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PhotoDrama of Creation
THE ABYDOS TABLET fully agrees with Genesis and is often corroborated by the Greek and Egyptian historians, Herodotus and Manetho. It shows Adam as the first Pharaoh, and Noah the twentieth, while the intermediate eighteen correspond with Genesis with remarkable accuracy. Mena's wife was Shesh--Hebrew, Isha--woman. Her first son was Pharaoh II.--Greek, Teta-Khent--guilty one; Hebrew, Kanighi; Latin, Athos; English, Cain. The tablet for Abel represents him as the non-resistant one.
THE ABYDOS TABLET shows the same order as Moses (Genesis 4-6), giving first the line of Cain down to Jabal, who was Kakan. At that time, evidently, the gods and demigods began to fill the Earth with violence. Seti's list omits the names of these. All demigods were destroyed in the Deluge. Noah is next in order with a regal title. But since he was not of Cain's family, THE ABYDOS TABLET there goes back, mentions Abel and Seth, and Seth's line just as given in Genesis (untitled), down to Noah. These all, as Pharaohs, have their royal ovals, but no supertitle. After Noah (Nofru), Pharaoh XX., the line runs through his son Ham (Chamu Chufu). Appropriately Noah's other sons are ignored; for Shem and Japheth went to Asia and Europe, while only Ham went to Egypt.
Thus wonderfully is the Bible being vindicated by the very inscriptions once supposed to contradict it.
Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." Besides this, he was Jehovah's Prophet, and so certified by Jesus. Although Moses lived two thousand years after Adam, history connected up very close to his time, see diagram.
Lines drawn to scale, showing overlapping of Adam's 930 years, Methuselah's 969, Shem's 600, Isaac's 180, Levi's 137, Amram's 137 and Moses' 120. The overlapping periods were respectively 243 years, 68 years, 50 years, 40 years, 58 years and 31 years.
Years after the Deluge, the world began to be populous. The narrative handed down by Noah and his sons was more or less forgotten, and the bow of promise lost much of its significance. Losing confidence in God, the people began the construction of the Tower of Babel, which was to save them in spite of God from any flood of waters of the future. Alas, how short-sighted, like others who possess much worldly wisdom! The Scriptures deprecate such lack of faith among Christians, and attempts to protect themselves and their earthly interests, leaving God and His Plan out of their calculations. Some today ignore God after this manner, saying, Trust not in the Lord for the things promised. If you wait for God to do for you, nothing will ever be done. In other words, we are living in a day when faith in the Divine will and in the Divine Plan and promises seems to be on the wane.
God settled the matter by confounding the language and scattering the people so that they could not co-operate in further foolish undertakings. The Bible refers to this, saying, "He hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him."
The diversity of languages is one of the most remarkable things in the world--an effectual barrier to prevent mankind from combining for the accomplishment of their own purposes, selfish or sinful. It has delayed the great Day of Wrath.
Now the language barriers are breaking down, and we find the tendency of humanity to re-unite. Unions and Trusts are being built by the Rich and the Poor--each for self-protection. The rule of kings and princes is threatened by the growth of common language and intelligence in the masses. Had these barriers been removed two thousand years ago, similar results would have come too soon, according to the divine purpose which is shaping Earth's affairs in preparation for Messiah's Kingdom, which will bless the entire human family.
Abraham became the friend of God by his manifestation of faith, when in response to God's invitation he left his own country and wandered in Canaan. By this obedience he became heir of the Promise, "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed." St. Paul explains (Galatians 4:23,24.) that Abraham's wife represented this Covenant, or Promise. Sarah's barrenness corresponded to the long-deferred coming of Christ in fulfilment of the Promise. Isaac typified Messiah, the Heir of the Promise. Isaac's bride, Rebecca, typified the Elect Church, the Bride of Christ and His joint-heir in the Promise.
St. Paul says that Hagar typified the Law Covenant made with Israel at Mt. Sinai, and that the nation of Israel was typified in Ishmael. (Galatians 4:25.) As Hagar and Ishmael were cast off when Isaac was born, and had almost perished, so the Jewish people have been cast off from Divine favor for eighteen centuries, and today are nearly famished. As the angel of God pointed to the fountain of water, and Ishmael was revived, so God's message now is pointing the Jews to a spring of water; their Zionistic hopes are reviving.
