Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, Finale

     For all the damage the kalak has suffered, it is still making its’ way down the Tigris, for that meeting with the Barge.  In the West, few are seen on the river; most have been abandoned on the shores, tipped over, half sunk in the mud.  But in China, Somalia, and other places, people are risking death to get in one.  There are still places where the little boat still travels, on its’ mission to make disciples of all men.

     Even in the West, there are still some churches that preach the right, accurate Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They have not bent their knee to Babylon or Mammon- for El always keeps a remnant.  These are mostly in America, but in the Phillipines, Ethiopia, and Armenia (the latter two of which established the world’s first state churches), they still continue on.  France and Ireland still boast healthy Catholic congregations as well.  So it cannot be said that the kalak failed; rather, it did not fill the pews as it should have.  It was meant to do that, but humans, with their pesky choice mechanism, often throw a shoe in the gears.

     Ultimately, our ability to choose can be a blessing as well.  It can be directed at finding and receiving the salvation of Jesus Christ.  And there is the hope, that will not pass away: that despite the cruelty and iniquity of our rotten, rancid, broken world, there is still a kalak for us.  The rulers of this present darkness, with all the terrible power at their command, cannot stop you from getting into the boat.

     They may harm you, or kill you, but they cannot stop you.  You can take to the Tigris, and make your way downstream, if you want to take the journey.  Whatever consequence awaits your adventure, you will arrive in the Kingdom of God, if that is your desire.  Despite all that has occurred before, the kalak will take you to the sea; for as Paul writes:

” I am not ashamed of the Gospel {of Jesus Christ}, because it is the power of salvation to those who believe, first to the Jew, and then, to the Greek.”

    This verse well fits my closing entry, since it encapsulates my main theory nicely.  The Gospel was preached first to the Jew-who was instructed in righteousness at Sinai-and then, those apostles went to the Greek, the Gentiles, and carried the Word to them.  So, from the Great Barge came emissaries, who then launched the kalak for mankind, to fill the hall of the Master, for the great day of His wedding.  For it is His desire that all should come, to be clothed in white for His day of joy and triumph.

     Imagine then, the sea where the two rivers meet, when the sons and daughters of Abraham come cascading down the streams. Wave after wave of the kalaks appear, their crews singing loudly, rapt in fulfillment, as they greet one another on the sea.  There, they surge and build to a swarm, shouting ‘Hosannah!’, pouring like a waterfall to the ocean.  As they laugh and hug and play, a roar goes up from the throng, and the ships part down the middle, as the Great Barge makes its way among them, the flagship of the faith, joining the armada at last.

    Whose joy will then be greater, when at last the navy conjoins?  Will it be the kalaks, at the sight of great ship, of whom they had heard so much, but never seen?  Or the mighty Barge, when it sees all the children the kalak in it diligence had brought home?  Who can tell.  When that day comes, it will no longer matter.  For there, the Messiah awaits us, ready to takes us home.

     What a sight it will be for Him, to see that grand fleet arrive.  With Great Barge amidst the many kalaks, it will be beautiful to His eyes, I am sure. For our sails will be full and robust, filled by our faith and hope, and our paddles driven by the Love Eternal that finally, finally has come to restore our weary souls.  On that day, no arm will tire, nor any voice grow faint, as we present our eager flotilla to our God and Father at last.

     Here ends, then, the story of the Two Rivers, born in the Bosom of gentile Abraham.  From his faithfulness, his righteousness, and his love came the covenant of Yahweh, first to the Jew, and then to the Greek.  For His firstborn, Yahweh made a might ship, that would endure till the end of the Euphrates; and from this, officers were dispatched to the Tigris, where a smaller craft was made to gather in the Gentile to Abraham’s house, that all men might be saved.  Be you of the barge or kalak, peace be unto you, until that glorious day shall come.  Selah, and Amen.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, Part Five

“A tree is known by its’ fruits” Jesus says. A good tree does not make bad fruit, or vice versa. This metric, while not true in a biological sense, is meant rather to impel a deeper meaning. After all, apples are not good or evil. This refers, rather, to the parentage of righteousness and depravity. We hear of the ‘bad apple’ in the bunch, but whence did it come? In the West, it almost certainly came from Jean Calvin.

