Sunday, 10 February 2019

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part forty

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.

No word on the postcard Kickstarter, or a Star code for the remastered Jaka's Story, but I'll add 'em to the list when I get 'em!
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:
The Last Supper by Matt Feazell, creator of Cynicalman. (I'd post a link to his website, but my anti-virus software won't let me.)

2 November 14

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie:

Ezekiel 43

Part of me thinks that I should have just added Ezekiel 43 to Ezekiel 40-42 since it consists of the same sort of material as the three previous chapters do.  There are a few different nuances (which is why I'm looking at it separately), but, in the main, it seems to me to be "of a piece" with the freemasonry-style content of 40-42:

Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that looketh toward the East.

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East: and his voice like a noise of many waters, and the earth shined with his glory.

This, again, to me suggests an attempted "merging" of YHWH and God -- I say "merging" because I don't think that an actual merging or Merging is possible.  God is the creator of the universe and the YHWH is the spirit encased within the rocky confines of what we call the earth.  However, having reached an impasse in this epoch consisting of many thousands of years, I see the "consensus" approach in Ezekiel as God's only means of getting the YHWH moving in the direction of reality. 

Hence this description of the "God of Israel" -- "his voice like the noise of many waters" (water being God's medium) and "the earth shined with his glory". The earth, even if you view it from space, doesn't shine although the water covering most of it does, nor does any part of the earth at close proximity shine.  But this seems to me an example of the kind of concessions God is making here at the apex of the Judaic Revelation:  if the YHWH needs for the earth to shine with "his" glory in order to move forward in the discussion, God is content to allow the earth to be described as shining with "his" glory.

And according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, according to the vision that I saw [when I came to <interpolated: prophecie> that the city should be destroyed/when I came to destroy the city] and the visions like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar: I fell upon my face.

I really have nothing but sympathy for Ezekiel when I read a passage like this where, it seems to me, he's doing his level best to describe what he's supposed to describe but, clearly, his brain is being fried (by the "glory" of the YHWH, I would infer). 

He first asserts "according to the APPEARANCE of the vision which I saw", which is, evidently, intended as a preamble -- and then amends that (I would infer under instruction from the YHWH) to "according to the vision that I saw" ("appearance" in the context of a vision being both redundant and a negative inference of possible imagination/delusion).

That is, what seems to be conveyed is the notion that Ezekiel isn't viewing the APPEARANCE of something, he is viewing the thing ITSELF. 

And, as the passage continues, it seems clear that this moves quickly to the next level:  where "prophecy" has needed to be interpolated into the text since what the text is actually saying is "when I came to that the city should be destroyed" which is amended to "when I came to destroy the city". 

Which I would infer as a "first-person narrative" of the combined God/YHWH, conveying through Ezekiel the tandem experience of a) the realization of what is, imminently, about to happen ("when I came to: that the city should be destroyed") -- which I would infer as the YHWH experience: being brought to the realization that the city should be destroyed) --  and b) the experience of actually bringing about that happening ("when I came to destroy the city") -- which I would infer as the God experience: actually doing what the YHWH and Ezekiel are viewing as "being about to be being done".

This is followed by a non-sequitur/sentence fragment, "…and the visions like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar…" which goes nowhere, but, I would infer -- at least as far as Ezekiel is concerned -- conveys the immensity and horrific nature of what he is being made to view/experience: at which point he opts out as both participant and observer (as I read it):  "I fell upon my face". 

Which (also as I read it) then leads to a "YHWH dominant/God compliant" narrative:       

And the glory of the YHWH came into the house by the way of the gate, whose prospect toward the East.

So the Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court, and behold the glory of the YHWH filled the house.

And I heard ____ speaking unto me out of the house, & the man stood by me.

And he said unto me, son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.

Again, as I read it, this is still a COMBINED God/YHWH narrative, and consequently an enunciation of Truth insofar as God is a participant in it.  I don't think God thinks in terms of literal or metaphorical thrones except insofar as it conveys a metaphorical structure:  God as king and God's stature and place mirroring that of an earthly throne.  It's wildly inaccurate if you're discussing an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being.  A king is one thing, the king's throne is another.  God, being a fully integrated Unity -- the ONLY fully integrated Unity extant -- the idea of attributing a throne to Him is inherently corrupt, and consequently YHWHistic by nature.  If God has a throne then presumably the YHWH can displace Him from it and seize it for his/her/its self.  Which, I would infer, is always what the YHWH is talking about in these narratives. 