The sacrifice of Isaac typified the sacrifice of Christ, necessary in order for Him to become the Spiritual Seed of Abraham with power to bless the world.
The servant sent to call Rebecca, the bride of Isaac, is beautifully explained to represent the work of the Holy Spirit in calling the Church to become the Bride of Christ and His associate in the great work of blessing Israel and all the families of the Earth.--Acts 3:19-26.
Rebecca's return with Eliezer represents the Church's journey during this Gospel Age to meet Christ, the Bridegroom who will receive her at His Second Advent. Abraham typified Jehovah God, through whose promise the blessing of all the families of Earth will come. This promise has been the hope of Israel for thirty-five centuries.--Galatians 3:29.
The Sodomites possessed a very rich valley and comparatively avoided that feature of the curse declaring that bread must be won by sweat of face. These conditions were conducive to the selfishness and sin which the Bible charges--"pride, fulness of bread and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy; and they committed abominations; therefore I took them away as I saw good."--Ezekiel 16:49,50.
God saw good to make the destruction of the Sodomites an example of the fate of sinners--death, not everlasting torture, St. Jude says. Jesus declares, "Fire came down from God out of heaven and destroyed them all."--Luke 17:29.
But the Bible teaches that the Sodomites are not hopelessly destroyed--that God's mercy through Christ includes the Sodomites, sinners though they were. Jesus Himself, as well as the Prophet Ezekiel, declares that at His Second Coming in His Messianic Kingdom He will give a trial, or judgment, to the world in general, to all who do not have an opportunity in the present life. The Sodomites will then have opportunity to hear of God's grace, to accept and rejoice in it.
Jesus declared that in that glorious Epoch the condition of the Sodomites will be more tolerable than that of the people to whom He preached at His First Advent. The reason for this He explains, saying that if the Sodomites had been granted the same opportunity afforded the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes; wherefore, in the future testing time, "it will be more tolerable for them" than for people who heard and rejected the Message.--Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24.
Ezekiel's prophecy (16:49-61) is most explicit. It declares Restitution and blessing
for Israel, and incidentally mentions that the Sodomites will receive favor from God at
the same time--under the New Covenant, under Messiah's Kingdom. "There's a wideness
in God's mercy, like the wideness of the sea."
Melchisedec was a priest of God, and at the same time King of Salem (peace). Abraham acknowledged him and paid him tithes. God prophetically declared through the Psalmist, that Messiah would be a Priest of the Melchisedec order, forever.--Psalm 110:4.
The Jews overlooked this prophecy and thought that everything of a priestly character in connection with God's Plan would be fulfilled through the Aaronic priesthood, which was merely typical. Their expectancy of the Messianic Kingdom and glory blinded them to His work as a sin-atoning Priest.
They saw not that Messiah is to be one of many members. Jesus is the Head and the Elect Church the Body of the Melchisedec Priest. Christians are deeply interested in the Messianic Reign; also in the fact that to become members of that Royal Priesthood means a participation with Jesus in the sacrifice of earthly life, as St. Paul exhorts, in Romans 12:1.
The declaration that Melchisedec was without father or mother, without beginning of days or end of years, has puzzled Bible students until recently. The interpretation is now quite satisfactory and simple: Melchisedec was without father or mother in the priesthood. He did not inherit this priesthood. He was without beginning of days and years in respect to his office, in that no record was made when his priesthood began, nor any provision made for a successor. In these respects he typified Messiah.--Hebrews 7:1-4.
Melchisedec is supposed to have been one of the Shepherd Kings who invaded Egypt and built the Great Pyramid, covering twelve acres, known for ages as one of the Seven Wonders of the world--about 2170 B.C. Astronomers tell that its measurements indicate the length of the year, the weight of the Earth, the distance to the sun, etc. Its interior passages represent human history--Downward, the course of sin and death; Upward, the Law Age, the Gospel Age, the Kingdom glory of the Church, and Human Restitution.
