Friday, September 28, 2012

By What Right Have Super-Secularist Opinion Makers Elevated Themselves To Be Only Spokespeople For Western Values?

If nothing's sacred then we are in trouble

IN June I had the privilege of moderating the 10th Abrahamic faiths conference in Sydney. The theme of the conference was the family. We were a pretty mixed lot of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and, interestingly, all the speakers were women.
Naturally, as mothers and grandmothers we found some very strong unifying ideals. We all acknowledged the social function of the family; but because this was a conference based on our common faith heritage, we also strongly confirmed that for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike the family belongs not just in the realm of the everyday but in the realm of the sacred. It is the image of the eternal bond between God the Father and man, his creature.
One of the most moving and strongly expressed addresses on this topic came from the keynote speaker, Maha Abdo, a highly respected Muslim female activist and executive officer of the United Muslim Women Association.
Thinking back on the conference, I realised that perhaps one of the worst aspects of what occurred in Sydney and across the world in the past few weeks is the loss of respect for decent, ordinary people.
In the rush to condemn the violence and analyse its causes, not only have we ignored many of the things we have in common with Australians of the Islamic faith but some of the opinionated have started to condemn all faiths. Atheists and the superficial secularists have seen an opportunity to weigh in and condemn all religion, and particularly what sparked all this: the idea of blasphemy.
We in Australia are used to ignorance about religion, but this reaction is almost as extreme as that of the Muslims in Hyde Park. It is a kind of reverse intolerance. It declares, by some perverse logic, such as that of US political scientist Emanuele Ottolenghi, that the shocking Muslim reaction to blasphemy justifies further trampling on the intimation of the sacred, an intimation that all religions, not just Muslims, have in common.
Accordingly we get the puerile and quite revolting notion that pornographic images and blasphemy are equated with freedom of speech. Liberty is not merely being unconstrained by blasphemy laws, as in Australia, but we must deliberately go out of our way to insult, to commit blasphemy, so that, to quote one correspondent, Islamists can "catch up with the rest of the world on freedom of speech and freedom of religion".
Does one need further proof that some commentators simply don't get the problem Islam has with the West at all?
Another aspect of the fallout from the riots in Sydney is that although it has complex origins, we have fallen into two glib camps. You are either a proponent of "Western values" and secular "freedom" or else you are naively on the side of the "mad Islamists", a victim of "moral relativism".
By what right have the super-secularist opinion makers, who despise the sense of sacredness common to all religious people, elevated themselves to be the only spokespeople for "Western values"? Meanwhile, the religious traditions that attempt to put themselves into the public square on social issues with coherent, ancient, common philosophies are derided as irrelevant and narrowly religious.
Our understanding of our origins, particularly of the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, is so pathetically weak. How can we attempt to combat the real clash of cultures that Islamo-fascism presents to the West when we don't really understand or respect our own tradition? Hence we have no real yardstick to judge freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Blasphemy? Who cares? That is the message from those for whom religion, the numinous, the spiritual in general, is a no-go area in the great democratic-values free-for-all. And what values would those be, exactly? The values that allow 100,000 abortions every year, the values that try to equate any sexual relationship with the sacred relationship that can of itself generate children, the very nucleus of the family? And what about that "value" of free speech? A great value, to be sure - unless you are Cory Bernardi.
And where do these values come from? The opinionistas usually identify them with great pomposity and certitude as Enlightenment values. Was that the Enlightenment that produced the United States of America, or the Enlightenment that produced the Terror and then the Directoire? What of the values that produced the Decalogue? They are beyond the ken of many of the opinionists.
We will never understand the human in each other unless we understand what other human beings hold sacred. What is more, we cannot understand others' sense of the sacred unless we take the time and make the effort to understand what we should hold sacred.
The problem is we have lost that sense. We are completely cut off from our Judeo-Christian roots, so we know nothing about how to argue about religion. What relevance can Pakistani blasphemy laws have for us, even if they are abhorrent? We point the finger at others but it is partly an attempt to compensate for our own intolerances. Anti-blasphemy laws make more sense than the "hate speech" laws we have at present, which can cause a person to be quite arbitrarily hauled up before "human rights" tribunals, the secular equivalent of blasphemy tribunals.
I, for one, am fed up with having to put up with anti-Christian blasphemy. I can't see how Enlightenment values are helped by this. Paul Kelly touched on this; it stems from the notion that there are no sacred domains.
Today's secularism is merely disdain for religion. In fact, there is a growing body of opinion that religion is dangerous. The voices of religion do have to compete in the same arena as every other idea - no matter how lacking in philosophical depth - but respect all around, especially for dearly held beliefs, is not such a bad thing.
I have lived among Jews in the eastern suburbs and Muslims in southwest Sydney. I have often sat with Muslims and Jews, intelligent people with strong religious and secular ideals, keen to co-operate with and understand one another. It is very wrong to characterise all Muslims as nutters.
However, as some imams have pointed out, there are plenty of ignorant ones, and there are plenty of young and unemployed ones. The mean Muslim birthrate is four times the national average and, especially in southwest Sydney, Muslim unemployment rates are more than double the average.
Surely this combination, as the English experience shows, leads to a drift towards crazy fundamentalist do-it-yourself garage mosques. Whether the drift continues is partly up to us.
The marginalisation of young Muslims is not the reason for the recent outbreak. It is being fomented by extremists taking advantage of the large numbers of Muslim youth. But neither is marginalising them the answer.
We can't trivialise, insult and stamp on things that people hold sacred and, at the same time, expect to have our own vague ideas held sacred.
The only answer to this is for all the people who do still have some reverence for real values, not just of the Enlightenment but perhaps those contained in the Decalogue that preceded it by thousands of years, to speak out.