Examine the recorded history etched into history. He was in most ways an ordinary human. He was blessed, however, to have lived in the most explosive times since the Fall of the old order. After a thousand years of mayhem, the Papacy was being challenged, by a monk-and some shrewd politicians. In the vortex that followed, Calvin had the opportunity to transform from mundane into the cosmic; like so many other cult leaders-Joseph Smith, Mohammad-he took the reigns of destiny, to become more than a man.

In the Swiss cantons, the ideas unleashed by Luther were being discussed openly. and act of bravery in light of France’s brutal murder of those possessing a Protestant bible. Zwingli was being debated with Luther, and Calvin wanted the spotlight those men had acquired. Armed with some legal training, a keen mind, and relentless will to prevail, he worked his way to the top, achieving patriarchy over Geneva, where he wrote his famous Institutes. How great the irony-the hater of Popes, now was one.

I wonder if he saw, for a moment, his face in the mirror, adorned in the miter-or how much like his enemy he was. His governorship of Geneva is well documented: he established the Law of Moses as the civil code (even though he was not in the priesthood of Aaron)-which ended in him being forcibly removed from office, after demanding someone’s daughter be stoned for impertinence. Many will contest this: Calvin has ardent followers still, centuries later. I do not have reason to believe he would attempt this, considering the Michael Servetus affair.

Servetus was an atheist, a critic of religion and the Papacy, and a recklessly brave man. A physician, he held religion to be tales of the powerful to control the uneducated. He had read, certainly, the works recovered during the Rebirth, amongst which would be the works of Seneca, whose tenets on religion are still adhered to today (it is regarded by the common as true, by the wise as false, and by the ruler as useful). He was, unsurprisingly, condemned to death-psychotic, intimidating death, at the stake-for his crimes of speaking against power. He had evaded capture, making for safe haven in Itaky, until he was caught in Geneva, where he would die the death.

Servetus had made the wrong man very angry. He had received Calvin’s institutes, and returned it, with pointed criticisms in the margins. Calvin opened correspondence with Servetus, which grew explosive, and Calvin grew to despise the man as much as the Papacy did. When Servetus came into his power, Calvin put him to the stake, atop of pile of Servetus’ books, and burned him alive. To saturate his thirst for revenge, he added a wreath of gunpowder, to extend the torment. The last words Servetus uttered were these:

“Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me”

The record shows that Servetus was killed for heresy-the act of executing heretics being repugnant to Reformers-but Calvin’s letter to Farel shows the real reason. Calvin’s ego had been bruised, and he would see vengeance for the slight, no matter the cost. Here, Calvin showed from which tree he fell.

If you want to experience true madness, watch a Calvinist defend Calvin. Cognitive dissonance doesn’t begin to cover it. The evidence is replete; but they will use arguments like ‘it was common then’ or ‘everyone has bad days’. Even more insane are the true cultists-the ones who never admit that Great Leader has a fault. Great Leader is perfect. Great Leader was blessed by God. These Calvinists remind me of the North Koreans who cannot admit that Un defecates, as feces would make him defiled, a mere man.

I have to be careful-reason and wit got Servetus killed. The savage irony of Calvin is that he had an opportunity to read most of the Bible-and yet, still found a way to justify what can not-can not- be found as permissible in the Scripture. There is no power granted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to commit mayhem or murder. The ills associated with Bible-Crusades, slavery, etc-are not sustainable in cohesion with commandments of the Messiah. Period. Yet, people find a way.

