Sunday, 17 February 2019

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part forty-one

Hi, Everybody!

So, two things:

1, the bizness:
There's a Indiegogo live if you missed the Kickstarter for the birthday card.

The remastered Volume 1, digitally for $9.99.

Postcard Kickstarter, no Star code for the remastered Jaka's Story yet, but I'll add it to the list when I get it!
2, I ran out of pages from issue 289/290 to run in front of Dave's Genesis Question commentaries. Dave suggested I use Jewish, Christian or Muslim religious images. So:
Holy Family with Saint Anne by El Greco, or as I call it: The FIRST Supper!
9 November 14

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie:

Ezekiel 44

Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward Sanctuary which looketh toward the East and it shut.

Then said the YHWH unto me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the YHWH God of Israel hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut.

For the Prince; the Prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the YHWH; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.

The first three verses appear -- and I suspect are intended to be -- contradictory.  If the "gate of the outward Sanctuary which looketh toward the east" is shut, and given that "no man shall enter by it" then how can the Prince "enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same"? The inferred answer is that the Prince isn't a man. 

It also seems worth noting that these verses being associated with the Messianic Expectation, there is no written record explicitly stating that either the Synoptic Jesus or the Johannine Jesus entered either Jerusalem or the Temple by means of the gate which "looketh toward the east" and "which no man shall enter in by it". If either had, obviously that would have been Big News and much would have been made of it. 

It also seems worth noting that the YHWH is the one enunciating this and appears to have adopted the idea of the Prince, as opposed to the King (I would infer, the YHWH having seen God's point: that only the One True God is King which makes even the most elevated ruler a Prince at best). 

It's possible that the Johannine Jesus' assertion "I am the bread from heaven having come down" is intended to address what would be seen as the failed Messianic Expectation that he, the purported Prince, did not "sit in" the gate that looketh toward the east "to eat bread before the YHWH" for the good reason that he WAS the bread.  Which, it seems to me, would open up the possibility that the Prince was one of the individuals "munching" on the Johannine Jesus' spirit and who, at some point, took up residence in the aforementioned gate -- unbeknownst to anyone in the physically incarnated world but self-evident (I would guess) to anyone in the spiritual world.

Of course, it's also as likely that the failure of the Johannine Jesus or the Synoptic Jesus to literally fulfill this prophecy in Ezekiel reinforces the Judaic view that the Meschiach hasn't yet come -- that, whatever the Johannine Jesus and the Synoptic Jesus were, it wasn't the Meschiach. 

It's also possible that the first three verses constitute a dialogue, with the "no man" assertion of the first two verses being refuted with "the Prince" in the third verse (compelling the inference that the first two verses are from the YHWH and the third verse is from God).  

These next two verses, I read as the YHWH responding to God's intended inclusiveness in the previous verses and chapters (which have, to say the least, aroused the YHWH's suspicions):

Then brought he me the way of the North gate before the house, and I looked and behold, the glory of the YHWH filled the house of the YHWH and I fell upon my face.

And the YHWH said unto me, Son of man, set thy heart and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, all that I say unto thee, concerning all the ordinances of the house of the YHWH, and all the laws thereof, and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the Sanctuary.

Essentially, I see the YHWH as (as we've already seen) having invoked every Masonic permutation of the geometric and mathematical precision of the design of the Temple to imprison God within it, and then the YHWH has his/her/its self entered into the Sanctuary by means of one gate which the YHWH has then sealed.  That basically casts the YHWH as "the one god" and leaves God with three options for entering:  "other he"-god, she-god and it-god.  On top of that, the YHWH now basically announces a preamble "concerning all the ordinances of the house of the YHWH, and all the laws thereof" and then leaves off.  If God is determined that God and YHWH will maintain a consensus, it's up to God to announce "ordinances" and "laws" that satisfy the YHWH.

Which, as I read it, God proceeds to do:

And thou shalt say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you, of all your abominations

In that ye have brought into my Sanctuary, children of a stranger uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my Sanctuary to pollute it, my House when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant, because of all your abominations.

