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The following article is taken from New Dawn magazine - a magazine exposing consensus reality and publishing suppressed information. Sample copy for $5 can be obtained from: GPO Box 3126FF, Melbourne, 3001, AUSTRALIA.
The Conspiracy Against God
From the Divine influx into the souls of men," wrote Emanuel Swedenborg, "it follows that there is an internal dicate with every man that there is a God and that He is One. Still there are some who deny that there is a God, and who acknowledge nature as God. There are, moreover, those who worship several gods, and those also who set up images for gods. The reason for this is that they have closed up the interiors of their reason or understanding with worldly and corporeal things, and have thereby obliterated the primitive idea of God which was theirs in infancy, banishing at the same time all religion from their hearts." (The True Christian Religion)
The knowledge of one God, Swedenborg conc-luded, flows into the human mind from heaven, and is as much our heritage as the air we breath. God is equated with the central sun of the universe; being, writes Swedenborg, the fountain-head of all that lives or exists. "There is only one substance from which all things are, and the sun of the spiritual world is that substance." "Creation must...be wholly ascribed to the sun of the spiritual world...a living force...."
By using the symbol of the 'central sun of the universe' to the illustrate the Absolute, the mystic and lofty philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg was restating a most sublime symbol of Ancient Traditional Wisdom. A careful analysis of the religious systems of antiquity uncovers much evidence of the fact that their priests derived from a common knowledge of the Supreme Deity as the Divine Light personified. Godfrey Higgins, after thirty years of inquiry into the origin of religious beliefs, is of the opinion that: "All the Gods of antiquity resolved themselves into the solar fire, sometimes itself as God, or sometimes an emblem or shekinah of that higher principle, known by the name of that creative Being or God."
This knowledge of the Absolute, the primordial religion, is the solar tradition and as such it can be traced from the beginning. All the great nations, China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Roman and those of South America, held the sun to be the highest symbol of the benevolent Supreme God, the All Father and Lord of Light. Swedenborg points out in his grand work True Christian Religion that, "The other nations in the world who possess religion and sound reason agree in acknow-ledging that God is one..."
He then proceeds to identify Jehovah or Yahweh as the Almighty God writing, "The name Jehovah...signifies the supreme and only Being (Ens), from whom everything is, that is and exists in the universe. The ancient Gentiles acknowledged Jove as the supreme God, probably so called from Jehovah, and they attributed Divinity to many others who composed his court. Wise men, however, in later times, as Plato and Aristotle, declared that these were not gods, but were so many properties, qualities, and attributes of the one God, and were called gods because something of the Divine entered into them."
When studying the beliefs of antiquity we must keep in mind that the gods and goddesses which figure so often in the old religions were transcendent symbols of cosmic processes. Far from being personal anthropomorphic deities they were regarded as expressions of the Absolute, the uncaused cause, the unmoved mover, the sourceless source.
A Primordial Tradition
Augustus Le Plongeon, whose research seeks to reveal the affinity between the religion of the Mayas and of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Greeks, stated that: "The idea of a sole and omnipotent Deity, who created all things, seems to have been the universal belief in early ages, amongst all the nations that had reached a high degree of civilization. This was the doctrine of the Egyptian priests." (Sacred Mysteries among the Mayas and the Quiches)
Such was the belief in Egypt long before the days of Moses. Adolf Erman asserts that "even in early times the educated class" believed all the deities of the Egyptian religion to be identical and that "the priests did not shut their eyes to this doctrine, but strove to grasp the idea of the one God, divided into different persons by poesy and myth...The priesthood, how-ever, had not the courage to take the final step, to do away with those distinctions which they declared to be immaterial, and to adore the one God under the one name." (Life in Ancient Egypt). It was left to Amenhotep IV, later known as Ikhnaton, to proclaim this doctrine openly to the people. He did not originate monotheism, but only re-instated something much more ancient. Ikhnaton's revival of the solar tradition may well have been derived from the Phoenicians.
The early Phoenicians were worshippers of the Supreme Lord of the Universe, whom they usually symbolized by His chief visible luminary, the sun. Prof. George Rawlinson in his History of the Phoenicians says: "Originally, when they first occupied their settlements upon the Mediterranean, or before they moved from their primitive seats upon the shores of the Persian Gulf, the Phoenicians were Monotheists..."
