old west, and superhero games.  All of them had a common characteristic: you would generate a character using the rules, and enter him into the imaginary world created by the Referee, who acted as the arbiter of decisions in the game.  Along with these games, I brushed up against a rather unique experiment: Vampire the Masquerade.  In this genre, you made an actual Vampire to play, complete with powers to use, and disadvantages to overcome.

 

This introduction, while arcane, is necessary to explain our good Mr Montgomery, for he strikes me as one of the main orders, or bloodlines, of Vampires, the Malkavians, who bear the name of their sire, Malkav.  This breed has a power available only to them: dementation.  This investment allows them to use madness itself, to see what no one else can.  And that is what I experience frequently when listening to Herb.

I am sure he means no harm; he seems like a good soul.  But his theories possess a quality of frenetic circumambulation that I have only seen Peter Parker perform while exerting his famed acrobatics.  Herb pulls verse after verse from the Scriptures, darting like a mamba from point to point, charged with obsessive dynamics that were once labeled ‘religious ecstasy’.  All the while, he is drawing you in, mesmerized by the sheer magnitude both of his passion, and his detachment from reality.

At times, he goes into raw madness, uttering the patently absurd, that cannot survive a cursory examination of the whole Bible.  Many are the times I have been struck by the Dementation of Malkav, unable to comprehend how he could transcend mere factuality with so little effort.  Then, just as I am scoffing (scoff, I tell you! harumph!), he detonates in a quasar of sheer brilliance, effulgent in its’ superlativity to mere intellect.  Bathed in the scintillation of the infant star, I stand diffused from comprehension, as I rasp from my throat “Hey-that was actually right”.

This does not occur on regular points: it emerges on complex, machinated hypotheses and theories, that require massive cogitation to master.  Ideas born of years of study, deliberation, and scrutiny by the Scientific and Socratic methods suddenly strike forth, from a mouth that had only a moment before committed sophomoric inaccuracy.  Thus, my quandary: how can this be?  How can they proceed from the same mind?  The answer, I have concluded, lies with Malkav.

Herb has reached genius conclusions at times: he is absolutely correct in decrying empire, in the age of Constantine dooming the Church, and in the rotten behavior of the Church making the Gospel anathema to mankind.  In fact, it is right to say that anyone touched by John Calvin actually helped Satan destroy the world.  His observations on the dark side of the American super system, based on the Swift system domination of Earth, are quite accurate.  His compulsion to follow Jesus, even against cultural norms, is Biblically accurate.  These are not trivial achievements: these conclusions are the product of massive sums of data being studied intently over long periods of time.

So, when he utters the incongruities so prevalent in his theory-such as Yahweh not being violent-I cannot explain the disparity in modality, except as a side effect of his  Malkavian dementation, which is both a power and a curse to his line.  In some cases, like this one, Herb is utterly wrong in reality, but his theory absolutely correct.  El would never be violent, in a world where humans never fell.  It is El’s desire to withhold judgment and destruction.  But humans have a nasty streak that, on occasions, require Yeshua to get ugly with them.  I am using the divine terms interchangeably, since we know Yahweh is One.

Mr Montgomery’s primary notion-that the Book of Revelation is a missive designed to convince Christians not to long for Nero, or the resurrection of his Rome, is just to baffling to contemplate.  Further, he suggests that many of the phrases refer to events already gone by.  This simply cannot make sense.  For Herb’s theory to be correct, the following must be so.

One, Jesus called John to write down a history lesson.  This is ruinous to consider.  Why would the Messiah appear, in glory, to tell John to write and exhaustive drama, when it would been simpler to reiterate the actual of recent history? Half the book disappears if John writes ‘Nero was a bad guy, but he’s gone.  Since we know the history of Rome, we know what happened.” Okay, but Herb says that the legend of Nero might be frightening people.  That might, actually, have been true.

Even so, John could excise the other half of the book by saying “If Nero returns, follow the Lamb. Nero is a man, so he cannot return from the dead.  So stay steadfast in what you have been taught.  The Kingdom of the Lamb will prevail.”  Other than the letters to the churches, his entire ‘revelation’ can be summed in a paragraph or two.  Also, no one in the upper class was impressed by Nero.  He was a drooling imbecile, noted for his corruption, ineptitude, and lack of redeeming character.  He might have impressed the plebians, but the power set regarded him as an embarrassment to Rome and Romanism alike.

Herb says that the ‘revelation’ is a passion play for the Christians, using the Scriptures to create a high drama of sorts.  That condemns Christianity to oblivion.  If the Revelation is not, if it is bunk, a sham, a conceit, then the men of Nicaea made an erroneous testament.  They warped the Word of God, and threw mankind into darkness.  Without an accurate product emerging from the councils, over seven decades of study and review yielded a lie.  We simply, at this point, cannot know God, if His Word is corrupt.

