Sunday, 3 February 2019

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part thirty-nine

Hi, Everybody!


"Grok nok Spizzle-spoots!" As you say in the future -"Past" Matt


26 October 14

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie

Ezekiel 40-42

In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the self same day, the hand of the YHWH was upon me and brought me hither.

You would have to have a far better grasp of the ins and outs of the Jewish calendar than I have to even accurately speculate about the meaning or "meaning" or Meaning of the date -- and even there, I would be willing to bet that there are as many theories as there are Jewish scholars holding them.  What jumps out at me is the "fourteenth year" and "self same day".  Which I infer means fourteen years to the day -- the God and YHWH in tandem, seven seven -- and consequently of great significance.

As I read it, this is signified by the rapid switch from (what appears to be) a YHWH narrative to a God narrative -- not Lord GOD, a Name which God seems to have reserved only for the legalisms just concluded in chapter 39:

In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain [by which/upon which] as the frame of a city on the South.

It's difficult to infer what is meant by this: particularly how much Ezekiel himself is inferring and whether he's inferring correctly.  "The hand of the YHWH" -- usually in the Torah, as I read it, when a hand is involved, that's God or a God proxy, not the YHWH.  Likewise visions tend to be the province of the YHWH, not God as is indicated here.  The inversion might be intentional, signalling a meeting point where elements of The One become elements of the other.  I'm also not sure what "the frame of a city on the South" is intended to mean.  An unfinished city?  If so, this is potentially the New Jerusalem that won't be completed until the time of John's Revelation which is the next monotheistic appearance of these narrative elements.

And he brought me thither, and behold a man, whose appearance like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand & a measuring reed and he stood in the gate.

It's hard for me -- in fact impossible -- not to relate these things to Revelations where John meets an equally extraordinary figure in 1:13-15:

And in midst of the lampstands like son of man, having been clothed reaching the foot and having been girded about toward the breasts girdle golden; the ___ (however head) of him and the hairs white as wool white, as snow, and the eyes of him as flame of fire and the feet of him like to fine copper, as in furnace of having been fired, and the voice of him as voice of waters many

I would speculate that this is the same contextual figure who is Part: "of God" and Part: "of YHWH" with the balance having shifted between them in the intervening five hundred years.  The Ezekiel version is "all brass" while in John's version only "the feet of him like to fine copper". 

It's also interesting (to me, anyway) that John describes him on first sight as "like son of man".  Interesting because John would have been familiar with the Synoptic Jesus, although I think he was -- primarily, if not exclusively -- a disciple of the Johannine Jesus.  It seems certain, anyway, that he was the "beloved disciple".

Interesting on another level because Ezekiel himself is addressed as "son of man".

"Having been girded about toward the breasts girdle golden". Although girdles are both male and female attire at the time, the "toward the breasts" and "clothed reaching the foot" both suggest female attire.  The head and hair "white as wool white, as snow" as a description of a Biblical figure I don't recall being used since the description of Moshe's hand when he drew it forth from his breast.  So, indirect reference (as I read it) to a God reference: Moshe's hand, made miraculous. And here used to describe the head and the hair. 

"the eyes of him as flame of fire and the feet of him like to fine copper, as in furnace of having been fired"  certainly suggests, to me, the YHWH.  While "the voice of him as voice of waters many"  suggests God to me.

But, back to Ezekiel 40-42:

And he brought me thither and behold, a man, whose appearance like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand & a measuring reed: and he stood in the gate.

I note that Ezekiel is brought, first, "hither" -- that is, "here" -- to the mountain and then is brought "thither" -- that is, "there" -- presumably to the "frame of the city on the South".  It's an interesting way of putting it since "here" is where you are and "there" is where you aren't.  I suspect Ezekiel is trying to be forensically accurate about the experience of being transported "in the spirit" by God: that there are two transportational modes.  One, where you are relocated bodily so you infer the place you arrive at to be "hither" or "here" and two, where only your spirit is relocated.  So, although you are able to more closely examine the place your spirit has been relocated to, it remains "thither" or "there".

I'm not sure what a "line of flax" is.  Flax is a plant from which we derive linen but I don't know in what part of the process "flax" would become a "line of flax".  But, like the reed, it's a simple plant, over in the direction of the 'tender grass" which is the creation of the earth, the YHWH (as I read the first chapter of Genesis) as distinct from trees and animals and men which only God can create.  

And the man said unto me: Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, & set thy heart upon all that I shall show thee: for to the intent that I might show unto thee, art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

This would align with my inference of Ezekiel trying to be as forensically accurate as possible in his descriptions of his experience. 

And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about: and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits by the cubit, and a hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed, and the height one reed.

Then came he unto the gate [which looketh toward the East/ (Hebrew:)whose face was the way toward the East] and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, one reed broad, and the other threshold of the one reed broad. 

These two verses, Ezekiel 40:5 and 6, begin a lengthy description of the exact measurements of "the frame of a City on the south".  It resembles nothing so much as the sudden injection into the narrative in Exodus the exact measurements and composition of the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-27), a jarring and tedious interjection that I would guess has probably caused more people to quit reading The Bible than any other.