To this Prof. Waddell adds on page 264 of his The Phoenician Origin of Britons, Scots and Anglo-Saxons: "It was this pure and lofty Monotheism of the Early Phoenicians, expressed in their so-called 'Sun-worship' or 'Bel-worship,' which they are now found to have cherished down the ages in the Mediterranean. From it the early merchant princes derived their happy inspiration; they carried it with them as they ploughed the unknown seas; they invoked it in their hours of danger, and transplanted it at their various colonies and ports of call; and they carried it to Early Britain and disembarked and planted it along with their virile civilization, upon her soil about 2800 B.C. or earlier.
"The early Aryans appear at first to have worshipped the Sun's orb itself as the visible God. In thus selecting the Sun, it is characteristic of the scientific mind of these early Aryans that in searching for a symbol for God they fixed upon the same visible and most glorious manifestation of his presence that latter-day scientists credit with having emitted the first vital spark to this planet, and with being the proximate source and supporter of all Life in this world.
"But at an early period, some millenniums before the birth of Abraham, the Aryans imagined the idea of the One Universal God, as 'The Father-God' behind the Sun, and thereby gave us our modern idea of God. This is evident in the early Sumerian hymns, and in the prehistoric Cup-marked pray-ers in Britain; and it is also thus expressed in one of the oldest Aryan hymns of the Vedas, in a stanza which is still repeated every morning by every Brahman in India, who chants it as a morning prayer at sunrise: 'The Sun's uprising orb floods the air with brightness: The Sun's Ever-living Lord sends forth all men to labour.'"
Startling as it may seem, the ancient Hebrews shared the same ancestry as the Phoenicians. The word Eber or Heber (the Biblical patriarch of the Hebrews) means "coloniser" in the Hebrew-Phoenician language, and indubitably the Phoenicians were the greatest colonisers and mariners of the ancient world. Last century, the French Esotericist Saint Yves d'Alvedre argued in his La Mission des Juifs that the Semites and the Indo-Europeans shared a common origin.
Prof. Hermann Wirth, a specialist in pre-history, through a study of religious symbols concluded that a pure monotheistic religion had originated in a common homeland, possibly the vanished continent of Atlantis. Dr. Langdon, Professor of Assyriology at Oxford, wrote, based on his excavations in Mesopotamia that: "In my opinion, the history of the oldest religion of man is a rapid decline from monotheism to extreme polytheism and widespread belief in evil spirits. It is in a very true sense the history of the fall of man."
Confirming this, Dr. Langdon in his Semitic Mythology states: "The Semitic word for God meant originally 'He who is High,' a sky god: and here also I believe that their religion began with monotheism." As a result of his decipherment of Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions Dr. Langdon reached the conclusion that: "The theological view running through Babylon before 2000 B.C. was of a Heaven for the righteous, whom the Gods might choose to receive into Paradise where is the Bread and Water of Life." To this Sir Charles Marston remarks, "Before the time of Abraham, then, before any book of the Old Testament was written, and right down through the centuries after every book in the Old Testament had been written, there existed this belief in a Future Life and the Presence of the bread and water of Eternal Life in Heaven." (The New Knowledge about the Old Testament)
The discovery of the Ras Shamru tablets by French scholars provided further valuable data on the Hebrew-Phoenician nexus. These tablets were written about 1500 B.C., some in cuneiform script and others in the Phoenician script of twenty-two letters. On these tablets is found the sacred name "Yah", the origin of the Yahweh or Jehovah of the Old Testament. Also Sanchoniathon, a Phoenician writer of about 1000 B.C. tells us that the chief Phoenician Deity was "Elioun," and that he was called "Hypsistos," or "Most High." "Elioun" is the same as the Old Testament word for God "Elohim," who is also called "the Most High." Both "Elioun" and "Elohim" are derived from the ancient Sumerian "E-la", from which also comes the Arabic "Allah", the Supreme Lord.
Who is Yahweh?
The Encyclopedia Biblica emphatically states that every name in the Bible "must, of course, originally have had some special meaning." Throughout the Old Testament, the Most High God of the Israelites is identified by the sacred name of YHWH, vocalised as "Yahweh" or "Yahveh," and in its abbreviated form "Yah". In our English Bibles the name has been mistranslated variously 'LORD' or 'Jehovah'. Uncovering the origins and meaning of the sacred name will help us to appreciation the primordial tradition in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Prof. Robert Cramer says, "There is a four-letter word which occurs numerous times in the Old Testament. It is an old word, tracing its origin back to more than 3,000 perhaps 4,000 years. The origin of this word precedes Moses. Biblical scholars refer to this four letter word as the Tetragrammaton, Hebrew word consisting of the letters - YHWH (sometimes shown as JHVH).... Modern biblical scholars are persuaded that the ancient Hebrew name for the deity was Yahweh."
