September 25, 2021
DEAD MEN’S BONES
The most recent installment of Dead Men’s Bones showed how the archeological dig at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit in Syria), begun in 1928, uncovered ancient documents which included something called the Baal Cycle. The manuscripts included religious texts detailing the worship of El (the senior “god” of the Canaanites and co-regent of Baal), Dagon (known in the Bible as the god of the Philistines), and the female deity Asherah (associated with the fertility Groves seen in the Old Testament.
After studying these materials and dating the manuscripts, the scholars followed the conventional route by synchronizing them with what they perceive to be well established Egyptian history.
“The earliest Ugaritic contact with Egypt — and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization — comes from a carnelian bead found at the site which had been identified with the Middle Kingdom [of Egypt]” (Ugarit, Online New World Encyclopedia).
As noted in Part II of Dead Men’s Bones, the consensus of scholarship concerning dating of the kingdoms of antiquity – particularly Egyptian timelines -- is in significant error. The basic outline of that major misdating of timelines is related to many factors, not the least of which is the Catastrophism of antiquity. As the Scriptures show, the flood of Noah, the devastation of Egypt (and surrounding nations) in the Exodus, and even the cosmic disruption involved in the long day of Joshua (as described in Joshua 10, during the Israelite invasion of Canaan), contributed to geologic conditions which confuse the physical evidence. While all of these are important factors, the Spiritual influence, buried in the hearts and minds of the “experts,” is the primary factor in the huge deception concerning historical timelines.
By synchronizing the documents of Ugarit to the faulty mainstream chronology of ancient Egypt, consensus driven scholarship compounded the errors in each successive kingdom. Thus, the scholars were blindsided when they were led to believe the manuscripts concerning Baal were much older than the Old Testament – leading to the awkward conclusion the Hebrew Scriptures were influenced by the heathen belief structures – when the opposite is actually true.
Christian Media’s first coverage of this subject goes back to the early 1990’s, but our media based assertions were miniscule, compared to the avalanche of mainstream miscalculation. As we’ve repeatedly sought to show, common sense historical deductions are eliminated with the skewed timelines. For instance, Egypt is known for massive construction projects such as the pyramids, and such efforts would have required enormous amounts of human manpower, in an era known for slavery. The Bible clearly shows the Israelites were the people who were kept in bondage for centuries (building “bricks” for the Pharaoh) – but the “scholars” widely deny the Israelites played any role in the pyramid programs, as the ancestors of the Jews were supposedly not in Egypt when these enormous projects were engineered.
There is an interesting parallel in the circumstances surrounding the world’s uniformitarian dating from an evolutionist perspective. Starting with the faulty idea the world has been here for millions (or even billions) of years, people of faith are sharply marginalized for relying on the Bible’s rendition of the relatively brief period of time that man has managed his own destiny on the planet. It’s the same story concerning those who seek to discover God through historical knowledge accumulated in the mind, rather than through the faith in His power and glory. Unfortunately, our Spiritual leaders have leaned on “scholarship” instead of faith, and the result is a sanitized version of the Gospel, without the power of the Spirit.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5).
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in Corinth, said the same thing.
“My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:4,5).
This situation is not dissimilar to the story of Solomon, and how the famous Israelite king fell from fidelity to the LORD. The reader will recall that Solomon, who was the son of King David, was celebrated for his great wisdom and intellect.
“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much…And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom” (I Kings 4:29, 34).
Solomon was well aware of the LORD’s promise to David (Solomon’s father) that his son would sit on the throne of Israel, and God had further promised the Davidic dynastic line would rule Israel forever.
“I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (II Samuel 7:12, 13).
Although Solomon was considered exceedingly wise, he was simply not in a position to fully understand the enormity of the LORD’s promises – which were of an eternal nature -- as the “son of David” who was in view in God’s promise to David, was the great king’s distant descendant, Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
Further, the “house” that David’s son Jesus would build would be the temple of the living God, which the New Testament tells us is hosted in the collective hearts, minds, and Spirits of the divinely regenerated Christians.
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24).
Since David had already begun the accumulation of materials to build an earthly temple for the LORD, by the time Solomon came to power (and since he was indeed the flesh and blood son of David), it was certainly logical to conclude that he was the one to build the house of the LORD. However, things of the Spirit don’t always conform to our reasoning processes, which are rooted in the realm of flesh and blood.