Even today, Calvin is defended, upheld, cherished. If you are in a church in America. you have likely felt his spectre brush past you. His works still haunt us, and, indeed, the world itself. From his tiny city in the Alps, Calvin warped a planet with darkness. It was he who mastered what he Popes, greedy for wealth and power, could only dream of attaining. It was the son of the Papacy, the Protestant Pope, who forged, as Sauron, the Ring of Avarice. It was he who would unleashed the Gospel of Mammon.

Calvin instituted several edicts that would bring this about. The greatest of these was the dispelling of the prohibition against usury, he lending at interest, which Yahweh forbade. If El forbids something, He probably has a reason why. There is a reason that the one demon Jesus abjures by name is Mammon, which is, Avarice. The demonic host of the power of wealth, Mammon bends all to his will. Some murder; some rape; some steal: but all want. All desire; and that desire is directed towards the great lie of the Garden: you can be your own God. This is the promise that Mammon holds out, rapt in the splendid light of gold, and all of humanity has been its’ victims-either as the commodified, or the commodifiers. Mammon makes it all happen; Mammon has the key to the door of your dreams. All Mammon needs is interest.

It would take books of sobering, boring data to bear this out. I will give you a bullet point summary, and let you decide if you believe me. Interest pays the investor on the principle. I put in a thousand, and I get a few bucks on top of it back. Cool, right? Well, no. The interest you received came from somewhere-and that is from someone else going into debt peonage. Debt peonage is the assumption of a human as property. It is never stated this way: that would frighten people. But that is the end goal of debt. You loan, you require an interest payment, which upon default of the loan, remands the money or property back to the lender. And if there is a shortfall in the restitution-well, somehow, the balance must be paid.

Not long ago, America had Debtors prisons for those unable to pay debts. There, you would work off the shortage-in the custody of the state. These are starting to make reappearances today. Along with this is the prison slave labor system, that MIC companies employ to cheaply manufacture circuit boards that are featured in the missiles that blow up children in Warzistan. And, if you want some flush quarters, you can hide toxic assets in a CDO, while still merrily handing out the toxic loans-which, of course, were never going to be repaid.

What is the root of all evil, that makes the bad tree? It is not money, but the love of it. Money is fine. Basic capitalism-working hard for your wages, in the rote of John Locke-is not evil. The Bible commends honest work and honest gain. But there is no wealth in Law of El. You cannot squeeze your brother for the vig. No, to make wealth, your money must make money. That is the difference between rich and wealthy. Rich people make tons of money-but still have to work to pile it up. The goal of the rich is to get wealthy enough to retire-so their money finally becomes self-sustaining.

The goal, ultimately, is to defeat the curse of Adam: “By the seat of your brow, shall you make your bread”. To defeat this, mankind made civilizations, and later, empires. Civilization were made, generally, by commodifying people. Slavery began as a way to feed the needs of the citizens, to liberate to urbanites from the drudgery of work-by enforcing it on some one else. These liberated folk accumulated wealth, and became the priest and philosopher classes. One such man of that class was Cliesthenes, who looked out over his family’s helots-slaves- and wondered if every person had inherent worth, which was the foundation for what we now call Democracy.

Interesting, how it took a civilization to make the wealth to allow Cliesthenes to ponder the wretchedness of the Helots. Here, he punctures the mundane, to understand an idea-that people should not be commodified, that they were something more, affirming the very Law of El that he had never seen. What is striking is that this thought-this simple idea-became a major force in shaping Western civilization. Why, why is it so amazing, that a person should grasp this concept? Does it not speak volumes that we remember this man. mostly, because he stopped for one moment to consider the truth?

That is the power of Mammon. How many countless millions died agonized in horror, as they were converted into profit for the sake of the acquisition of wealth? How many are buried in the Great Wall of China. or the Pyramids? How many baskets of severed hands did Leopold require of the Congo? How many plains tribes watched their families die of smallpox, from blankets donated by the people the Indians once saved from famine?