My own inference is that this is pure YHWHism and (more controversially) that the idea of a "place of worship" is of pagan origin.  I infer this because it isn't until Jacob anoints the stone he has used for his pillow -- when he dreams of a ladder stretching up to "heaven" -- that the concept of Beth El (as he rechristens the city, Luz) "House of God" takes hold. 

(a side note: reputedly that stone is the sacred Stone of Scone which was repatriated to Scotland a few years back from England where it had, for centuries, been ensconced beneath the throne upon which all the kings and queens of England up to and including the present sovereign, Elizabeth II, received their coronation and "anointing" as God's representative on earth)

I think it needs to be said that God, over the course of the first period of hundreds -- if not thousands -- of years of this epoch since the advent of A Dam, felt no need to establish a place of worship of Himself and it's only the usurper, Jacob, (who tends to invent much of his relationship with God to suit his own material needs) who finds this necessary.  Backing up a bit:

Then came he unto the gate, whose face was toward the east and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, one reed broad, and the other threshold of the one reed broad.

"gate, which was" is interpolated here in the KJV.  That is, the original Hebrew is "and the other threshold of the one reed broad" but the translators see fit to modify that to "and the other threshold of the GATE, WHICH WAS one reed broad."  Well, it doesn't say that and given the distinction between "hither" and "thither" in the text, I think it's incautious to compel the inference that the same gate is being referred to.

But returning to what I see as the Larger Point to be made:

Although Ezekiel struggles manfully to be as exact as he can be in his descriptions to "declare all that thou seest, to the house of Israel", as with the description of the Tabernacle and the later description of Solomon's Temple, it's pretty much impossible to describe the technical aspects of architecture in prose form -- which is what all three narratives attempt to do. 

Whomever, in each context, has been pressed into service to do so, does, I infer, describe what is being shown to him to the best of his abilities.  But, not being an architect, he doesn't know what, specifically, it is that he's being shown, what about it he is supposed to relate and how he is supposed to relate it.  A point, I suspect, missed by the YHWH.

All attempts to build reconstructions of the Tabernacle, the Temple and New Jerusalem -- from the Sistine Chapel to religiously-themed amusement parks -- founder on the imprecision.  There's a lot of guesswork involved which seems directly contrary to the avowed Scriptural intent:  to "carve in stone" the exact mathematical construction "specs" so they can be duplicated.

So, I'm not going to attempt to explain what I think is -- unless you're a thirtieth order of Mason, let's say -- unexplainable. 

My own theory is that there are very good YHWHistic reasons for those specs to be very exact and that those reasons predate monotheism, per se. 

Of course there isn't anything that predates God. 

But the fact that we have evidence of whole civilizations with architectural abilities which match and, in fact, exceed our own, suggests to me that architecture is, in itself, a potent kind of theology.  We don't really know what the pyramids ARE, but we know that they are constructed very exactly along strict lines of mathematical principles at a mind-boggling cost in human lives, enslaved, and national material wealth. 

WHY, we don't know. 

But when I read in the Torah and in John's Revelation these exact descriptions of "how many cubits this way" and "how many cubits that way", I infer that that's what I'm reading:  something a) pagan and/or YHWHistic b) mathematical c) geometric and d) precise.

Something that isn't (I infer) going to tell me WHY it's necessarily precise because the WHY is based in a jealously-guarded efficaciousness which is the province of a specific mathematics/architectural based system of belief which has -- at various points in history -- incarnated in various forms.  And is not really interested in sharing its efficaciousness with anyone besides its own.

That is, I don't think, personally, that there's much difference between the Aaronic priesthood in Judaism (which I infer was entrusted with this incarnation of architectural power at the behest of the YHWH and which kept it from all other Jews and from the goyim) OR the Pharaonic priesthood in Egypt OR Michelangelo and his design of St. Peter's OR the layout of Washington DC with the Washington Monument being exactly 555 feet high and exactly the straight geometric distance that it is from the White House and the Jefferson Memorial being a comparable exact geometric distance from the Washington Monument at a right angle to that in terms of Larger Intent.

The Larger Intent, I infer, in each case is intended to be spiritual captivity: to build a mathematically precise physical construct that imprisons the individual human spirit and ensnares it within mathematical principles so that the former serves the latter. 

I don't, personally, see that as something that would be of interest to God. It doesn't add up, in my view, for God to give each person free will and then, by means of ancient mathematical principles, lines of geometric force, etc. to imprison that free will so that it's less free. 

But I do see it as being something that would of great interest to the YHWH, because it would make human beings much easier to control (at least theoretically).  Anyone entering the Washington Beltway, as an example, would enter a construct the attributes of which they were unaware which would be constructed in such a way as to "channel" their energies into prescribed patterns.  If you're in the White House, the president is the epicentre so if you know who the president is for the next four years you know where x number of energies subordinate to him are going to go.