From a Sumerian Seal of about 2500 B.C. we have the depiction of the trial of "Adamu the son of God IA." This IA or IAO [Yah], according to the distinguished author Prof. L.A. Waddell, is the source of Yah or Yahweh of the Hebrews, and the Jove of the Romans. IA, or Yah was ancient Sumerian for the Deity of the Life-Bestowing Deep Waters, and was introduced to Upper Mesopotamia in around 3300 B.C. Later Akkadians, Babylonians, Hittites and others knew IA or EA, as the God of Wisdom. IA is also directly linked to EL the 'Most High' of the Phoenicians. Recall that in the Hebrew Scriptures the Almighty God is named "Yahweh Elohim".
The late Dr. John Allegro, in his fascinating book The Chosen People, shows that the sacred name, as well as the names of the patriarchal heroes of the Scriptures, are non-Semitic and "go back to the earliest known civilisation of the Near East, indeed of the world. The language to which we can now trace these names is called Sumerian, and seems to have been the fount of both Semitic and Indo-European and was in use long before these two linguistic families went their separate ways."
Diodorus Siculus, when enumerating the different legislators of antiquity, says, "Amongst the Jews Moses pretended that the god surnamed IAO [Yah] gave him his laws". And this is elucidated by the remark of the early Christian writer Clement of Alexandria, that the Hebrew Tetragrammaton is transliterated into Greek as IAO-UE (pronounced as "ee-ah-ou-eh" or "Yahweh").
"That this divine name was well-known to the Heathen there can be no doubt," states Parkhurst's Hebrew Lexicon. Traces of the name Yah have been found in inscriptions dating from 2,800 B.C., and in others dating from about 2,100 B.C. Yahweh is also closely related to the old Sanskrit word Yahveh, meaning 'everflowing'.
In ancient Egypt the phrase 'Yahweh-asher-yiweh' represented an old liturgical form and means "he is the continuous creator of all that daily comes to pass."
"None dare to enter the temple of Serapis, who did not bear on his breast or forehead the name of JAO [Yah], or J-HA-HO [Y-HA-WA], a name almost equivalent in sound to that of the Hebrew Jehovah [Yahweh], and probably of identical import; and no name was uttered in Egypt with more reverence than this IAO [Yah]." (Commentary on Exodus)
The religions of Egypt at the time of the sojourn of the Israelites were far older than the Egyptian priests themselves realised. The appearance of the sacred name Yah is another confirmation of its primeval origin. The Egyptians, like many ancient peoples, traced their origin back to a mythological period when the gods themselves walked the earth. It is inconceivable that the patriarch Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was ignorant of this ancient Egyptian name of the Deity.
In 1975 a vast palace archive of over 20,000 clay tablets was discovered at the site of the lost civilisation of Ebla in Syria. Over 4,500 years old, the tablets are written in a language similar to Hebrew and contain the sacred name. According to authors Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman: "Now the appearance of the Name YHWH (or of Yah) at such an early date, and outside Israel, should not come as an utter shock, since the Bible states that it became known as early as the days of Adam's grandson Enosh (Genesis 4:26) or even of Eve herself (Genesis 4:1). Many pre-biblical sightings of Yahweh have been claimed....Friedrich Delitzsch came upon the name...and translated 'Yahweh is God',..." (Ebla: A Revelation in Archaeology)
Yahweh signifies the great "I Am" and conveys the meaning of the One That Was, the One That Is, and the One That Shall Forever Be. Here too we have a reference to an ancient religious tradition. The Egyptians gave the name of 'Nuk-Pa-Nuk,' or "I Am That I Am" to the Deity and this name was found on a temple in Egypt (Egyptian Belief by Bonwick & Anacalypsis by Higgins). Also Bunsen in Keys of St. Peter points out that " 'I Am' was a Divine name understood by all the initiated among the Egyptians... The 'I Am' of the Hebrews, and the 'I Am' of the Egyptians are identical."
The Druids of Western Europe worshipped One God who was the Creator of the past, the Saviour of the present and the Renovator of the future. The self-existent being, He that is. The similarity between 'He that is,' and 'I Am that I Am' has not escaped attention. To quote Charles Hulbert, a noted British scholar: "So near is the resemblance between the Druidic religion of Britain and the patriarchal religion of the Hebrews, that we hesitate not to pronounce their origin the same."