At the same time, God definitely wants to represent, Truthfully, His engagement with -- and within -- the context.  Although He exists everywhere, by definition, He also has a special and specific relationship to and within Israel.  As the text says, "for ever".

And here, as I read it, He's confirming that: in the one sense as a literal Truth which the YHWH is allowed to (by misapprehending how God will bring it about) share in  and in the other sense as a strategic and tactical assertion of the fact that the YHWH is ultimately going to fail.  They are both staking their claim but only God will fulfill His.

Along the same lines, the joint enunciation continues: "and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile." Which is definitely a shared experience on the part of God and the YHWH.  Both established their covenant with Israel in different ways, both have established sometimes overlapping and sometimes contradictory edicts and laws through the Torah and -- by the time of the Babylonian Conquest -- neither was being "hearkened unto". 

Of course, it seems to me that God is aware that a lot of the problem is (as it always is) the YHWH.  God's Name is, inherently, defiled by the linking of it to the YHWH with the YHWH's dog's breakfast of pagan and idolatrous worship mixed in with monotheism.  I assume that -- on a higher level -- the YHWH is aware of this as well and views the entire multi-millennia enactment of this epoch as great fun at God's expense.  How far can the YHWH push his/her/its blasphemies, aping God, endeavouring to supplant God and leading God's followers away from Him before God is forced to take drastic measures? 

Instead, God patiently endures all this until He has brought the two into ostensible alignment which actually represents a drastic divergence that will disenfranchise the YHWH in perpetuity once it is fully effected.

 "neither THEY nor THEIR kings, by THEIR whoredom, nor by the carcasses of THEIR kings in THEIR high places"

The choice of pronoun is, to me, significant, as the thought continues from "and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile."  "House" and "Israel" are both singular nouns.  But, it seems to me, this is God's way of establishing that He isn't fooled.  The problem, at essence, isn't Israel's kings or the carcasses of Israel's kings or the high places of Israel's kings.  The problem is THEY -- "he/she/it" -- the YHWH and the YHWH's tripartite aspects and how those express themselves through those kings, through their carcasses and through their high places.

But the phrasing allows for both compelled inferences:  that the YHWH is indicting the kings and the carcasses and the high places which have defiled the YHWH's holy name.  But also that God is indicting the kings and the carcasses and the high places AND the YHWH for defiling His Holy Name.

[And I think the reference to the kings' "whoredom" is specifically pointed.  Even David, the ne plus ultra of the Jewish Kings from the YHWH's perspective was certainly an incredibly whorish individual with all of his wives and concubines -- not to mention Bathsheba.  This, it seems to me, also prefigures God's ultimate resolution of the Judaic Revelation with the Synoptic Jesus and Johannine Jesus by the seeming admission of whorish behaviour on His own part:  that He entered into an adulterous carnal relationship with Mary (and the unnamed mother of the Johannine Jesus) and propagated two sons.] 

It's incredibly artful phrase-making, binding the YHWH and God into a mutual context:

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts [and the wall between me and them/for but a wall between me and them] they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in my anger.

Personally, I don't think God is angry about all this.  I don't think an omniscient being would be capable of anger because omniscience would mean that everything that happens can be seen as an inevitable consequence of free will freely expressed. 

From the time of the YHWH's creation, the YHWH was inevitably going to behave the way the YHWH behaved: and in such a single-minded fashion that (as I see it) the YHWH's primary motivation is attempting to irritate God.  But, it seems to me that God -- Knowing That -- simply sees the persuading of the YHWH of the Truth of God's Reality as a long-term project of which this is simply an interim stage. 

God certainly has a RIGHT to BE angry, so (it seems to me) saying that He has "consumed them in my anger" is simply a strategic and tactical means of sharing the YHWH's context and self-perception: maintaining their consensus. 

Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcasses of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever.

In the YHWH's context, this becomes a terrifying prospect. 