I am reminded of a moment from the movie 30 minutes or less where two insanely inept criminals hatch a titanic failure of a heist. They order a pizza, then strap a bomb to the delivery guy, and order him to rob a bank to get them some cash. Finally, the delivery guy asks Danny McBride’s character, why are you doing this? McBride answers, deadpan, almost dolefully :”for the sh*tiest of all reasons: for the money”. What makes this memorable to me is the performance by McBride. The character, who is a lowlife-not Hitler or Stalin, just a low end kind of human-attains a Platonic degree of perspicacity. In that moment, McBride portrays a man who knows-knows-that what he is doing is wrong, and hates himself for it. But he is doing it anyway.

You can almost see a demonic shadow, lurking above his soul. It is almost as if he is not in control of himself. He almost looks like a man crying for help, who is in the grip of something from which he cannot escape. McBride conveys a deep human empathy for the delivery man. His eyes all but say ‘forgive me’. But the money is calling. The money is calling, and he must go. The lending at interest, which seems innocuous at first, is the gateway to wealth, which is the basis of all real power. This is one of the gifts of Calvin-the normalization of the worship of money.

In the next installment, I will go further into detail on this. I will discuss Calvin’s effect on the young nation America, drawing heavily on Max Weber’s Spirit of Capitalism. Note, here and now, that the problem is not Capitalism, which is the best idea fallen man has produced. The problem, as penned by the late, sovereign wit of Douglas Adams, is people. I will also look as some other odious doctrines of Calvin’s, that have led people today to see the weak and failed as subhuman-and divorced from the grace of God, which led to spiritual malice and moreover, the disrepute of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, Part 3

Now, we have seen how the Great Barge made its’ way through history, as the vessel of one people, in one place, at one time. From their river, the Euphrates, came the Tigris, and the vessels for it, the kalak. Let us then examine the navigation of those tiny boats, for history will turn on them. Indeed, all the world will soon be covered by the swarm of them out on their run.

Following the reports of the resurrection of the Messiah, a frenetic wave of activity covered the Roman empire; first in Judea, then in Greek cities like Corinth, Thessaloniki, and the Gallic city Galatia. Within a generation, men trained to go out into the waters of the nations-to be fishers of men, as the kalak is used often-to spread the word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The most famous of these is of course Paul, the apostle to the gentiles; but, while chief amongst them, he was one of many who went forth, proclaiming the Good News.

There were fish to catch, for the Kingdom of God, and the early followers of The Way-known now as Christianity-left no stone unturned for those willing to repent and believe. They sailed the Tigris, casting their nets on all sides, looking for people to fish out and be saved. In the beginning, this was a tidal swell of activity, which was threatening to wash over the whole world. Indeed, until the age of Constantine, it looked for all the world like the Way might prevail against all odds. There seemed to be no way to stop the conversion of the Earth to the Gospel.

This is not empty rhetoric; Gibbons felt strongly that Christianity brought the Roman Empire down, as did Nietzsche. As a side note, I personally think the disease brought back from the Parthian wars of the third century did them in more than anything. Inflation was killing them, and political discord after the death of Marcus Aurelieus led to the splitting of the Empire into four factions. But it is perfectly reasonable to assert what Gibbons and Nietzsche did. An army with no weapons had beaten Rome-no weapons except having gained mastery over the fear of death.

You will recall our discussion of the impact of death on humans. Oddly, this is a dull sting to aboriginals and hunter-gatherers. They have an easier time accepting the way of things. Only as people became civilized did they become afraid: it would seem that having a luxurious life leads one to fear it ending. After all, if death eats you, what was the point of anything? If the only fate that awaits is nothingness, is it not the ultimate cruelty, to live long enough to realize that you are going to blank out, then go dark, extinguished, and erased?

The idea-the fact, in a Roman mind-that you will end was a torment they could not endure. They sought for every way possible to gain immortality-through writings, sculptures, histories. When you see these things, you seeing the Roman soul, flailing in fear, that they will not even be remembered. It was the keen awareness of this fear that the Romans used to dominate and control people; without this, Rome could not stand. A person who did not fear death was a weapon that could not be disarmed. This did challenge the Roman way of thinking, and undermined their cultural values greatly.