Turning our attention to Greece we find striking similarities with the old Hebrews. The historian Cyrus Gordon documents the shared roots of the Hebrews and Indo-Europeans in his work, The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations. John Allegro's research uncovered that Yahweh is the exact philological counterpart of the Greek Zeus, both sharing the same Sumerian origin (see The Chosen People). In Greece we discover "Iao" [Yah] expressly recognised as the title of the Supreme God whose physical representative is the Sun. Also the Greek Ionians were called by the Brahmins the 'Yavanas' that is "the followers of Yah".
The Brahmins defined God as "the Self-existing, Eternal, Supreme Being, who is the Cause of everything, and to whom everything is finally absorbed." They, like the Egyptians and the Greeks, held to the solar tradition believing that all the different deities were but representations of the different attributes of the One. The Hindu Deity Brahma being essentially identical to Yahweh of the Hebrews. The Encyclopedia Biblica says of the 'monotheism' of the early Israelites that, "The Israelites worshipped a small divine company under a supreme director."
All of this information confirms what Dr. James Meek writes in Hebrew Origins, the sacred name Yahweh is not Hebrew "and on that point practically all scholars are agreed." IA or Yah, the Great All-Father God and Supreme Deity of antiquity, is undoubtedly the source of the sacred name found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
Dr. Morton Smith, acclaimed author and professor of ancient history, in his definitive study Palestinian Parties and Politics that Shaped the Old Testament, details how the Old Testament is the product of a long series of collection and revision of material, which is only part of a much wider and earlier tradition. He traces the development of the belief in Yahweh as the Most High of Israel and the particular groups associated with the evolution of the religion of Judea. Together with the ground-breaking scholarship of S.H. Hooke in Middle Eastern Mythology and John Allegro in The Chosen People, we are left in no doubt that the sublime truths in the Old Testament have their 'source' in a far more ancient tradition stretching back through Sumeria and beyond.
Scholarship has unearthed irrefutable evidence of what Dr. Berdyaev aptly called a 'metahistory' linking the Greeks, Romans, Celts and others with the ancient Near East cultures of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Sumerians and Hebrews. Confirming that knowledge of the Divine Unity and principal truth, have been from the beginning of time the common property of all humanity. Man's religious history being one of 'devolution' from a universal, immutable and primeval source.
Israel and Judah
To ancient Israel, as well as Judah prior to the Babylonian captivity in 587 B.C., Yahweh Elohim was the sovereign Lord of all history and source of all life. They were no different from the Phoenicians and Greeks who regarded El and Zeus respectively as the creator and sustainer. However, the exile in Babylon saw the crescendo of a diabolical cycle of distortion and perversion of this older Israelite tradition. The priestly class of Judah began formulating a new creed. Yes, Yahweh Elohim was indeed the Almighty God, but at the same time still the special god of Judah, a tribal deity whose main interest was the welfare of his Chosen People.
As John Allegro tells it: "Thus it followed that whatever the grand strategy in the Creator's mind, it involved the destiny of the Jews, and all history was directed to their glorification. Here we have the core of the doctrine of the Chosen Race whose working out in practical politics was to wreak such havoc among the nations of the world and to bring successive disasters upon the Jews themselves. The idea was formulated among the Babylonian exiles, although its elements were already embedded in tribal mythology and religion." (The Chosen People)
How was such a dramatic revision accomplished? If we are to find an answer to this perplexing question we first have to review Biblical history. What happened before 950 B.C. is largely lore, legend and mythology as distinct from the period following, the main events of which are known. Before 950 B.C., for instance, there were in the main only "oral traditions" which later provided the basis for the written Scripture.
In this oral tradition Moses was a great tribal leader who heard the voice of Yahweh Elohim, the one God, speak from a burning bush and come down from the mountain bearing Yahweh's moral commandments to the people. Under the leadership of Moses the twelve tribes of Israel entered Palestine about 1450 B.C. The ancient Israelites inherited even earlier ideas, and by this means apparently were well on the way to a universal outlook when in 975 B.C. the northern ten tribes set up their own independent kingdom and separated from the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. This southern kingdom was never thereafter known as "Israel", but only as the House (or Kingdom) of Judah. The northern, ten-tribed kingdom was thereafter called the House (or Kingdom) of Israel.
The Scriptures and today's authorities agree about the essential difference between "Israel" and "Judah". Through out the Old Testament Israel is often called "the house of Joseph", in pointed distinction from "the house of Judah". The Jewish Encyclopedia says, "Joseph and Judah typify two distinct lines of descent" and adds that Judah was "in all likelihood a non-Israelitish tribe". The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Judaism developed long after the Israelites had merged them-selves with mankind, and that the true relationship of the two peoples is best expressed in the phrase, "The Israelites were not Jews".