Which is,  presumably, what had happened by the time of the Babylonian Conquest: the goyim had been permitted -- not generally, but I would guess, anecdotally -- into the inner courts of the Jewish Temple from which they had been banned in Moshe's Law.  God, being omniscient, is aware of where the YHWH's primary sensitivities lie and this is one of them.  Letting one unclean goy into the inner courts of the Temple "breaks the spell". 

Which I'm sure is true so far as it goes. 

I would infer that God thinks that this admission of goys isn't the primary problem, however, and that there are two levels to the "stranger uncircumcised in heart" -- the stranger being the anecdotal "spell-breaking" goy for the YHWH and the YHWH for God. 

Note:  "MY bread, THE fat and THE blood" which, it seems to me, is God drawing a sharp distinction between that which represents HIS covenant -- the bread -- and that which represents the YHWH's covenant -- the fat and the blood.  At the same time retaining all three as aspects of the joint God/YHWH covenant being enunciated.

"All your abominations" it seems to me has the same coloration: an indictment of the house of Israel by God on the YHWH's behalf, but also an indictment of the YHWH by God.   

And ye have not kept the charge of my holy things: but ye have set keepers of my [charge/word/ordinance] in my Sanctuary for your selves.

This, it seems to me, continues the same motif.  Just as the joint covenant includes God's bread and the YHWH's blood and fat, so does the term used here cover all three of "charge" "word" and "ordinance".  In this case "charge" and "ordinance" seem to me to be "of the YHWH" while the "word" is God's.  It works on the two levels, addressing another of the YHWH's prime sensitivities: that the house of Israel, in choosing "keepers" in the Sanctuary have selected the entirely self-interested on BEHALF of the entirely self-interested.  They are only ostensibly worshippers of the YHWH and custodians of the YHWH's law but are mostly "keepers in my Sanctuary for your selves". 

Which would have been entirely pleasing to the YHWH to have it enunciated that clearly...

…while not recognizing that it also stands as an indictment of the YHWH who -- as we have seen -- has "set keepers of" God's word in God's Sanctuary (the Masonic geometric and mathematically precise structure itself) for the YHWH's own entirely self-interested purposes.  

Thus saith the Lord GOD, No stranger uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into MY Sanctuary, of any stranger that among the children of Israel.

I've emphasized "my" because I think that's how it needs to be read to convey what I see as God's pointed purpose here:  to satisfy the YHWH's own vainglorious structural inferences -- the Sanctuary, to the YHWH, IS the YHWH's -- while also asserting the larger truth that the physical Sanctuary is only a small part of GOD's Sanctuary and that "no stranger uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh shall enter" into GOD's Sanctuary and (I would infer) that, rather pointedly, includes the YHWH and anyone matching the description "among the children of Israel".

And the Levites that are gone away from me, when Israel went astray, which went away from me after their idols, they shall even bear their iniquity.

Addressing directly (as this, it seems to me, appears to do) what I see as the YHWH-directed "molten calf" rebellion under Aaron, this passage would have aroused the YHWH's suspicions as it was being enunciated.  If the Levites who followed Aaron in the rebellion -- as distinct from the Levites who remained on the side of Moshe -- "shall even bear their iniquity", where would that leave the YHWH?  Which, it seems to me, God being omniscient and therefore fully aware of the YHWH's state of mind in all situations, leads God in the direction of seeming reassurance:

Yet they shall be ministers in my Sanctuary, charge at the gates of the house and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them

That is, there is no structural change being made to the YHWH's Laws -- either the YHWH's "charge" or the YHWH's form of "ministering to the house" (that, the YHWH would have found reassuring, I think).  "The burnt offering and the sacrifice FOR the people" will continue.  As will the ambiguity inherent in that:  it can be read as a burnt offering and a sacrifice being made on behalf of the people or it can be read as a burnt offering and a sacrifice representative of what the people will experience themselves because of the idolatrous worship represented by burnt offerings and animal sacrifices. 

The YHWH, I think, would have found that equally reassuring.  If the structure continues then Israel will continue to be worthy of a) punishment for idolatrous, pagan animal sacrifice OR b) punishment for failure to fulfill their "duty" towards the YHWH with idolatrous, pagan animal sacrifice. 

Heads the YHWH wins, tails Israel loses. With God complicit in either case.