My heart goes out to Herb.  He is passionate, driven, obsessed with an ideal, and these help him to spin wildly through the Scriptures to create his grand illusion.  What he teaches people is ethical and upright, without regard to his accuracy or sanity.  Therefore, I am content to let great Malkav peer into the darkness, and in his madness, forge genius.  His labyrinthine convocations are as vivid as what he claims John’s ‘revelation’ was; they have dizzied and subjected to vertigo my mere Greek reasoning, many, many times.  But I have also learned much in his presentations, and therefore do not hold them valueless.  So, as Malkav peers into the beyond, I will listen still, for that moment of apotheosis that makes the madness worth enduring.

The Tall Man Cometh: The Phantasm of Herb Montgomery

During the last convocation, when we listened to Herb’s latest exposition, a lively round of discussions broke out on Revelation, which led to me employing my time honored idiom of making movie references to explain my points. In fact, one of the brethren remarked, jovially, “to understand Dave, you have to have seen every movie ever made”.  While technically untrue, since I would never willingly see a rom-com without sexual enticement, it is symbolic of my totem and tribe.  I do frequently use film to express a deeper, metaphorical idea, as I am about to now.  In this post, I will referencing a movie long buried in past, whose villain, The Tall Man, must arise from his slumber and serve as a simulacrum for our good Mr Montgomery.  The movie in question is Phantasm.

The eponymous character was not a person, in the traditional sense.  Rather, it was flying weapon, whose role, like Nemesis of old, was to hunt down and punish the wicked-or the teenaged.  Phantasm was semi-sentient, able to, upon being sent my the Tall Man, seek out a victim-and, upon finding one, exude a sharp metal blade from its’ frame.  The silvery sphere would then fly straightway into the victim’s forehead, causing the death of the mark.  What fortune, to be felled so quickly.

I, on the other hand, was pursued by far more agonizing a hunter than this. My Tall Man, Mr Montgomery, unleashed an argentine assassin all his own, a Phantasm to run me down without mercy.  It came when he tried to explain that El was not violent, but was only violent when humans made Him be.  Just like the film, I could not escape: the dreaded harbinger hunted me down, and slammed its’ wicked blade in my skull.

Or, at least, it felt that way.  I have no better way of describing my dumb-founded shock at hearing the lecturer say something so utterly ludicrous that I was stunned that no one called him on it.  Perhaps they, too, had a Phantasm all their own, burrowing vigorously into their now-disjointed mind.  Whatever the case, I was utterly unable to believe that he really meant it.  But the presenter of the material confirmed that this was a position that Montgomery held not only consistently, but with fervor. El was really a Lamb; only man made Him get destructive.

The Bible is a rampage of violence, some of which is very definitely sponsored by El.  6 chapters into the book, Yahweh drowns a planet.  The whole planet.  Wherever Noah was from, that world’s entire bio-matrix was abluted in sum toto.  Later, He would obliterate the 5 cities of the plains, including the headliners, Sodom and Gamorrah.  Then, when Israel is called into the desert, they make an idol, which gets 3000 of them killed by the sword.

Shortly, the ground opened up and swallowed 3000 more. 14000 are killed in a plague from Yah.  Finally, they are showed the Promised Land-which must be purified by genocide.  Now, people will respond ‘see, He was just passing right judgment’. Ok, but the animals of Noah’s world were judged for the sins of man.  The chabbabs, or bosom-nursers, of Amalek were ordered slain. When Sennacherib threatened Judah, his army was destroyed. not him. By the blast of the trumpet, 185,000 men died on the spot.

Which leads then to the howler of the night: Jesus didn’t actually threaten anyone in the Temple.  Rather, He chased the animals out, in a display of non-violent resistance (Herb’s penchant for revisionism is flush and vivid indeed).  Here, the lightning orb slams full into my skull, and from it shall not depart.  I have been Phantasmed, with no escape possible.  His attempts to turn an I shudder absolute monarch into a hippie revolutionary are febrile, but useless. Equally so is this Ghandi Jesus.

I have to have some pity for the Tall Man, even though his assertions lodge metal fury into my brain-for he, too, is a victim.  He was Phantasmed, the same as I: only in his case, the object smacking him in the cranium was reality.  Living in absolute denial of the collision between his assertions and the Bible, he refuses to give up.  I guess I have to respect that.  But Herb;s talents are being wasted in this enterprise.  His creative genius would be well-rewarded in Hollywood, where they are down to making movies about board games.

I certainly don’t want to hurt Mr Montgomery as a person.  But I also don’t want to have to run screaming down the hall, when I hear the signature whine of the Phantasm.  I shudder to think of what might lie ahead: for in the sequel, the Tall  Man captures the teen heroes, even when they thought it was all over. It remains to be see if he will part the curtain, at the end, and declare “No: it’s not!”