So, Christianity could be seen as an assault on Roman values themselves, as Nietzsche points out in Genealogy of Morals. Even today, I still cannot find a way to conclusively dismiss his argument empirically. While I do not agree with Frederick’s conclusion, his synopsis is quire valid. Romans did not like The Way. It was emasculating, prudish, and, well, Jewish. Romans liked conquest, personal glory, domination, and the glorious festival of the winter solstice, the Saturnalia. They were lovers of life, the Romans-for death was always after them.

Christianity is the death they fear, plus a new kind of death-a death to self, which took away the thin veneer of joy they had, in keeping Grendel upon the moors. In any other circumstance, they would have obliterated the offending cult-as they were famous for doing. But in Christianity, they finally met their match. They met an opponent who grew stronger as you killed them. Roman plebians-the commoners-who had long suffered under the patrician class, found that The Way offered them a power they could not have elsewise: the power to defy Rome. Slaves, as Frederick noted, were especially attracted to the Gospel, as it offered what they had never known, which was hope for a better tomorrow.

So the swell built, washing away the Roman power, and was being followed-even against psychotics like Diocletian-in the breadth of the Empire, surging as the Pagan ways were dwindling out. After Adrianople, Rome was an empty shell, a paper tiger that barbarians would to scoff-and later, take. Those people, the Goths, would elevate Christianity to new level-but at the price of creating a juggernaut of terror unmatched even in the days of Rome. This terror was Rome plus the Church, which became known formally as the Papacy. Please note, with acumen, the following:  This is not anti-Catholic. This is anti-Papal. I love my Catholic brethren fully and unconditionally. The Papacy is not Catholic: it is a tumor than grew up on the church. After the Peaces of Westphalia. the terror was finally leashed, and today is actually a spiritual center of some sorts, although the sybarite, hedonistic elements still remain strong within the Vatican.

The fall of the Terror of Rome was coterminus with the discovery of the New World (or, not Europe), and with this came a literal sailing of missionaries across the whole Earth, in the wake of Magellan’s epic quest to triumph over the insults heaped upon him by the King of Portugal. Unfortunately, this would not be the tale of epic splendor one would hope-for vessels meant to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ instead brought horror and darkness, and the commodification of people in the service of avarice. This is largely due to the impact of the arch-criminal of history, who harmed more than can be counted. This isn’t the standard bad guy-Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or even Karl Marx. This person cast a shadow over most of our planet that threw billions into ruin and nightmare, all through uniting the Gospel of Christ with that of Mammon. He is the son of the Papacy, who in fighting Popes became one, and the father of most protestant denominations in the West. This was Jean Calvin, and our next interlude will have to examine why he and his Papal counterparts made the Cross of Jesus Christ a sign of disrepute and disgust to most of humanity.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part Two

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter four, part two

     So, we have discovered the basic state of play for mankind in the time of Jesus.  It was to this broken, fallen world that He came, draped in human flesh, Emmanuel, God with us.  He ministered to the Hebrews, to the tribes of Abraham, to the Great barge, because only they could
know who He was.  No one else would have understood His miracles, His sermons, His sacrifice.  Having ministered for three years, He established His church, and prepared her to got out into the rest of the world, to make disciples of all men, in preparation for the day when the rivers merge again.

     He explained by parable, that He wanted His hall filled, for the great day of His marriage, and that the disciples were to go and preach, ‘whosoever will’.  From Matthew 22:

Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with [e]dinner guests.

     This stands in stark contrast to the first journey on the Euphrates.  The requirements were harsh, terrifying and immutable.  There was no grey area for behavior under the Law.  This seemed like a bum deal to the Hebrews; after all, they bore the Torah through the desert, and suffered greatly for it.  We see the mind of Judah in the parable of the Prodigal: the older brother, the one who remained, was angry that the profligate was received.  And in the parable of the vineyard, those who worked all day were angry that the wage was the same for those who worked an hour.  To be honest, they kind of have a point.