Taken from:

John R. Salverda On Textual Links Between Noah and Jonah Stories


Your recent entries to the site "Jonah the Prophet"
have prompted this comment from me.

I too have noticed striking similarities of textual matter and style between the Scriptural stories of Noah and Jonah, and have done a bit of research in this area. You may like to refer to the Concordia Seminary of St. Louis website ( <> ) where the following is noted;
“Another example demonstrating that the narrator of Jonah employs earlier texts – while also subtly changing them – is his use of the Noah cycle.    In a broader stroke Eric Hesse and Isaac Kikawada believe that there are numerous connections between Jonah and Genesis 1-11,  but what follows is a representative list of phrases, characters, and images from Genesis 5:28 10:32 that find resonance within the narrative of Jonah.  First, “one hundred twenty years” (Gen 6:3) – this is the length of time allotted by Yahweh to human life; it is also how many thousands of people are in Nineveh at the narrative’s end (4:11).  Second, “the evil of humankind” (Gen 6:5) – this is what Yahweh observes on the face of the earth; it is also what has come to his attention with respect to the Ninevites in Jonah 1:2 (“for their evil has come up before me”).  Third, Yahweh changes his mind (Gen 6:6) concerning his very good creation (Gen. 1:31) and wants to destroy it.  Yahweh’s change of mind is what the Ninevites bank on in Jonah 3:9 (“who knows, God may turn and change his mind …”).  This is exactly what God does in 3:10; in 4:2 Jonah states that it is Yahweh’s nature to do this.  The fourth connection between Noah and Jonah is the phrase “... people together with animals” (Gen 6:7). This phrase – or something very similar to it – occurs throughout the Noah narrative (e.g. Gen. 7:23); the book of Jonah is remarkable for its very deliberate inclusion of animals along with people, both in how the Ninevites and their animals repent (3:7-9) and in how God presents his final question to Jonah (4:10-11).   Fifth, violence (Gen 6:11) is the reason given for God's decision to destroy the earth and its inhabitants by means of the Flood; it is also the sin that the Ninevites recognize as their own, and repent of (3:8).  Sixth, “forty days and forty nights” (Gen 7:4) is the period of time that the rains last, destroying all human and animal life that is not with Noah in the ark.  Similarly, this is the amount of time from the moment of Jonah's prophecy until Nineveh is to be “turned upside down” (3:4).  This association of “forty days” as a period of testing with the result of a new beginning is a link to these two stories.   The seventh connection is  the phrase “and God made a wind blow” (Gen 8:1).  Through the Flood narrative Yahweh actively controls individual winds for specific purposes; for example in Gen. 8:1 he manages the wind to cause the flood waters to subside.  In Jonah, Yahweh hurls a wind into the sea to create a storm (1:4) and, later, sends a searing wind from the east that adds to Jonah's misery (4:8).   Eighth, the statement “… nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done" (Gen 8:21) is the eternal pledge that Yahweh makes to Noah, his family, and to all living creatures after the Flood. This pledge is, to a great extent, the motivation behind Jonah's refusal to be Yahweh’s prophet to Nineveh as he knows that this God has voluntarily given up total destruction (at least by Flood) as a means for dealing with the habitually violent (4:2).  The final example of intertextual echoes from Noah to Jonah is  Yahweh’s promise, “I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature ... my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh” (Gen. 9:9a, 10a).  In this covenant Yahweh specifically includes not only humankind but also animals, domestic and wild.  This means that the umbrella of this covenant is extended to non Israelite humans (the Ninevites) as well as their animals, whose donning of sackcloth and bleating perhaps serve to remind Yahweh of this promise (3:7-9).” 