This is confirmed by the Jewish scholar Dr. Kastein in his History and Destiny of the Jews: "The two states had no more in common, for good or evil, than any other two countries with a common frontier. From time to time they waged war against each other or made treaties, but they were entirely separate. The Israelites ceased to believe that they had a destiny apart from their neighbours and King Jeroboam made separation from Judah as complete in the religious as in the political sense." Then of the southern kingdom of Judah, Dr. Kastein adds, "they decided that they were destined to develop as a race apart...they demanded an order of existence fundamentally different from that of the people about them. These were differences which allowed of no process of assimilation to others. They demanded separation, absolute differentiation."
Then around 721 B.C. the northern tribes of the kingdom of Israel were captured by Assyria and deported to the lands around the south end of the Caspian sea, and they never returned to Palestine. The Old Testament doesn't record their further history and they are effectively 'swallowed up by mankind', taking with them the vision of Yahweh Elohim as the universal God of all men.
During the hundred years that followed the Assyrian conquest of Israel, the Levites (priests) in Judah began to 'collate' the written Law. Before the compilation of this "Mosaic Law" in the seventh century B.C., Biblical scholars agree, there were two distinct written texts, the earliest originating in Judah between 960-920 B.C., and the latter dated around 920 B.C. and compiled in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. These were based on the extant "oral traditions" of what Yahweh Elohim said to Moses.
Then in 621 B.C. the "Mosaic Law" was "discovered" in the Temple at Jerusalem. This became the Book of Deuteronomy which means "Second Law", appears as the fifth book of today's Bible, and was the first book to be compiled as a whole in 621 B.C. While the other books of the Torah ("the Law") were compiled at an even later date. Dr. Kastein explains the "discovery" of Deuteronomy thus:
"In 621 B.C., a manuscript hoary with dust of ages was discovered among the archives. It contained a curious version of the laws which had been codified to that time, a sort of repetition and variation of them, giving a host of instructions regarding man's duty to God and to his neighbour. It was couched in the form of speeches supposed to have been delivered by Moses just before his death on the farther side of Jordan. Who the author was it is impossible to say."
The prophet Jeremiah (his name meaning "whom Yah-weh appoints") began his ministry in 626 B.C. From a priestly family of the land of Benjamin, Jeremiah preached the coming destruction of Judah due to their rejection of the true religion of Yahweh. He lived in a period marked by a reign of terror during which all who were distinguished for true religion and virtue were cruelly murdered. He was accused of treachery by priests and prophets who also claimed to have "the word of Yahweh" (Jeremiah 14:13; 23:17) and the people sought to kill him. Yet, Jeremiah was constant in his denunciation of the corrupt priests of Jerusalem. In a direct attack on those who had falsified the Law, Jeremiah declares, "How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of Yahweh is with us? Lo, the false pen of the scribes have falsified them and written them wrong." (Jeremiah 8:8)
Just as Jeremiah had prophesied, the Babylonians conquered Judah in about 587 B.C. With the destruction of Jerusalem the priests of Judah together with a few tens of thousands of people were taken to Babylon. The benevolent behaviour of the Babylonian conquerors towards the people of Judah was the exact opposite of that enjoined on the Judahites, in the reverse circumstances, by the Second Law which had been read to them before their defeat: "Save nothing alive that breatheth..." The exiles enjoyed complete freedom of worship, residence, occupation and self-administration.
The great revision of the original Israelite tradition began by "the false pen of the scribes" of Jerusalem reached new heights in the Babylonian exile. Into captivity the elite of Judah took their growing sacred literature. Here in Babylon the Scribes began to piece together the different writings and in the process edited and rewrote massive parts of the existing material. Through "the Law" the priests asserted power over the total life of the people.
According to the British author Douglas Reed, "Thus the Levites in Babylon added Exodus, Genesis, Leviticus and Numbers to Deuteronomy. Genesis and Exodus provide a version of history moulded to fit the "Law" which the Levites by then had already promulgated, in Deuteronomy...Whatever has survived of the former Israelite tradition is in Genesis and Exodus, and in the enlightened passages of the Israelite prophets. These more benevolent parts are invar-iably cancelled out by later, fanatical ones, which are presumably Levitical interpol-ations.