The story of Job, Prophet of Uz, a contemporary of Abraham and Melchisedec, is full of interest to Bible students. Not only the facts, but their typical significance, interests us, when we learn that Job's experiences represented the fall and rising again of humanity.
Job was wealthy, honored and prosperous. Suddenly disaster came upon him. A bolt of lightning struck the house where his sons and daughters were having a birthday party. They were all killed. Then he lost his sheep, asses, goats, camels and herds. Under the stress, he lost his health and broke out with boils from head to foot. Next he lost his friends, who declared that all this meant his utter repudiation by God. Finally, his wife turned against him and said, "You are cursed of God; I wish you would die!" Poor Job wished the same and prayed, "O that Thou wouldst hide me in Sheol [the tomb] until Thy wrath be past; that Thou wouldst appoint me a set time and [in resurrection] remember me." (Job 14:13.) Messiah will fulfil this prophecy.
All of this loss of health, strength, friends and wealth taught Job valuable lessons. Similarly, poor humanity is learning important lessons of its need of Divine care.
Under God's providence Job was restored to prosperity, health, etc. He got back just as many children, twice as many oxen, sheep, camels and asses. Bible students tell us that it ultimately will be so with humanity, according to the Bible; that the curse of sin and death will be removed--that instead the blessing of God will flow down upon the human family for a thousand years, giving back life to all who have gone down into death, and multiplying the blessings of the Earth more than double. This lesson is further illustrated in Israel's Jubilee Year, when all debts were canceled and the people returned to their original possessions. (Leviticus 25:13.) This typed the period referred to as the "Times of Restitution."--Acts 3:19-23.
Bible students seem well agreed that Isaac represents Christ. As Abraham gave his son Isaac, in whom centered the promises, to be sacrificed, so the Heavenly Father gave His Son, Jesus, to be the Sin-Offering for Adam and his race, and received Him again from the dead, as Abraham figuratively received Isaac.--Hebrews 11:17-19.
Isaac's bride, Rebecca, typified the Church of Christ, which is to become His Bride in the resurrection, at His Second Coming. The correspondencies are remarkable. If Isaac represented Jesus, then Abraham would represent the Heavenly Father, and Eliezer, the servant, sent to get the bride, would typify the work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
The custom in olden times respecting marriage differed from the custom of our day. God evidently arranged that Jewish customs should illustrate spiritual things. Thus, instead of Isaac's seeking a bride, Abraham sought a bride for him, sending by Eliezer. Thus the picture is complete, as Jesus declared, "No man can come unto Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him"--invite him.--John 6:44.
As Rebecca was found with the sheep, watering them, so those called to be the Bride of Christ are usually found, not in fellowship with wolves, but with the Lord's sheep. Moreover, Rebecca and the sheep were found at the well, symbolically representing the desire of the Little Flock class for the Water of Life--the well representing the Bible.
Rebecca was found serving water to the flock, representing well those whom Jesus would select for His Bride class. He is seeking, not for those who would lord it over the sheep, but those who feed, refresh and serve them.
The blessing upon Rebecca was, "Be thou the mother of thousands of millions." (Genesis 24:60.) To some Bible students this implies that the Church of Christ will mother in regeneration the millions of Adam's race, as the glorified Redeemer will be their "Everlasting Father."--Isaiah 9:6.
Whatever uninspired writers have said in condemnation of Jacob, the inspired writers of the Bible say nothing in special condemnation, but much in his praise. His faith was specially commended.
Jacob was the acknowledged heir of the great Covenant God made with his grandfather Abraham. This promise was considered so important, and faith in it so necessary, that God subsequently confirmed it by His oath. Divine Wisdom indicated beforehand that the blessing would not come through Ishmael, but through Isaac.--Genesis 21:12.
St. Paul states that this Divine decision was made before either Jacob or Esau had done anything bearing upon the choice. God simply foreordained that the blessing should come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later through Jacob's family, the children of Israel.--Romans 9:11,12.