There is more, but you get the idea (I would urge anyone interested in this area of research to visit the Concordia website and read the entire article where there are some intriguing connections between Elijah and Jonah as well).
I have been using this line of reasoning to explain certain obvious references to the story of Noah in the Greek myth of Jason (possibly a shibboleth of the Greek version of the name of Jonah, “Jonas”) and the Argonauts (It must furthermore be admitted that there are also several references to the story of Eden, Abraham, and the Exodus in the tale.). Such Noahic references include the release of a dove by the captain of the Argo in order to determine whether it is safe to proceed (the dove also figures in the story of Jonah in that the name “Jonah” means “dove.”). Also the name of the ship itself “the Argo” is plausibly somehow related to the “name” of Noah’s ship the Ark. Jason’s Argonauts are often represented to as “Minyans” and the story “Argonautica” is called by the Greek mythographers “the Minyan tale.” The "Minni," named in connection with Ararat, by Jeremiah (from Jeremiah 51:27), are the same People as those mentioned by Josephus (quoting Nicolaus of Damascus), who uses the Greek form "Minyas," (Antiquities i. I. 6,) to indicate a place in Armenia, the country where Noah’s Ark landed (The idea being that the Minyans, connected with the Argonautica, certainly would have been aware of the story of Noah‘s Ark.). In fact, the general destination of the Agro, Colchis, could easily be considered as a subdivision of the land of Ararat (Urartu) where the Ark landed. Lastly there is the main theme of the Book of Jonah, namely that the God of Jonah is the God, not only of the Israelites but of the whole world. Similarly the occupants of the Ark are the ancestors of all of mankind and the religion and laws that were propagated by Noah are universally applicable. The Jewish Legends by Ginzberg relate the notion that the companion sailors of Jonah were representatives from every nation on Earth and the “cargo” that they carried (and jettisoned to lighten the load) was actually each one’s particular idol. Likewise the companions of Jason were the “heroes” from each of the city-states of Greece and the purpose of the tale was to join them all in the same religious quest.

-John R. Salverda

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Melchizedek Not An ‘Enlightened Pagan’


Bible Critics Can Overstate Idea Of ‘Enlightened Pagan’


Damien F. Mackey



“Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22)


“I will arouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece” (Zechariah 9:13)





Here it will be argued that - contrary to what is often believed about the following biblical characters - none of these can really accurately be designated as an ‘enlightened pagan’:



2.      RAHAB (in genealogy of David and Jesus)

3.      RUTH

4.      ACHIOR (in my Catholic Bible, Book of Judith)

5.      JOB

6.      (Probably also) the Magi.


Let us consider why.