     It seems grossly unfair that the gentiles would be treated as family by El Shaddai.  What was the point of separating out from the nations, if those nations are welcomed in anyway?  I sympathize with the Hebrews in this: like Jonah, I have to call BS on what must be called as such.  The Ninth commandment compels it.  I can understand the older brother: why did he remain and work, if the younger could party and come back like nothing happened?

     Well, as the story goes, the older brother, Judah, did not get shorted after all.  The Father comforts him, and says, clearly in Luke 15

29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never [k]neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your [l]wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you [m]have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

     Yahweh has never left Judah, not even in the worst of times.  He cannot, for Judah is His inheritance.  While the Gentiles were welcomed in, to be loved, restored, and uplifted, he has no portion on the farm.  It is, in fact, Judah’s farm.  Now, please pay close attention to the following words:

     This not about the love of God: this is about the proprietorship of the farm.  Jesus loves all mankind, no exceptions.  He paid for the sins of all people, no exceptions.  He sent His disciples to all the world, no exceptions. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is supernumerary to all barriers, all thoughts, all constructs of matter or will than do or can exist.  There is no power, in hard or limitless reality, that can interpose between the soul reaching to be saved, and mighty hand Yahweh to do so, as he attests in Isaiah 59. 

     That love belongs to all His progeny, no exceptions.  However, the administrative functions of the farm-those are not handed out to the wedding guests.  Those belong to Judah.  This will rankle a few people-and let me state that I am a gentile by birth-but the facts are intransigent.  The older brother has, as his portion, all the Father has.  This is established by the leadership team of the next reality, the final one, immortal, impervious to darkness.  Eternity is going to be run by thirteen Jewish men.  One Messiah, Yeshua, and His twelve friends, the Apostles.

    If you think that is incidental, try this.  Flip a coin thirteen times in a row, and try to get all heads.  Unless you have an Altered Carbon download, you will die of old age before that happens.  A permutation of 2 to the 13th power is pretty huge; it’s a series circuit that fails the first time you flip tails-and that just represents that they are are males.  That they are all Hebrew males-the chance of that event occurring is so  astronomical that I can’t calculate it.  It would be a theta value, which in Trigonometry is a number so small, it can be said to be 0, even though it is not.

     So let’s face the facts: Judah has not been subjected to ‘replacement theology’.  El may add to that number-after all, there were Ger who followed the Law, and were counted as native born, with an inheritance (ezek 47).  But Judah is given reign over the estate.  When all things come to an end, when the Millenium is over, and this world obliterated, the leadership team of New Jerusalem, which has a gate for each Tribe of Israel, will be Hebrews, and those who joined them on the Great Barge. 

     If this chaffs you, please remember that if you attending the wedding of the Lamb, you are not on fire.  That is a benny worth-well, anything.  If you are on fire, that is your job.  Not being on fire is an amazingly  good deal, especially when we earned it.  So, I am alright if I say ‘Sir’ to a Hebrew-considering that I could be saying “AHHHHHHHHH!” as I run around perpetually immolated.  Perspective, at times, is a virtue worth pursuing.

     This segue will lead us right to where Paul discusses the Jew and the Gentile, in Romans 3, where he explains that Hebrews have lost nothing.  Rather, the goyim have gained life, and the love of God, which can be spread around to as many as will receive them.  Now, we have returned to Romans 4 again, where the circumcised and uncircumcised children of Abraham are being brought in their vessels.  We will discuss the Kalak one more time, so that we can envision the day when all the vessels of faith join up in that happy armada, the Marriage of the Lamb.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part One

So, what then is the purpose of having a Tigris?  El gave a Law to His people, to govern their existence.  Why then does the Tigris branch off at all?  After all, it would seem that He had a plan in place for the superintendence of His people.  But that proved to be the very reason the Tigris run was needed.  There were people living in this world that had grown up under the aegis of inquiry.  These had never heard of the written Torah, and did not know how the universe worked.