"The puzzle is to guess why the Levites allowed these glimpses of a loving God of all men to remain, as they invalidated the New Law and could have been removed. A tenable theory might be that the earlier tradition was too well known to the tribespeople to be merely expunged, so that it had to be retained and cancelled out by allegorical incident and amendment. Although Genesis and Exodus were produced after Deuteronomy the theme of fanatical tribalism is faint in them. The swell and crescendo come in Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Numbers, which bear the plain imprint of the Levite in isolated Judah and Babylon." (The Controversy of Zion)
Returning from Babylon to Judea, about 538 B.C., the priests of Judah set-up a State religion centred on the worship of a "jealous" Yahweh at Jerusalem. Along with this there was a deliberate attempt to purge out those last remaining elements of the older Israelite tradition deemed extraneous to the new unified religion, however rooted in the past they may have been. Thus monotheism was nationalised and prophecy monopolised.
Some scholars like the historian John Milner have argued that there existed an "original Torah" (Law of Moses) that was quite different from the later 'revised' Torah of the Judeans, compiled in Babylonian captivity. Milner wrote: "All men of science are agreed on the fact that the original Torah (that of Moses) as well as the copies of the Old Testament were lost after Nebuchadnezzar's conquest... The Jews then found this to be an opportune moment to rewrite the Torah. In doing so, they severely mutilated the Torah of Moses and put it out in a new form full of legends and falsehoods which are being contradicted daily by archaeological discoveries which are refuting all its contents." (The Arabs and Jews in History)
The Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians commonly refer to as the Old Testament, as we have seen, were compiled from ancient texts over many centuries. Remnants of the earlier solar tradition and other divine truths contained there-in were concealed. The secrets of the Torah, wrote the later Jewish sages, were hidden and not to be understood by all, as the following quotation will show:
"Woe to the man who sees in the Torah (the law) only simple recitals and ordinary words! Because, if in truth it contained only those, we would even today be able to compose a Torah much more worthy of admiration. But it is not so. Each word of the Torah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery....The recitals of the Torah are the vestments of the Torah. Woe to him who takes this vestment of the Torah for the Torah itself...The simple take notice of the garments and recitals of the Torah alone. They knew no other thing. They see not that which is concealed under the vestment. The more instructed men do not pay attention to the vestment, but to the body which it envelopes."
What is beyond question is that between the period just preceding the destruction of Jerusalem around 587 B.C and the return of a remnant of Judah to Palestine a few decades later, a substantial revision of the earlier Israelite tradition took place. Yahweh Elohim became forever identified as the partisan and jealous god of a chosen people.
There was no place for prophets as in the earlier tradition, indeed the era of the prophets had come to an end. One's whole duty to Yahweh was contained in the ritual law. The Law was regarded as the final expression of absolute truth, and left no room for any further revelation. The only hope was the advent, not of another prophet, but of a conquering Messiah who would establish the worldly dominance of the victorious Judah.
Complete righteousness, decreed the Law, was to be achieved and the divine favour attained by the studious observance of the ritual law prescribing the rules of worship, sacrifices, feasts, the Sabbath; and of the meticulous regulations concerning cleanliness and uncleanliness, food, and the various events of daily life. Upon such scrupulous observance would ensue all the benefits and favours that Yahweh had promised to bestow.
What was the nature of these expected benefits and favours? They pertained solely to worldly existence, and not at all to a spiritual afterlife. Yahweh Elohim was essentially a god of the earthly world, who was expected to grant success in mundane affairs, and above all a war god, who would overcome all odds in achieving victory for his chosen race in material conflict, and in vanquishing its enemies. He manifested his anger and displeasure with his tribe by permitting other tribes, who worshipped other gods, to harass, dominate, and persecute it in its pursuit of its worldly objectives. But Yahweh chose to exercise no power, if indeed he possessed any, to prevent the consignment of all men's souls to the dark and unblessed eternity of Sheol (see Eccl. 9:10; Psalm 6:2; Psalm 115:17; Isaiah 38:18).
The image of Yahweh Elohim had been transformed. No longer just the One Supreme God worshipped by the earliest Israelite tribes, he was now a revengeful, partisan deity, with a special people identified by their separateness. Of significance may be the prevalent conception of Yahweh seen in the period of the Maccabees in the second century B.C. Judean Maccabee amulets of around 100 B.C. depict IAWA or IAWAHH (Yahweh) as snake-footed - two monstrous serpents below the torso - and wielding a whip.