1.      MELCHIZEDEK was not an enlightened Canaanite priest-king. Melchizedek was the great Shem, son of Noah. This is apparently a Jewish tradition and I have long accepted it. Now, this is all explained very well in a recent article that I have posted at:



Regarding 2, 3 and 4, for Rahab (as specified above), Ruth and Achior to have been former Gentile pagans, Canaanite in the first case (2.) and Moabites in the other two instances (3. and 4.), then this would have meant a serious flouting of Mosaic law and prohibitions: Deuteronomy 7 in the case of Rahab (see article posted at:, and Deuteronomy 23:3 for the presumed Moabites (see article posted at:



2.      RAHAB. The Canaanite harlot, Rahab, whose ‘faith’ both Paul (Hebrews 11:31) and James (2:25) praised incidentally (like Jesus with the Roman centurion, Luke 7:1-10), was not she who became the ancestress of David and Jesus, despite what is universally taught. The true situation, as well explained in the above-mentioned “Rachab” article, is that Rahab the harlot is to be distinguished from the Israelite woman, Rachab (note different spelling), whose name is to be found in the Davidic genealogical list.


3.      RUTH. I have long believed, too, that Ruth of the Judges era could not plausibly have been a Moabitess for reasons already explained (Deuteronomy 23:3), but considered especially in my extensive research on the identity of Achior, presumably a Moabite, in the Book of Judith (see 4. next). I discussed Achior at length in Volume Two of my university thesis, A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background (accessible at: Whilst Ruth, a woman, apparently gets away with it, Achior, a male, does not (see 4. next). Then necessity of Ruth’s being an Israelite is well argued in the above-mentioned “Ruth” article.


4.      ACHIOR. I argued at length in the above-mentioned university thesis that Achior was not a Moabite at all but a Naphtalian Israelite. He was Ahikar (var. Achior, Vulgate), the nephew of Tobit (Book of Tobit 1:22). The mistaken notion that Achior was a Moabite leader is perhaps the primary reason why the Jews have not accepted the Book of Judith as part of the scriptural canon. I live in the hope that this can one day be rectified.   


5.      JOB I have firmly identified as Tobit’s very son, Tobias. See our site, “Holy Job Was An Israelite”, Thus the righteous Job was, not an enlightened Edomite (and not an Arabian sheikh), but a sage of Israel.


6.      THE MAGI. There is some tradition that has them descending from the family of Job. I would suspect that the “east” in which the Magi dwelt was, not Persia by any means, but the same approximate “east” wherein Job dwelt, in the land of Uz, in Transjordanian Bashan. See our Jobian articles at site, “Holy Job Was An Israelite”. 




Our {AMAIC} appreciation of the cultural, sapiential and spiritual supremacy of the holy people of Israel (the sincere Yahwists) has led to further important Israelitic identifications of certain famous historical characters (even dynasties), such as:


-          the gifted Senenmut (Senmut) of 18th dynasty Egyptian history, consort of Hatshepsut, with King Solomon. See our site: Hatshepsut herself rightly being identified by Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos, I) with the biblical Queen [of] Sheba. See our site:

-          King Hammurabi the Lawgiver as King Solomon again, this time in his guise as ruler of Babylon. See our site:


And, selectively following Dr. E. Metzler, “Conflict of Laws in the Israelite Dynasty of Egypt” (, I have accepted his identification of Egypt’s 18th dynasty as Israelite, with the mighty Thutmoside pharaohs as Davidide.

The El Amarna dynasty was, I believe, a Baalistic Israelite resurgence under King Ahab (Akhnaton) and his wicked Phoenician wife, Queen Nefertiti (Jezebel). See e.g. our:

General Jehu is the ambiguous Horemheb, making the 19th dynasty that he (Horemheb) initiated, as Syro-(Israelite?).

And I further suspect that Egypt’s 20th dynasty was Judaean again, with pharaoh Ramses III as the mighty King Amaziah of Judah. See our:



To conclude


Whilst there are indeed to be found in the Scriptures some highly ‘enlightened pagans’ or Gentiles of ‘faith’, such as Rahab the harlot and the Roman centurion, the Old Testament ones at least would not have been allowed into the Yahwistic fold according to the very strict Laws of Moses.





Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Melchizedek Was Shem Son of Noah

The Identity of Melchizedek


Bill Lavers

So many have sought the identity of Melchizedek, yet nothing of a definitive nature has ever been forthcoming from their deliberations. The reason for their failure - their stumbling block may be a more apt way of putting it - has always been that single verse to be found in the seventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, namely, verse 3, which says of him that he was: “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abiding a priest continually.”