To say the least, I think this was probably a lot more effective and potent in Bronze Age Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt and Victorian England than it is today.  But I think God had that factored in:  that although the YHWH's pagan use of mathematics, geometry and architecture would encroach upon, distort and corrupt the purity of free will for a period of time that period of time was going to be irrefutably finite.
Free will would, does and will prevail.

It seems to me a good example of the Longer View.  At the time -- that is, any time in the history of this epoch between the creation of A Dam and today -- ceding control and exclusive use of architecture and mathematical principles to your adversary (as I infer God does) and allowing your adversary to entrench those principles at the core of your own Scripture would have seemed (I don't think it understates it) theologically suicidal.  Free will is Your best thing, Your greatest gift to Your creations and yet You allow them to be enslaved within something they won't ever begin to understand enough to escape because they'll be inside of it.

It doesn't happen overnight as we, with our limited lifespans would see it, but from the vantage point of the YHWH it happens in an eye blink .  Movies, radio and TV lead men and woman away from God, proving -- insofar as the YHWH is concerned  -- that "the imagination of man's heart, evil from his youth". 

In an eye blink, all of the Temples of God -- St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London are inhabited by a thin residue of parishioners.  God is losing.  But, as I infer it, the Temples were never God's in the first place.  God, it seems to me, is only interested in what people choose to be, how they choose to act, what their disposition is towards Him, how accurately they perceive themselves and others and how they interact with those others, to what extent they choose sin and to what extent they choose virtue and for how long.  It's the YHWH who wants to control people and -- as free will expressions both good and bad proliferate -- it's the YHWH who experiences a loss of control to a far greater extent than does God.

If going to a church or a temple or a synagogue or a mosque helps tilt them in the direction of God and away from sin, then (I suspect) for God there is merit in the construct itself.  But the primary concern is the use of free will.  The church doesn't make the parishioner virtuous because it's God's House.  The parishioner chooses to be as virtuous as the parishioner chooses to be when he or she is in church but, most particularly, when he or she isn't. 

Whereas, architecturally, churches had disproportionate control of mind and spirit by virtue of immensity and a mathematical and geometric manipulation in an age of competing interests and structures now they just seem to be Incarnated Metaphors of the Past. 

At one time, people believed contradictory viewpoints: that God was omnipresent but that He also had a House that we had to go to to see Him.  In time, I think the former will become more and more self-evident and the latter will just be seen as…peculiar and endearingly quaint.  Which is, I think I'm safe in saying, an infuriating humiliation and comeuppance for the YHWH.

The potency of the "House of God" construct erodes, but it erodes in God's favour and in the direction of God.  Temples, synagogues, churches and mosques become pretty much the only places in our world that aren't dedicated to "Not God" and so become a more potent destination for those who have sampled, extensively, as many aspects of "Not God" as they care to and end up limping back or (more commonly today) or limping for the first time in the direction of God.  And there they find not an edifice constructed in such a way as to control them, but a tiny, residual population which -- anywhere else in our society -- wouldn't qualify as an audience worth calling by that name.  Nothing compared to the audience at a rock concert or the audience at a sporting event.

But that, I think, suits God's purposes admirably.  Quality over quantity, genuine power of faith and efficaciousness.  No status in any way that the average North American would see in 2014.  The only reason to go to church in 2014 is because of sincere faith. 

Worlds away from ancient mathematical and geometric governing principles.

Next week: God willing, Ezekiel 43



Next Time: I dunno, that's the last The Last Day prologue page I got, and I'm only on page 259 of 368. So, images from Rick's Story next week?


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Dave always had a strange weakness for numerology -- seeing signs in figures and dates.

-- Damian

Slumbering Agartha said...

I think he was riding that Robert Anton Wilson wave for a spell.

whc03grady said...

"We don't really know what the pyramids ARE"
Tombs. The pyramids are tombs.

"[B]ut we know that they are constructed very exactly along strict lines of mathematical principles at a mind-boggling cost in human lives, enslaved, and national material wealth.

WHY, we don't know."
Because the pharaohs' status as living gods was unquestioned, and dead gods get monumental tombs.

Is Dave hand-waving, or is he really ignorant of these things?


Slumbering Agartha said...

Mitch, nobody who studies these things thinks that the great pyramids of Egypt are MERELY tombs, not even the most prosaic in the field.

whc03grady said...

I suppose you're right, depending on some particularly low value of "merely".

The ancient Egyptians said they were tombs, but what did they know:

There's no real controversy about this. Yes, maybe ancient Egyptians had more--much more--ritual associated with tombs that modern Westerners do. So what? They're tombs.


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Was Dave laying out his own beliefs when he said that the reason for gods with animal parts stemmed from the ancient Egyptians' genetic-engineering programmes? It is plausible that Dave associates some mystical meaning with the pyramids.

-- Damian

Tony Dunlop said...

Sorry, can't resist.

Tony again said...

(That's clearly the YHWH waiting at home with the rolling pin.)

Anonymous said...

Well, given that he associates the human thumb with the Higgs Boson, it's safe to say pretty much anything is plausible in Daveworld.