The civilized world was built on power, brutality, and avarice, all of which stemmed from one source: the fear of death.  From the mighty to the small, death plagued the soul of fallen men.  It was the spectre on the moors, a dread banshee that could not be repelled.  In fact, the more power and largess an empire acquired, the more the feared death.  The race of power makes one aware of the danger of power; thus, as one gains power, one fears losing it even more.  This was true for civilizations as well as people; the savagery and cruelty needed to make civilization (as Nietzsche detailed in Genealogy of Morals) always leaves a haunting whisper in the mind of the victor, as he surveys the dead he slaughtered to become a king: one day, this will be you.

Death, the constant northern star of fallen man’s literature and art; Death, the motor that drives his quest for first medicine, then immortality; Death, the hand and their throat, waking them in the night, waiting silently just beyond the door, silently, patiently.  Death, the cessation of anima, obsessed fallen man.  Death is the progenitor of all the gifts of civilization, either through the arts, philosophy, medicine and logic, or through mathematics and science, through which power may be gained.  It’s invincibility, omnipresence, and inevitability made it a god to men, literally.  Every ancient pantheistic religion had a god of death, who generally had to be appeased to stave him off.

If you think I am overstating this, pick up some Camus, or give Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal a watch.  For an abridged version of existentialist angst, watch What if Ingmar Bergman directed the Flash? on youtube.

Ultimately, we can go back to the man that the Greeks and Romans revered as the great sage: Homer.  It was he that penned the verse by which all of them lived:

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

This diatribe is of overwhelming importance, because you can now see how the minds of men were formed by history.  It was to this verse that Paul referred when he wrote “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”.  (1 thess 4).

Now, I must be thorough, which requires a quick statement.  The Greeks were investigating the possibility of the immortality of spirit as early as 400 bc, in what were called the Eleusinian mysteries.  So the idea of escaping Death was not totally unheard of.  These cults were highly guarded and secretive, probably because they were sexual rites.  For the majority of mankind, however, it seemed that life was a cruel joke,  in which Camus said it was absurd to assign meaning.  It is perhaps summed up best by T.S. Elliiot:

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

It was to this world, a world without hope, a world of fear and terror, ruled by empires of fear and terror, that the Great Barge brought the sacred scroll, Torah.  Alexander of Macedon introduced the Hebrews to the world, and they moved to his eponymous city, Alexandria.  There, the Greek would work with them to translate the Torah into the Septuagint work that survives today.  Things were looking good, until the Hebrews revolted against the Seleucid Greeks (Seleucus  being a general of Alexander that inherited part of his master’s empire upon Alexander’s death).  Antiochus IV placed a statue of Zeus in the Temple, prefiguring the Abomination that causes Desolation in the End Times, when the Antichrist sits in the 3rd temple’s holiest seat, and declares himself God.  This led to the Maccabean revolt, which plunged Judea into constant turmoil and violence, until the Diaspora in 70 ad.

It was to Judea that Yeshua ben David, known also as Jesus, came with His ministry.  His work was strictly limited to the people of Israel;  not that He was a racist, but His focus was on the Hebrews, not the Goyim.  This was intended, for the Hebrews were versed in the Torah: they were educated and instructed by the Law, and moreover, knew of the prophesies that accompanied the arrival of the Messiah.  Jesus performed His miracles to show the Hebrews that He was the Anointed One, of whom the prophets had spoken.

In short order, the power elites of Judea worked to kill Jesus.  Like the empires of men, they feared death, and the loss of power.  That should have been the end of it.  But then, the world changed in three days (note: for a Hebrew, three days means “one whole day, with part or all of a day on either side of it’).  The impossible, if the reports of this man Jesus could be believed, had occurred.  Mankind’s ancient enemy, his tormentor, his god-like foe, had been thrown down.  As lunatic as it was fervent, the cries rang through the streets of Jerusalem, tearing down walls between Greek and Jew, and giving mankind the hope that they had never known:

“HE IS ALIVE!”