____________ _ ____________

Before we consider the reason why the author of Hebrews made this seemingly sweeping statement about Melchizedek, I want you to take particular note that, in the three verses where he is spoken of in Genesis 14, verses 18 to 20, nothing whatever is said that would intimate that he was anything more than a normal human being. Yes, he was a king; but so was David. He was also the priest of the Most High God; yet, in Psalm 82:6, God refers to His people as children of the Most High, and adds in verse 7: “but ye shall die like men.”

Where, then, did the author of Hebrews get the idea that Melchizedek was anything more than a mortal man - if, indeed, that is what he was seeking to convey? The only other place in the Old Testament where Melchizedek is mentioned is in Psalm 110:4; but, again, there is nothing in that verse that would depict him as being an immortal being, although some might argue otherwise, in view of the reference God made to the age-abiding nature of Christ’s affirmed priesthood: “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

God was there simply expressing the unique nature of Melchizedek’s priesthood - that it did not pass to another as did that of Aaron. In like manner, therefore, the priesthood He was conferring on Christ, being in resurrection life and glory, would never be taken from him, that it would remain his unique status in the Father’s eyes. There can be no doubt that the author of Hebrews understood this to be the meaning and intent of the Father’s words by what he says in Hebrews 7:20-25. Here is what we are told in that passage of scripture, as recorded in The Jerusalem Bible.

“What is more, this was not done without the taking of an oath. The others, indeed, were made priests without an oath; but he with an oath sworn by the one who declared to him: The Lord has sworn an oath which he will never retract: you are a priest, and for ever. And it follows that it is a greater covenant for which Jesus has become our guarantee. Then there used to be a great number of those other priests, because death put an end to each one of them; but this one, because he remains for ever, can never lose his priesthood. It follows, then, that his power to save is utterly certain, since he is living for ever to intercede for all who come to God through him.”

In no way was God confirming some type of immortal status upon Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4; and certainly not with the meaning that we have so erroneously and so foolishly assigned to the words of the author of Hebrews 7:3. Had that been the case, then God would have been placing Melchizedek on a par with Himself, proclaiming him as an ever existent being, having neither a beginning nor an end of life. Why, even Christ was born from a mother’s womb.

Hebrews 7:3

How, then, are we to understand Hebrews 7:3? Before I ventured on writing this paper, I browsed through a number of Bible Commentaries and Bible Dictionaries to find out which, if any, actually backed up what I believed to be the answer to the problem, and gave a simple and perfectly rational approach by which the solution could best be explained and most easily understood. The one I found which best met these criteria was the Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, under the article, Epistle to the Hebrews in the second volume of the set. The following, therefore, is basically a brief summary of that part of the article having particular relevance to our subject.

The article shows that the answer we are seeking actually becomes abundantly clear when we simply consider the intention that the author had in mind when he wrote those first three verses of chapter 7. Notice that he was giving a summary of the facts about Melchizedek as they were stated in Genesis 14:18-20, adding a brief commentary to point out their religious significance, and extracting from those facts exactly what were the determining marks of the Melchizedek order. To make the facts serve his purpose, the writer found it necessary to attach importance, not merely to what is said of Melchizedek, but to what is not said - to the silences as well as the utterances of history. He was also giving ideal meaning to the names occurring in the story.

By this means, he attains what he set out to do. He defines and clarifies the typology of the Melchizedek priesthood. Look at those first three verses and read them with this in mind. You will see that he brings five distinct types to our attention. Taking them in the order of presentation, we are shown that the Melchizedek priesthood is, first, a royal priesthood, Melchizedek having kingly status. Secondly it is a righteous priesthood; he is said to have been king of righteousness in verse 2. Thirdly, and again emphasized in verse 2, his priesthood promoted and exercised peace; he was “also king of Salem, which is king of peace.” Fourthly, and I want you to notice this carefully, his priesthood was a personal, not an inherited dignity, because, as far as the record was concerned, he was without father and without mother; and only in that sense. Fifth, and lastly, it is an eternal priesthood; without beginning of days or end of life - again, so far as the record is concerned.