As Solomon inherited a glorious earthly kingdom, richly endowed with peace and enormous wealth (largely because of his father’s military successes), he expanded the kingdom of Israel by utilizing the institution of marriage, through arranged unions with the princesses of the many lands surrounding Israel.
“And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” (I Kings 11:3).
At the top of the list was the daughter of the primary rival to Israelite security, the nation of Egypt and the house of Pharaoh.
“Together with the daughter of Pharaoh, [Solomon married princesses] of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites” (I Kings 11:1).
Although this was a politically expedient method which facilitated favorable relations with foreign powers, it was a direct violation of the LORD’s statutes.
“Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods” (I Kings 11:2).
Most Bible readers are familiar with how this fondness for foreign women proved to be Solomon’s undoing.
“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (I Kings 11:4).
Some years ago, the Lord revealed how core aspects of deception work, and Solomon is a prime example of the process. After all, as the favored son of David, and the reigning king of Israel (to say nothing of his legendary intellect), it’s surprising to see Solomon’s fall. However, although the glorious royal had the outward trappings of a great man of God, his internal Spiritual failure is the very epitome of the famous phrase Dead Men’s Bones.
To put it another way, when JESUS stridently denounced the priesthood of his earthly generation for appearing righteous on the outside (comparing them to a beautiful tomb), but accurately assessing their inner Spiritual lives to be as dead as a doornail, he might as well have been describing Solomon, who lived centuries earlier. It’s almost discouraging to realize that, if Solomon, who was supposedly the wisest man in the world, couldn’t keep his relationship with the LORD on track, then what chance do you and I have? The answer is found in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, and the Apostle Paul articulated it precisely.
“Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith” (Romans 11:7, 9:32).
There are several particulars in the story of Solomon, which provide us with insight into his fall. The reader will note how, in addition to Solomon’s great wisdom, we find repeated references in the text to his heart.
“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore” (I Kings 4:29).
In probing this subject, we find a fascinating equation is imbedded in a huge number of verses, and they all carry subtle allusions to the triune nature of all things. For example, in the above verse, we see the subject of the Spirit is certainly represented, as the verse mentions God – and He is noted as the source of the gifts given to Solomon. We also find references to the mind, which are directly related to the “wisdom” (and understanding), which were received by Solomon.
And then there is Solomon’s “heart,” which the above Scripture indicated was “large.” In modern vernacular, this is reminiscent of how we might speak approvingly of a friend who has a big heart.
In the Scriptures, sometimes we see “uprightness of heart” (I Kings 3:6), or “an understanding heart” (I Kings 3:12), with the latter a phrase which blurs the distinction between heart and mind -- but this is precisely the area where the Word of God tells us that deception is planted. This will not only answer what happened to Solomon, it also explains how Christian scholars can seriously believe that Gentile praises to Baal, were actually plagiarized by the Hebrew Old Testament authors, who then supposedly called it the Word of the LORD (see part II of Dead Men’s Bones).
King David provided classic instruction for his beloved son, and the following verse adds the dimension of imagination to the equation. It also contains the symbolism of a tripartite composition.
“Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (I Chronicles 28:9).
We note the same triune architecture previously mentioned is also in this verse, with the Spiritual dimension represented by God (as well as “the Lord” in the 2nd half of the verse), the perfect “heart” David would like to see in his son, and a “willing mind.” This points us to a relatively simple outline of human beings, as three parts – Heart, Mind, and Spirit.
“And [the Trinitarian] God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).
Thus, as we probe the nature of mankind’s vulnerability through an analysis of Solomon’s struggle, we’re also getting a distant glimpse at God, as the Word tells us we are patterned after Him. However, even though the LORD made us in His image, our weak link is found in the heart, for this is precisely where the Scripture tells us deceit enters in to our existence.
The Bible has told us this from the earliest time. For example, in the most devastating judgment the world has yet seen, the LORD tells us the wickedness in man did not originate in his Spirit, nor did it enter in to the complex recesses of his mind.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
Most of us have never stopped to consider how the human heart (which every cardiologist will tell you is just an organic pump), can have “thoughts” – especially when the wisdom of this world tells us such a thing is physically impossible – but that explanation will have to wait for the next edition of Dead Men’s Bones.
-- James Lloyd
To Be Continued
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