Jesus's Heavenly Father
"The conception of the incarnation of a God for the salvation of men," wrote English Esotericist Richard Harte, is "absolutely and completely 'Pagan,' and nothing would have horrified the Jews themselves as a nation more than the notion of Jehovah having a son by a woman."
The ministry of Jesus was in many respects the antithesis of the awaited Messiah of the Judeans. The latter were looking for a conquering Messiah who would make Jerusalem the capital of the whole world. By the will of Yahweh, the hegemony of the Messiah and the dominance of his chosen people over the other inhabitants of the earth would become universal and perpetual. Thereafter they would continuously enjoy all the desirable acquisitions, gratifications, and pleasures of a worldly existence.
While Jesus declared the truth of the most sacred principle of the Torah, reciting the admonition of Moses "Hear, O Israel; Yahweh our Elohim is Unity", he placed his message firmly in the ancient Israelite tradition rather than the perspective of the dominant Judean religious circles, the Pharisees and Sadducees. All of Christ's references to the Torah and the Prophets thus take on a universal and spiritual meaning. The primordial view of the Deity, lost in the darkness of the past is re-instated, and the people are called to turn away from the adoration of evil. The Almighty God revealed by Jesus was the Heavenly Father, the Eternal Lord of Light and Wisdom, not the stern and wrathful Yahweh.
Jerusalem, the sacrosanct centre of Judean worship and of the 'House of Yahweh Elo-lim', Jesus tells the Samaritan woman will be superseded by the worship of "the Father in spi-rit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24)
The Pharisees and the Judean rel-igious authorities are repeatedly condemned by Jesus for their vain adherence to the 'Letter of the Law,' while neglecting its true inner meaning. Noteworthy is the opinion that the teachings of Jesus found support among the Essenes. They were a mystical community who profoundly esteemed the Prophets, proclaimed the need of repentance and bitterly opposed the Pharisees.
All the Gospels agree that Jesus came to reveal the Heavenly Father and his message made it possible to distinguish between the real Deity and the repelling appearances with which a wrong presentation of the Scriptures and the anthropomorphic ideas of passion-driven men invested Him.
Within the short period of a couple of centuries, the original message of Jesus was revised by new group of 'distorters' who claimed to possess the 'Word' of the one God. The established Christian Church was born and the true followers of the Christ driven underground or viciously killed. Once again the pure solar tradition was suppressed and the old process of counter-initiation, with the resultant spiritual bondage, again reigned supreme.
The Gnostic sects that emerged in the first couple of centuries after Christ, were consistently unremitting in their total opposition to the Torah's portrayal of Yahweh as a bloodthirsty, tribal god. They could not reconcile the stern anthropomorphic deity Yahweh with the Heavenly Father of Jesus. Hadn't John written that "no man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18), but the Torah proclaimed that Moses saw the back of God (Exodus 33:23). To them the god of the Old Testament was "the god of this world" - the evil one. A fallen angel, distinguished from the Heavenly Father and in fact hostile to the Supreme Being.
The identification of Yahweh with the devil (Adversary) the Gnostics believed had been made plain by Jesus himself when he said to the Judeans, "Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44), because he knew the true nature of the god to whom they gave their allegiance.
Benjamin Walker furnishes us with one of the best explanations of their doctrine in his Gnosticism Its History and Influence:
"Gnostic teachers were consistently unremitting in their harshness towards Jehovah [Yahweh], towards Moses and the Law, towards the prophets, and in general towards the whole of the Old Testament.
"Unlike the heavenly Father who is a loving God, Jehovah by his own admission is jealous, wrathful and full of vengeance, exacting retribution to the third and fourth generation. He is described as just (dikaios), in a sense implying legal severity and the imposition of the full rigour of the law unmitigated by any element of clemency or love.
"This merciless and irascible god drowned the whole world in a flood. He burned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah even though Abraham pleaded with him to spare them. Jehovah's chief spokesmen, in the gnostic view, were no better. Moses, immediately after receiving the commandment not to kill, came down from Mount Sinai and ordered the execution of three thousand persons (Exod. 32:28). A similar exhibition of callousness was shown by Elijah when he slew the 450 priests of Baal at the brook Kishon (1 Kings 18:40), and again by Elisha when in a rage he cursed some mischievous children in the name of Jehovah, whereupon two she-bears appeared out of the wood and tore forty-two of the innocents to pieces (2 Kings 2:24).