By making this ingenious commentary on the narrative in Genesis, the author is trying to fix the characters of an ideal priesthood. He is portraying to the minds of his readers the highest conceivable type of priesthood: that the priest must be really, not ritually, holy; one whose priestly ministry is a course of gracious condescension - a royal priest. He must also be one who, by his personal worth and official acts, can establish a reign of righteousness, peace, and perfect fellowship between man and God. Finally, he must be one who ever lives, whose priesthood does not pass from him to another, thereby giving an absolute guarantee for the preservation and maintenance of peace.

Order of Melchizedek

This was the perfect type of priesthood - after the order of Melchizedek - that the Most High God was conferring on Christ. As the author seeks to assure his readers in the last two verses of the sixth chapter of his epistle: “Here we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching right through beyond the veil where Jesus has entered before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever” (Jerusalem Bible).

With these facts in mind, therefore, allowing us to accept Melchizedek as a mortal human being, his identity need no longer remain an enigma. There really was only one renowned and august personage in that period of Old Testament history who could have held that divinely appointed office of authority. That person was Shem, one of Noah’s three sons who were born prior to the great Noachian Deluge and came through the Flood with their wives and their parents - the only eight souls saved from that old world.

Shem was 98 years of age when God brought the great flood upon the earth. He was not the eldest of Noah’s sons, as one would assume from the order in which they are each presented in Genesis 5:32; and the boys were certainly not triplets, all born together when Noah was five hundred years old. That was obviously the age of Noah when the first child was born, that son being Japheth. This is clear from Genesis 10:21, which specifically says that Japheth was the elder - and he was the elder by at least two years where Shem was concerned, as can easily be understood from what we are told in Genesis 10:1.

I don’t want to spend an unnecessary amount of time on the boys’ ages; but they do reveal an interesting trait that we find time and again in the scriptural record, that the one on whom the greatest blessings fell was often the youngest. I have no way of proving directly from the scriptures that Ham was Noah’s second son, thereby making Shem the third and last in the birth process, but Jewish tradition certainly holds this to be true. In volume 5 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary, page 1195, under the sub-heading Jewish Tradition, we are told this:

“The Tannaitic and Amoraitic teachers considered Shem, Shem the Great, as he is called by some, Noah’s youngest son. They say that in the Bible he is mentioned first among the members of his family because he was the most righteous, wisest, and most important son, not because he was the oldest”

Generations of Shem

In that most important genealogical table, entitled The Generations of Shem, which begins with verse 10 in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, we are given the name and age of each of the patriarchs in the righteous line of descent from Shem. You will find those same patriarchs listed in Luke’s genealogical record of Christ’s ancestry from Adam. In Genesis 11, you will notice a break at the end of verse 26. It is interesting that, at that point in the patriarchal line of descent from Shem, we now find The Generations of Terah taking precedence. It is as though God is here saying: “I now want you to take particular note of the lineal relation of Shem to Abraham.”

There is an interesting note on this which is given in The New Bible Commentary Revised, page 92. The short account opens by saying that “Man’s kingship under God had found expression in Noah’s kingdom in the ark. Now the kingdom of God is given to Abram to be possessed in God’s promises, by faith.” In other words, from the time of Noah, God had given His kingdom inheritance into the charge of Shem and his patriarchal line, because it was through Shem that the righteousness of Noah, in God’s eyes, found its full expression.

Each of those ancient patriarchs, then, under the overall leadership and divinely directed and inspired guidance of their forefather, Shem, were responsible, before God, for governing that area of the world that God was later to give as an inheritance to Abraham and his seed. One might wonder, then, why the break in Shem’s genealogical record was made with Terah, and not with Terah’s son Abram. Isn’t it interesting, by the way, to see that Terah, like Noah, had three sons, named as Abram, Nahor, and Haran in verse 27, and that, like Shem, it was the youngest of the three, Abram, in whom the righteous line was destined to continue.