Essentially what God is saying -- in God's omniscient Overview -- is that whoredom and "the carcasses of their kings" are mere YHWHistic trappings.  That is, part of what He is doing here is attempting to get the YHWH to divest his/her/its self of exactly those trappings that the YHWH wants Israel and her kings and their carcasses and high places to divest THEMselves of.

The underlying supposition on the YHWH's part being that this will either lead to a pure worship of the YHWH or another demonstration that men are inherently evil.  For the YHWH a "win-win".

The sure awareness on God's part being that simply allowing all of this to hatch out in the context of the house of Israel will lead to the demise of the YHWH's pagan worship and indictment of men. 

You can see God's strategic brilliance:  the exact thing that the YHWH wants to effect and the means by which the YHWH intends to effect it has he appearance of the same thing that God wants to effect and the means by which God intends to effect it.  God isn't saying anything that the YHWH can disagree with.  So, of course, the YHWH has to find a way to disagree -- or, at least, be disagreeable. 

The effect on the YHWH is immediate:  a retreat into the Ezekiel 40-42 attempted contextual imprisonment by means of mathematical and geometric architecture:  

Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities and let them measure the [pattern/sum/number).

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: & write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof and do them.

It's an attempt on the part of the YHWH to separate the two --  the house of Israel and the YHWH -- by expanding the definition of the house of Israel into lesser and greater contexts, simultaneously…and, most importantly, to keep the YHWH external to that context. The house of Israel can be seen as the entire history of the Hebrew people and the land of Israel and the Torah and the YHWH's laws -- the greater context.  The house of Israel can also be seen as the Temple that will need to be rebuilt after the Babylonian Conquest, the mathematically and geometrically precise physical structure which will contain everything that Israel is and to keep it under the dominion of the YHWH -- the lesser context: 

This is the law of the house, Upon the top of the mountain, the whole limit thereof round about most holy: behold, this the law of the house.

That is, it needs to be kept finite -- as finite as any architectural structure.  It goes from here over to there -- "the whole limit thereof round about":

And these the measures of the Altar after the cubits: the cubit a cubit and a hand breadth even the [bosom/bottom] a cubit, and the breadth a cubit and the border thereof by the [edge/Hebrew: lip] thereof round about a span and this the higher place of the Altar.

And from the bottom the ground, even to the lower settle, two cubits, and the breadth one cubit, and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle [interpolated: shall be] four cubits and the breadth [interpolated: one] cubit

So the [Altar/Hebrew: Mar El, that is the mountain of God] four cubits and from the [altar/Hebrew: Ariel, that is the lion of God] and upward four horns.

The invocation of "Mar El" and "Ariel", as I read it, are an attempt by the YHWH to do what God has done:  just as God has made the YHWH to be part of the context of the house of Israel and as God is, here, at the apex of the Jewish Revelation, reasserting that context…

(which is just factual Reality:  Israel, the house of Israel, the kings of Israel and their carcasses are creations of God just as the YHWH is.  Everything is/has been created by God in the context of Scriptural Reality as a human-scale enactment of the Reality of Who God Is and His Relationship to his creations in this epoch: from the YHWH on down)

…so the YHWH attempts to make God a part of the context of the house of Israel, but in the limited way that the YHWH understands these things: as a pagan entity who believes that God is subject to geometric and mathematically precise architectural contextualization/imprisonment, the same as anyone else. Roughly expressed "This is how gods fight and decide which god wins".

God is aware of that but has Far Greater Overview which comes from inhabiting a much larger context.  God allows "the mountain of God" and "the lion of God" to be ensnared within the YHWH's house, knowing that this can be easily fulfilled with Judah's descendants, the Johannine Jesus and the Synoptic Jesus, being proclaimed and seemingly proclaiming themselves to be God's sons.  Both appear within a few years of the finishing of the construction of Herod's Temple, the latest -- and last -- attempt to fulfill the YHWH's geometric and mathematically precise architectural contextualization/imprisonment and both spend a great deal of time within the physical structure itself preaching and ministering to the house of Israel.

To whatever extent it was possible, I'm sure that Herod's Temple followed the same precise-but-impenetrable description as had Ezekiel's Temple: 

And the altar twelve long, twelve broad, square in the four squares thereof.

And the settle fourteen long, and fourteen broad in the four squares thereof, and the border about it half a cubit, and the bottom thereof a cubit about, and his stairs shall look toward the East.