"This, they declared, did not take into account the thousands of men, women and children slain by the chosen people of this partisan deity. In the Old Testament these chosen people, for whom Jehovah reserves his blessings, are promised possession of a land that does not belong to them and that is already occupied by other settled tribes. But with Jehovah's blessing, and by his aid, they set out to conquer and subdue the rightful owners, and acquire their territories by usurpation, bloodshed and treachery.
"The gnostics condemned the Old Testament as promulgating a Jewish monopoly on God, and containing few elements of any value to non-Jews."
One of the most successful 'rivals' to the spreading Christian church was the movement established by Marcion. A contemporary of the Gnostic thinkers of the first half of the second century, Marcion taught that the Creator of the material world, the Demiurge, had nothing in common with the Heavenly Father, the Supreme Lord accessible only through the Son. In a lost work, the Antitheses, Marcion systematically laid out the points of opposition between the Heavenly Father and the Demiurge Yahweh, by contrasting the Old and New Testaments.
To Marcion, the Gospel message of Jesus, in its inspired truth and beauty, carried within itself its own evidence of its revelation and required no support from the Hebrew Scriptures or elsewhere to confirm the great truth that Christ was indeed the veritable and true messenger of God. Marcion maintained that Yahweh, as the Demiurge and the god of the Hebrew Scriptures, was not to be identified with, but was wholly alien to, Christ's Heavenly Father; that the Hebrew Scriptures, by their crudity, cruelty, and immorality, were a scandal to the faithful; that they were in no sense a part of the Christian Scripture, and should be renounced and discarded.
In the third century A.D. a prophet arose whose study of ancient Babylonian and other primary sources revealed that the Torah had been crudely plagiarised from the traditions of other and earlier people. These nearly forgotten sources the latter-day Judaic priests of Babylon and Jerusalem rewrote with a heavy hand, often merely adding their own fictional heroes to the triumphs and tribulations of other races, nations and cultures. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than in the "Book of Genesis". The prophet Mani denounced the deity Yahweh as the serpent-lord Satan in the hidden guise of God. Mani was flayed alive in A.D. 277, but his words persisted down the millennia giving rise to the medieval "heresies" of the Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars and others. Like the first Christians, these Gnostics were violently persecuted and exterminated by a Church that claimed to represent god on earth. However this time the Gnostics warned, the worship of the Demiurge, the Prince of Darkness and slavery, was hidden behind the name of Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Our greatest difficulty in any discussion of the preeminent metaphysical truths, particularly those relating to the Absolute and the cosmic influences, is that language is not adequate to express these concepts. Our words refer to things and to images that are substantial and material. Divine Knowledge relies on the inner spiritual perception and direct experience of truth.
"Man always has made his gods after his own image," observed the eminent Egyptologist Dr. Wallis Budge. The concept of the nature of God is fundamental to any religion. A people's understanding of the Deity determines their spiritual development and culture.
The original and universal solar tradition was of the One Supreme Lord of Light and proceeding from the One, a Spiritual Hierarchy. This hierarchy or Hidden Directorate was known in all cultures by various names, the Elohim, the gods and goddesses, angels and archangels etc. The Apostle John alludes to this hierarchy in his vision of the "Elders" before the Throne of God in the "Book of Revelation". This hierarchy in no way negates the truth of the Divine Unity, but in actuality affirms it.
With the unfolding of human history there came subsequent distortion of this primordial truth. Through a narrowness of spiritual perception and the growth of material possessiveness came the ascendency of the cruel and anthropomorphic deity answering to the darkest elements in the human soul. Man created god in his own lowest image and consequently became estranged from his Heavenly Father.
The Gospel of Truth, a Christian Gnostic text from the middle of the second century A.D., instructs us that, "Ignorance of the Father brought about anguish and terror; and the anguish grew solid like a fog, so that no one was able to see. For this reason error became powerful; it worked on its own matter foolishly, not having known the truth."
The mission of Jesus the Christ then, the Gnostics counsel, was to enlighten "those who were in darkness...He enlightened them; he showed them a way...For this reason error grew angry at him."
To the Gnostics, Christ came to deliver people from bondage to the illusion and slavery of material existence, i.e. the false worship of the Demiurge. For in every tradition the Saviour, the Messiah, the Deliverer, the Anointed One (Christ), the Son of the Heavenly Father comes to destroy and expose the work of the Adversary. John the Apostle explains, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8). The Gnostics and mystics interpreted this as facilitating the return to the true home above, the real source of light and life.
"The only representative of God on earth," wrote the mystic Meister Eckhart, "is the soul." The ageless conspiracy against the 'True God' may turn out to be ultimately a conspiracy against the 'True Man'.