But to get back to the theme of our discussion; why do we find the break in Shem’s genealogical record made with Terah and not with Abram, or Abraham as he was later to be called. Again, we find the answer in The New Bible Commentary Revised that I quoted from above. “The appearance of Terah’s (not Abram’s) name in the 11:27a heading accords with the Genesis framework’s concern with the genealogical origins of the twelve tribes of Israel, for they stemmed from Terah not only through Abram but through Sarai (20:12) and through Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel of the lineage of Nahor, son of Terah.”

The answer to so many questions is so clearly answered in those genealogical records given us in Genesis if we only have the eyes to see what God is trying to show us there; and, most important from our present perspective is the answer to Melchizedek’s identity. From what we have already considered, who was better qualified to have held that most majestic office than Shem, the first patriarchal descendant of Noah in the righteous line of descent.

We have now seen that Shem was the lineal ancestor of the Jewish people. He lived for the first 98 years of his life in the pre-Flood world. Not only did he witness the build up of the evil that led to the total corruption of that ancient society before God, filling it with such violence that God had no alternative but to completely destroy it, but, having that same righteous mind that God saw in his father Noah, he would have had an abhorrence of all manner of ungodliness. He had seen and experienced the terrible end-result of unmitigated sin and evil, and there can be little doubt that he was determined to do all he could, led and directed by the power of God in that new world, to preach and teach the righteousness of God to his descendants.

He had been blessed by God, together with his father and brothers, and heard God’s blessed pronouncement, to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (Gen.9:1). He had also heard God establishing His covenant, not only with Noah, himself and his brothers, but with their seed after them. Furthermore, that covenant he knew to be all-inclusive, to the extent that it was made with every living creature that would come to exist on that new earth (9:10).

Shem had no illusions as to his God-given responsibilities, for Noah had conferred them on him with the words: “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem” as recorded in Genesis 9:26. The blessing was Shem’s identification with God’s covenant name, Yahweh, as was to be seen later in the Abrahamic covenant.

600 Years Old

From the opening two verses of Shem’s genealogical record in Genesis 11, you will see that Shem lived to be 600 years old, which means he outlived all in his patriarchal line, with but one exception, down to and including Terah, the father of Abraham. The one exception was Eber, whose death followed 29 years after that of Shem. But then, Eber was the third generation patriarchal descendant of Shem, Shem being already 165 years of age when Eber was born.

The important point I want to make here, however, is that Shem lived on into the lifetimes of both Abraham and Isaac. He was 450 years of age when Abraham was born, and 550 years old at the birth of Isaac. In fact, he died just 10 years before Jacob was born. As far as Abraham was concerned, he outlived Shem by only 25 years. That means that Shem would have known Abraham – and, indeed, would undoubtedly have had a long and paternal-like relationship with him, probably from the time that Abraham first came into the land of Canaan at age 75.

Of course, being the most renowned and, probably, the most revered figure on earth at that time, I am sure that Abraham would also have known Shem quite early in his life, throughout those first 75 years he had lived, first in Ur of the Chaldees, and then, of course, in Haran up until the death of his father Terah. At least, if he had not known him personally, which I doubt, he would certainly have known him by repute.

How natural, then, it would have been for Abraham to have given to this ancient and most esteemed personage, now revealed to us as Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, the tithes of all when he returned from Hobah, having brought Lot and all those who had been taken captive with him, back to the safety of their own land once again (Gen.14:14-20).

It is so clear from that important passage of scripture contained in verses 18 to 20, that Melchizedek was very well acquainted with Abraham, and was thoroughly informed as to the unique role that God had called and chosen him to perform in His great plan of salvation for mankind. Just give a moment’s thought to the manner of his address to Abraham in the last two verses of that passage in particular: “And he blessed him, and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand…’”

As God’s highest representative on the earth at that time, I, personally, feel sure that Shem would have been fully informed of all that God intended to do through Abraham; and, what is more, all that He intended for that very same city that was later to be known as Jerusalem. We have only to look at Isaiah 22:11, and realise that it was undoubtedly Shem, king of Salem, and priest of the Most High God, who is there spoken of as the maker of the ancient pool at the Gihon spring. But that is a continuation of the story that must be reserved for another time.