Esau loved pleasure and sport. Jacob, his twin brother, born a moment later, loved the Abrahamic Promise, and counted all earthly possessions as nothing in comparison to the gaining of that prize. Both men were hungry one day; Jacob had prepared himself a feast, but instead of giving one half to his brother, he offered him the whole of it in exchange for his inheritance in the Promise made to Abraham. Esau gladly accepted, esteeming the food more precious than a promise which seemed likely never to be fulfilled.--Genesis 25:31-34.
Jacob's mother, knowing Esau's lack of character, concluded that Jacob, having purchased the birthright, might properly impersonate Esau and obtain the blessing. She knew that it would mean to him loss of home and risk of life. Fleeing from home Jacob lay down at night by the way, and had the dream of a ladder reaching from his headstone clear up to Heaven, with angels ascending and descending. The dream represented the fulfilment of the Abrahamic Covenant, in which Jacob was deeply interested, the reestablishment of peace and fellowship between Heaven and Earth.
Jacob had become a patriarch, the father of twelve sons, the younger two of whom were Joseph and Benjamin. The elder ten kept the flocks. Joseph went to them as his father's messenger to learn of their welfare, and to take them delicacies. His brethren hated him through jealousy, sold him into slavery in Egypt, and took his elegant coat of many colors, bedraggled it in the blood of a kid and the dust and brought it to their father. Jacob identified it as Joseph's; and heart-broken he cried bitterly, "I will mourn for my son Joseph until I join him in Sheol." (Genesis 37:35.) Sheol is the Hebrew word for tomb.
This is the first use of the word Sheol in the Bible. Sheol is the only word translated hell in the Old Testament, Common Version. All scholars now admit it really signifies the tomb, the death-state. Jacob did not think of his beloved son as having gone to a Sheol of eternal torture, nor did he have the thought of joining him there. Jacob knew of no such place as Dante and others describe.
The explanation is simple. In old English literature the words "hell," "grave" and "pit" were used interchangeably, as in the translation of the Old Testament. Sheol is translated grave and pit more times than it is translated hell in our Common Version. Its equivalent in New Testament Greek is Hades, also signifying the tomb, the grave, as all scholars agree. Jesus was in Hades, Sheol, but was raised the third day by Divine Power, from the tomb, the death condition.
The translators of the Revised Version Bible refused to translate these words, Sheol and Hades, by our English word Hell, because the gradual change of language has attached a totally different meaning from what it originally had--the grave. See marginal readings of Psalms 55:15; 86:13.
The learned translators, however, could not agree to render these words grave and tomb, and left them untranslated. Compare versions and margin of Isaiah 14:9,11.
Joseph, sold into slavery in Egypt, was under Divine supervision. His trials and difficulties worked for his development and faith. God ultimately honored him in Egypt with a position second only to Pharaoh. In harmony with his dream, there were seven years of plenty, and then seven years of drought and famine. Acting under the guidance of his dream, as the king's agent, Joseph stored up wheat enough in the first seven years to carry the people over the famine. Thus Joseph was their savior--life-giver.
Joseph was a type of Jesus who, rejected by His brethren, the Jewish nation, was exalted by the Heavenly Father to be next to Himself in glory and power. Joseph was the life- preserver, bread-giver, to the Egyptians. Jesus is yet to be the life-preserver of the world of mankind during His reign, giving the willing and obedient the Bread of everlasting life.
The famine affected Jacob's family. The ten sons went to Egypt to buy wheat, and knew not Joseph as Pharaoh's prince. Joseph asked if they were not spies, and inquired about their family matters. Then he gave them wheat, telling them that the famine would continue, and they would need more wheat, but that if they came again, and hoped to receive it, their younger brother Benjamin must come with them to prove their story. Benjamin was Joseph's full brother.
When the time came to journey to Egypt for more wheat, Jacob refused to let Benjamin go, until the others refused to go without him. He then said, Take the lad; but if you do not bring him back to me alive, it will mean my death; it will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol--the grave.
This is the second occurrence in the Bible of the word Sheol, which really signifies the tomb, but is mistranslated hell thirty-one times in our Common Version. It is the only word rendered hell in the Bible for 4,150 years after Adam's fall. Hades is the New Testament equivalent for Sheol. See St. Peter's quotation of Psalm 16:10 in Acts 2:27.