And that is, in fact, what happens -- but only through the Second Temple and Harod's Temple when the Messianic Expectation appears to have been fulfilled by the Johannine Jesus and the Synoptic Jesus.  Whether it was just an appearance or an actual fulfillment, it does accomplish the end of pagan animal sacrifice as a centrepiece of Jewish worship.   

Because they ministered unto them before their idols and were for a stumbling block of iniquity unto the house of Israel, therefore have I lift up my hand against them saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.

And they shall not come near unto me to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.

As I read this, it's God making full use of the dual inference.  Viewed as an enunciation of the YHWH's perceptions of the Sanctuary: the ostensible YHWH endorsement (which is actually a combined endorsement/denunciation) of pagan animal sacrifice (which dates back to Cain and Hebel), for the YHWH's purposes this satisfies both requirements.  There are good priests/Levites and bad priests Levites.  The bad ones will be punished.  The YHWH infers (incorrectly, I think) that the YHWH will be the arbiter of the good/bad distinction.  Which keeps the YHWH "on board" "knowing" that the bad priests "shall bear their iniquity"…

…whereas what I think God is talking about is the Larger Context of innermost motivation (which only God would know).  There are priests "who ministered unto them" -- the Jewish people -- "before their idols"  (which can be read as "PRIOR to their idols" or "IN FRONT of their idols") and there are priests who "were for a stumbling block of iniquity unto the house of Israel".  It is the latter, I think, that God -- the Lord GOD -- "has lift up [His] hand against them".  And I think that very much includes the YHWH.

But I will make them keepers of the [charge/word/ordinance] of the house for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.

It's seemingly contradictory but, as I read it, in a way that maintains the status quo.  Yes, there are good priests and bad priests, yes, the bad priests will be punished for being bad priests and, yes, the good priests and the bad priests will continue ministering at God -- and YHWH's -- behest. The obvious question is: when will the bad priests be punished?  The Largest Answer, I think, is Judgement Day.  For the YHWH, however -- and I think the YHWH was God's primary intended audience here -- that just means a continuation of the "heads YHWH wins, tails Israel loses" construct.  Corruption and rebellion increasing to an apex point -- like the Babylonian Conquest -- and then a satisfying terror-filled mass bloodletting before the whole thing starts over again.  

But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary, when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD.
The introduction of Zadok both clarifies and complicates the discussion.  Zadok, according to my New Bible Dictionary:

a descendant of Eleazar, third son of Aaron.  He was priest at David's court along with Abiathar and had charge of the ark.  He took part in the anointing of Solomon as David's successor when Abiathar supported Adonijah.  He and his descendants discharged the chief-priestly duties in Solomon's Temple until its destruction in 587 BC.  Ezekiel restricts the priestly privileges in his new commonwealth to the Zadokite family on the ground that they alone were innocent of apostasy under the Monarchy.

It seems to me that this is an example of the victor getting to write the history.  Arguably Adonijah should have been David's successor.  At the very least, David's adulterous relationship with Bathsheba would make Solomon suspect as the heir to the kingdom.  So, this -- it would seem to me -- would have been satisfying to the YHWH: God seemingly being forced to endorse an adulterous union and to indict "the children of Israel" who "went astray from me" in choosing not to endorse the adulterous union.  Solomon with his many "strange wives" and expansionist forms of worship which included a lot of paganism would definitely be seen as YHWH's choice. 

To me, it's God allowing the status quo to continue towards its resolution with the sacrifices of the Johannine Jesus and the Synoptic Jesus, and endorsing that status quo as a temporary but necessary measure, even to the point of appearing to accept the blood sacrifices personally  ("…they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD").  It's a forensic distinction but, to me, a vital one:  they will OFFER the fat and the blood.  Accepted by the YHWH and not accepted by God (again, this hearkens back to Cain and Hebel).  Offering does not imply acceptance.

They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table to minister unto me, and they shall keep my [charge/word/ordinance]

Again, I think it's necessary to picture the two levels on which this is being asserted: for the YHWH a confirmation of the YHWH's Laws up to and including the distinction between Zadok and Abiathar. The Temple is the Temple is the Temple.