To the Greek, the Roman, the fallen, this simply could not be.  Death could not be defeated. And yet, here they were, the tribe of Christians (as Josephus called them), willing to face the very power at which all men and empires quailed, to proclaim the name of Jesus to Rome and the rest of the world.  Here, the Tigris Run, the Gospel of the Risen Christ, would burst forth from the water table made flush by the mighty Euphrates, to bring the light of the Torah to all mankind, borne on the modest Kalak that bears the joyous refrain:

He is Alive.

Abraham, River of Faith: Interlude on Bifurcation

This is a short rest on our journey, a place to cool our heels. In the old West, cowpokes would use these reprieves to tell stories, and pass around some grub or coffee.  In keeping with the traditions of the land where men were free, I too want to spin a yarn-not a tall tale of epic daring-do, but, rather, about a thematic element in the writing of Yahweh.  This element is bifurcation.

Some will beef with me on this.  How can I, a mere man, critique the words of the Almighty God?  Well, I am made in His image, Regenerate in His royal blood-and I have a university education.  Image, by the way, should be rendered likeness, or similarity.  Yahweh doesn’t have a body-He is supernumerary to the conventions He created (time, space, matter).  Our likeness to Him is our reason (or wisdom, in Psalms 8).  His mind works like ours, because ours works like His.

His writing can be deconstructed, just like any literary form.  El has themes, a plot, symbolism, and a conflict.  He has styles which He favors, that flavor His work, like any human writer does.  Accordingly, we can examine one of His primary thematic elements, which is bifurcation, the splitting of something into two parts.  This works in tandem with His consistent use of the symbolism of two in His work.

From the beginning, Yah divides the universe.  He makes water and land; earth and heaven; sun and moon; and, when HE makes His children, He makes them ‘male and female’.  This particular bifurcation, along with providing fodder for most music and writing, is considered by some cultures to be the fundamental substance of existence itself (Yin and Yang, Shiva/Shakti).  This is a curious situation, since El reveals Himself in the masculine primarily.  There does not appear to be a feminine aspect of Elohim (a fact which the Babylonians derided, as their religion was based on gods and goddesses having sex).

The theme of two repeats itself throughout the Bible.  Proverbs are phrased in couplets, for instance.  Some of the major overtures of the Bible come from two brothers in conflict: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ismael, Jacob and Esau, and even Judah and Israel.  If we examine history, we can see that Jew and Greek are not just terms of Paul’s day, but, rather, represent the perpendicular patterns of life between the Hebrew pattern-superintendence- and the Greek, which is inquiry.  The latter would build civilization to answer the great questions, and the former would come from the wilderness to bring them the sacred scroll, Torah.

Paul refers to this continually in his missives.  As we saw in Romans, he discusses the two sons of Abraham: the Circumcised, and the Uncircumcised.  This pattern is consistent with flow of the Bible.  Although the Shmei tells us ‘El is one’, he often has two sons that He loves equally.  Even when He separates out the Hebrews, and the Prosyltos with them, to make Israel, He also provides hope that He will one day tear down the walls, and bring the Gentiles home to Him.

In the end, there is only one.  When all is settled, there will be divisions no more.  This is the power of a well written story: when the end almost entirely resembles the beginning.  The circle completed is a hallmark of masterful writing.  In the Bible, we see this.  All was one, then divisions occurred.  But when the final second of the clock of this reality is struck, we will reunite forever in El.

Now that we have chewed the fat, and sat a spell, I will pick up my tack and head back out on the range.  The theme of two will recur often in this work, so I wanted to hash out the details before we hit the trail.  Let us take our kalak, now, into the swift, roaring waters of the Tigris.  The Great barge is still rumbling along, chugging inexorably to the end.  Let us see, then, what the trip on the Tigris entails.