And he said unto me, son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD, These the ordinances of the Altar in the day when they shall make it to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.

And thou shalt give to the priests, the Levites that be of the seed of Zadock, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.

And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put on the four horns of it and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.

Remember:  the four horns are in the context of "the mountain of God" and "the lion of God" -- what the YHWH is attempting to do is to make sure that each iteration of the Temple will be structured around "cleansing" it and "purging" it of God through sacrificial animal blood. 

Which, to a degree, is accomplished or appears to be:  both the Johannine Jesus and the Synoptic Jesus will be "purged" as metaphorical sacrificial offerings.  The Johannine Jesus is, I think, specifically referred to as the Lamb of God -- the paschal sacrifice -- for that reason.

The point that the YHWH misses -- lacking God's omniscient Overview -- is that the WAY the purging is accomplished will bring about the destruction of the physical Temple itself, Temple worship and animal sacrifice as core elements of the Judaic faith:

Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house without the Sanctuary.

And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.

When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.

And thou shalt offer them before the YHWH, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the YHWH.

Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.

Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it, and they shall [Hebrew: fill their hands/consecrate themselves]

And when these days are expired, it shall be upon the eight day and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings: and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.

As I read it, throughout Ezekiel, the YHWH must have been wondering: God knows exactly what I'm doing here:  setting up a context and a form of worship whereby He will be "purged" from my Temple.  WHY isn't He objecting to this?  WHY is He aligning Himself with this and maintaining this Scriptural consent/acquiescence/unanimity? 

Well, because He's God and He knows what He's doing. He understands the YHWH's context -- God knows in detail the YHWH's entire history from the time He formed the earth to the time when the YHWH gets incinerated by the sun when it goes nova -- far better than the YHWH ever could.  It is a 100 percent certainty that the YHWH is not going to prevail over God although there are any number of points in human history when it seems inevitable that God is going to lose.  This being one of them.

The YHWH essentially engineers his/her/its own defeat in multiple ways and in multiple contexts by attempting to defeat God.  Attempting to defeat God is lunacy in any context. 

Next week, God willing:  Ezekiel 44


Next Time: If I get it done, the transcript for the second Please Hold For Dave Sim...


Birdsong said...

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

I think Cynicalman is slightly funnier than Believes-A-Little-Too-Much-Man, as seen in this post.

-- Damian

Anonymous said...

What sheer, unmitigated lunacy this is. As Dave continues his imaginary conversation between his made-up YHWH and his made-up God, he seems to be becoming even more unhinged, if that's possible. What a waste.

Tony Dunlop said...

Anon, you do realize these letters are a few years old, right? And this "imaginary conversation" is what Dave has been on record as thinking most of the Old Testament is about since the "Cerebexegesis" issues of Latter Days back in, what, 2002? So if you see these essays as evidence of "unhinged," well, it's not "becoming," it's "has been for some time."

And come to think of it, lots of otherwise reasonable people think the God of the Hebrews is "made up" in any case. I certainly disagree with Dave's exegesis (understatement), but then I (and over 300 million other human beings) adhere to a Church that teaches that this same God became human, died, and rose again - and that I and my fellow believers eat His flesh and drink His blood every Sunday - so who's to say one interpretive framework is more or less "unhinged" than another?

And Matt, I loooove Feazell's Last Supper. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Are some of the disciples looking at "smartphones?" Looks that way to me. The only thing that would make it funnier is if they were having a food fight.

Jeff said...

No, Tony, IIRC, that's just how Feazell draws hands. Although that would have been funny.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Tony D., I gotta take issue with the last sentence of your second paragraph. Not all opinions are equally valid. Your team does do a lot of things that seem ... really strange to an uninvolved bystander. 300 million? I don't know what Christian sect you favour (except that the number is too low to be Catholicism), but most of 'em are more rational than Dave's emotion-based self-justifications as on display in this series.

-- Damian

Tony again said...

Eastern Orthodox. "300 million" is a figure that's casually tossed around, but nobody knows for sure. As the saying goes, "I'm not part of organized religion, I'm Orthodox." My own church has no formal "membership" roll; my priest "keeps it all in my (i.e. his) head."

And yeah, back when I was an atheist I would have thought the today-me was nuts.