For God, the Temple is the Temple but only insofar as its a means to an end.  The ritual pagan sacrifice of animals needs to be continued as YHWH's charge/God's Word/YHWH's ordinance in order for God's Word to demonstrably prevail over the other two (which it does:  the enunciation of the Word in the first chapter of John's Gospel -- which is almost six hundred years in the future from Ezekiel's time -- is elevating, transformational and restorative).

And it shall come to pass when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments and no wool shall come upon them, whilst they minister in the gates of the inner court and within.

They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breaches upon their loins: they shall not gird with anything [in sweating places/in/with/sweat/that causeth sweat]

These two verses, I infer, are God, in His omniscience, addressing what, I also infer, was the YHWH's innermost concern in the charge and the ordinance regarding the use of linen exclusively in the priestly garments instead of wool.  It does raise the question "What? Is there something EVIL about wool?  Is that why the priests can't wear wool when they go into the holy of holies?"  It seems  (as I read it, anyway) that it's purely an aesthetic thing:  wearing wool in that enclosed a space causes sweat and sweat stinks and YHWH doesn't want stinky sweat in the YHWH's holy of holies.

There follow several reiterations of YHWHistic Levitical laws (again, I would infer, God -- knowing where the YHWH's priorities lie for whatever obscure reasons known only to the YHWH and to God -- being as amenable and inclusive as possible of those YHWHistic peculiarities):

And when they go forth into the utter court, into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments, and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.

Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long, they shall only poll their heads.

(That's an interesting one:  seeming to refute the "separation vow" of the Nazirite as enunciated by the YHWH in Numbers 6:5 -- Samson is probably the most famous Nazirite -- wherein he wouldn't shave or cut his hair, in favour of the "polling" of hair -- thinning it with brushes and combs is what I infer -- without cutting it.)

Neither shall any priest drink wine when they enter into the inner court.

(likewise with this verse which seems to refute the Nazirite "separation vow" of eschewing not only alcohol but grapes and any grape by-product in favour of not drinking wine before entering into the inner court)

Neither shall they take for their wives a widow or her that is [put away/thrust forth] but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow [from a priest/that had a priest before]

(all of these would suggest that God isn't directly refuting the YHWH, but rather moderating the YHWH's laws in the interest of maintaining concurrence.  Which would certainly have assuaged the YHWH's generally suspicious nature)

And they shall teach my people [interpolated: the difference] between the holy and profane and cause men to discern between the unclean and the clean.

The interpolation of "the difference" is certainly understandable but, to me, misses the subtlety of what God -- Lord GOD -- is actually enunciating and framing: a Sanctuary which reflects both God and the YHWH.  Far from teaching "the difference" between holy and profane what is being proposed, as I read it, is teaching God's people and the YHWH's people on a middle ground between the holy and the profane.  Both God's holiness and the YHWH's profane constructs will be retained and both will be taught, God having every confidence that holiness will ultimately prevail over the profane.

And in controversy they shall stand in judgement, and they shall judge it according to my judgements: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies and they shall hallow my Sabbaths.

See, as I read it, there it is again:  "in controversy they shall stand in judgement" can be read two ways.  In A controversy or in a controversial matter or construct, they -- God's people and YHWH's people -- will stand in judgement.  But they will also inhabit controversy, the Sanctuary itself will be based ON and IN controversy.

They will also both judge and BE judged.  Both interpretations match the assertion that "they shall stand in judgement".  "And they shall judge it according to my judgements".  It would be hard for the YHWH not to endorse this given that the YHWH believes the Sanctuary to be both structurally and irrefutably the YHWH's in a way engineered so as to -- by definition -- supersede God.

"Sabbaths" plural is an interesting addition here.  The YHWH naturally infers that it's referring exclusively to the "sundown to sundown" Jewish Sabbath, whereas I think what God is addressing is that the nature of the Sabbath itself -- in the context of God's Sanctuary -- which will reveal itself as having a twofold nature in the fullness of time:  the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sabbath.  Another example of "in controversy they shall stand in judgement".  Is the Jewish Sabbath wrong or is the Christian Sabbath wrong?  Whether you're Jewish or Christian or pagan, you are IN that controversy and you are, personally, standing "in judgement" depending on how you choose to act, personally, IN that controversy. 