Copyright 2002 - Bill Lavers

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

John R. Salverda writes on the "Lost Ten Tribes" and the Crucifix

Firstly our AMAIC comment on what follows below from John R. Salverda:
We likewise believe in the validity of the proper (reverent) use of the Crucifix.
However, we would differ significantly from John’s other view, that the prophecies of Ezekiel are still to be literally fulfilled; just as we accept that the Book of Apocalypse [Revelation] was largely fulfilled literally with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. See our site Apocalypse Now? Or Then?

Some call this type of approach the preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
See along similar lines:
Unlocking the Book of Revelation

Dr. Michael Barber

Dr. Michael Barber, host for Reasons for Faith Live on EWTN, is Professor of Theology and Scripture at John Paul the Great Catholic University. In this exciting presentation, he reveals the deep treasures hidden in the Apocalypse, demonstrating the practical implications for living in today's modern world. When is Jesus coming? Listen and discover the surprising truth!

And also:
The Lamb's Supper

Dr. Scott Hahn

Based on his best-selling book, Dr. Scott Hahn reveals the early Christians? key to understanding the Mass: the Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, mystic visions of Heaven, and end-times prophecies, it mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. See the Mass with new eyes, pray the Liturgy with a renewed heart, and enter into the Mass more fully and enthusiastically!

The reason why one is so struck by the likenesses between the era of Revelation and our own times is because these are a kind of parallel inasmuch as, what happened to the Groom, Jesus Christ, is now being endured by the Bride (His Bride, the Church), which the AMAIC believes to be the Catholic Church.
So obviously Revelation still has a profound importance and significance for us today.
But its literal fulfilment (only, not allegorical, etc), as with Ezekiel’s, occurred in the past, so we believe, in c. 70 AD for Revelation, and in the Babylonian (Chaldean) era, for Ezekiel.  
John writes:

Many people and in fact, some entire religions claiming to be Christians, criticize the use of the crucifix for fear of “worshipping” a symbol, but I would not be so quick to disparage the well known “ensign” of Christianity. It seems to me that there is plenty of Scriptural evidence, Old Testament and New, that the use of the crucifix, the lifted up root of Jesse, is part of the divine plan for gathering and rallying the lost Israelites who have been disbursed throughout the nations.

What about the ensign of the "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel, who are supposed to join Judah in the "end times" prophecies (such as Ezekiel 37:15-28 and many others)? It has been said that there are certain modern nations (mainly the western nations of Europe, Britain and America) who are to be regarded as the descendants of those "lost" Israelites. Surely it is no mere coincidence that these are the "Christian" nations. In fact I suppose that their acceptance of Christianity is the best proof we have that these nations are the lost Israelites. Remember the prophecy of Isaiah, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;… And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. … And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:1,2,10 and 12). History is clear, it has been the job of Christianity to re-gather the lost Israelites. This is being done under the "ensign," or standard of the "lifted up" root of Jesse, known to Christians as the crucifix, the well known symbol of Christianity. The hand of the ALL MIGHTY is obvious in this enterprise. No?

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he ‘looketh upon’ it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he ‘beheld’ the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:8,9) Surely Moses was not resorting to any form of “idolatry” in executing this divine command, and please take note of the part about looking upon and beholding the Mosaic serpent on a stick. Why do you suppose that Jesus insisted that his own body should be treated in a like manner? "And I, if I be ‘lifted up’ from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be ‘lifted up?’ who is this Son of man?" (John 12:32-34) "And as Moses ‘lifted up’ the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:" (John 3:14) "they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." (Psalm 22:16-18).

The argument so saying that Christ was impaled upon a stake and not crucified upon a cross is a moot point whether true or not, for God has seen fit that the lost Israelites (the Christians) are being, and have been, gathered for many centuries under the ensign of the lifted up Son of Man on a cross. There is no evidence that an image of Christ on a stake has ever done such a gathering job as is required by the prophecy.

Chiding Christians for displaying the instrument of His death is a specious argument. It is His lifted up body that is being displayed. If Christ was shot by a gun and then His body was somehow lifted up, as the prophecies insisted must be done, then it would be that lifting up of his bullet ridden body that would be the ensign.

For those of you who do not believe that the crucifix is the well attested to “root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign” then the question must be asked; What do you think is the Biblically referred to ensign?
-John R. Salverda