And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father or for mother or for son or for daughter for brother or for sister that hath had no husband they may defile themselves.

Again, this is strict, by the book, YHWHistic Levitical law. 

And after he is cleansed they shall reckon unto him seven days.

And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, saith the Lord GOD.

God doesn't have to call it that to maintain the consensus with the YHWH.  My own inference is that the "sin offering" was so named by the YHWH as an artful bit of cleverness to indict men for being inherently sinful.  "This offering is sinful which is why I called it a 'sin offering'".  God, as an omniscient being, would know that. But here, it seems to me, for His own Larger Purposes, He's content to retain that.  In God's Sanctuary, the issue, as I read it, isn't the nature of the offering or the fact that a sacrificial offering is by nature pagan and "in opposition to God".  The issue is innermost motivation.  If you are following Levitical law scrupulously because you're sure that it is God's Law, that (it seems to me is God's point) is your innermost motivation.  You're "in controversy" and you are judging and being judged -- but, I infer, on a very different scale of values from those perceived by, enunciated by and dictated by the YHWH.

And it shall be unto them for an inheritance; I their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel; I their possession

To me, a monumental and epoch-making assertion:  basically this is the YHWH's assertion regarding the Levites:  that they are a separate tribe that isn't given a plot of land in the Promised Land because the YHWH is their inheritance and their possession.  Basically God adopts it for Himself.  Even though it was directed at Him in a negative way -- as a means of the YHWH to insulate his/her/its self behind a tribe of priests ministering to the YHWH and enacting the YHWH's laws -- God turns it to a good purpose.  God is Israel's inheritance and God is Israel's possession.

They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering and every [dedicated/devoted] thing in Israel shall be theirs.

It's another tripartite iteration of the structure.  On the one hand, the offering is just a meat offering.  In that sense it's God's if that is your innermost motivation in offering it: to find favour in the sight of God.  But it's also a "sin offering" and a "trespass offering" -- an offering motivated by sin against God and motivated by the desire to trespass against God. That makes it a YHWH offering. "Every dedicated/devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs".  Theirs in the sense that they choose to whom it is dedicated and devoted.  "In controversy they shall stand in judgement".  The YHWH has no way of knowing that this will continue for another nearly six hundred years before another massive bloodletting, all by God's permission and all according to God's plan.

And the first of all the first fruits of all things, and every oblation of all of every sort of your oblations shall be the priest's: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thy house.

In other words, even though the priestly class has been created by the YHWH AT God and to spite God, God has nothing against the priests per se.  Nor does God have anything against the YHWH's dietary laws or means of "sharing the wealth".  All of those are beside the point when compared with innermost motivation.  WHAT does the individual priest do and WHY does the individual priest do that?  That's all that really matters to God.

And one final Levitical instruction (which is also enunciated in the Koran, as a general rule of dietary law -- lest God be viewed as inconsistent):

The priest shall not eat any thing that is dead of itself or torn, whether it be foul or beast.

Next week, God willing, Ezekiel 45.




Next Time: I'm doing these ahead again, so... I got know idea what that wacky Future Matt is up to...


Jeff said...

More El Greco, please! I loves me some of the Greek guy!

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Hm. This week's logorrhea isn't as funny as last week's.

-- Damian

Daniel Lindquist said...

"Which, as I read it, God proceeds to do:

And thou shalt say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD"

-- I suspect this issue has come up before (I just discovered the blog, and haven't read the archives), but how do you handle the fact that the Hebrew here doesn't say anything like "Elohim" ("God")? "Lord GOD" is the KJV convention for rendering "Adonai YHWH" (given that "Lord LORD" would read weird), and that is in fact what the Hebrew says here: Adonai YHWH says the things following.

Tony Dunlop said...

Yes, Daniel; Apparently Dave thinks "YHWH" and "Adonai YHWH" are two separate beings. Nobody here can figure out why, or actually cares that much...

Tony again said...

He also renders English sentences with Greek syntax, which he seems to consider "authentic" or some such thing. We got tired of making fun of it - mostly - oh, 25 or 30 "installments" ago.