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David Bokovoy

Adam as a Divine King

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That, we just don't know......... there is some speculation, to be sure.......but as far as actual descriptions (instructions?! :P ), we don't have much from ancient times.......... the point is, sacred sex, not the vile worldly acts such as on the internet, was certainly performed in temples.......speculation being what it is, the temple of Solomon has been included in this........ I have, at this time, no idea how valid it all is, I am just saying it *has* been written about and described, and speculated on.........

I think I need to add that the word "prostitute" is misleading, it is not what we moderns envision of wild and woolly ladies out on the streets, skimpily dressed, taking money for sex....... the scholarship describes it as prostitutes, but perhaps, and may very well be wording it wrongly....... for lack of a more accurate way to describe the ancients intent on imitatin heaven in every sense........

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That, we just don't know......... there is some speculation, to be sure.......but as far as actual descriptions (instructions?! :P ), we don't have much from ancient times.......... the point is, sacred sex, not the vile worldly acts such as on the internet, was certainly performed in temples.......speculation being what it is, the temple of Solomon has been included in this........ I have, at this time, no idea how valid it all is, I am just saying it *has* been written about and described, and speculated on.........

Okay...where do you see the issue of fertility rites in all of this?

Lady

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Lady:

Okay...where do you see the issue of fertility rites in all of this?

I don't think the Israelites were practicing (for lack of a better word) fertility rites as other ancient nations were. I honestly am open to being educated from other views also. I shall have to keep reading and learning and comparing. That is a most important issue you are touching on though, and well worth learning about and commenting on, thank you for bringing it about........

Lord "yer good........ NO! I mean YER GOOD! cool.gif " Kerry

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Kerry,

Thanks for adding some intersting points for us to consider.

LSD,

If you are seriously interested in reading about this issue, in addition to Kerry's comments, I would recommend the following article:

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=223

Thanks, David. I always appreciate additional information. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to question someone.

LSD

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Lady:
Okay...where do you see the issue of fertility rites in all of this?

I don't think the Israelites were practicing (for lack of a better word) fertility rites as other ancient nations were. I honestly am open to being educated from other views also. I shall have to keep reading and learning and comparing. That is a most important issue you are touching on though, and well worth learning about and commenting on, thank you for bringing it about........

Lord "yer good........ NO! I mean YER GOOD! cool.gif " Kerry

Yes, I know I'm good. :P Perhaps a good book or even a website on pagan fertility rites would be of interest to you.

Lady

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Why sot-tun-lee! It would be interesting to see what you have found on the web.......where do I go, where do I go?

Lord "Now I did it, I dun got up and went..... :P " Kerry

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Lady:
Okay...where do you see the issue of fertility rites in all of this?

I don't think the Israelites were practicing (for lack of a better word) fertility rites as other ancient nations were. I honestly am open to being educated from other views also. I shall have to keep reading and learning and comparing. That is a most important issue you are touching on though, and well worth learning about and commenting on, thank you for bringing it about........

Lord "yer good........ NO! I mean YER GOOD! cool.gif " Kerry

Yes, I know I'm good. :P Perhaps a good book or even a website on pagan fertility rites would be of interest to you.

Lady

Because (see, I was gonna take bets on how long it would take me to pop a cork on this one and I didn't even make it to the next step) pagan fertility rites and idolatry as practiced by the Hebrews and admonishments from God are scattered throughout the OT. Try Leviticus.

Lady

(wow, I didn't pop)

editing to pop: and that stuff you're reading is so far off base it ain't even in the field, Kerry.

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Why sot-tun-lee! It would be interesting to see what you have found on the web.......where do I go, where do I go?

Lord "Now I did it, I dun got up and went..... :P " Kerry

You do what anyone else does. Search on the words Pagan fertility rites or gods, sacred prostitues or Asherah or Molech or Baal Worship and all that and you READ IT.

Lady

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Lady:

editing to pop: and that stuff you're reading is so far off base it ain't even in the field, Kerry.

Oh but of course it is, oh why sure.....sure, sure.....yeah if it isn't in a modern understanding its always considered to be way off........ :P

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Lady:
editing to pop: and that stuff you're reading is so far off base it ain't even in the field, Kerry.

Oh but of course it is, oh why sure.....sure, sure.....yeah if it isn't in a modern understanding its always considered to be way off........ :P

Baal worship hasn't got anything to do with "modern understanding".

Lady

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I'm not talking about Baal worship, but genuine Israelite worship of God the Father and God the Mother in the temple with the cherubim as the symbol of that love, and fertility of God's earthly children.......

Oh and hey........... a quick and cursory search, I found this on the web.....

The central motif in Mythraism is hunting and sacrificing the mystic bull in a cave. Important rituals included a sacred meal and a process of purification that included baptism. The symbolic shedding of the bull

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I'm not talking about Baal worship, but genuine Israelite worship of God the Father and God the Mother in the temple with the cherubim as the symbol of that love, and fertility of God's earthly children.......

Oh and hey........... a quick and cursory search, I found this on the web.....

The central motif in Mythraism is hunting and sacrificing the mystic bull in a cave. Important rituals included a sacred meal and a process of purification that included baptism. The symbolic shedding of the bull

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Oh man................. dates?! DATES? Um, tonight at 9:30? say I pick you up and we go dancing? :P

Whatever the dates of what the scholars call First Temple era in Israelite history......

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Oh man................. dates?! DATES? Um, tonight at 9:30? say I pick you up and we go dancing? :P

Whatever the dates of what the scholars call First Temple era in Israelite history......

So somewhere prior to 586 BCE when the temple was destroyed?

Lady

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Kee-rect..........., or to be more correct, I would say correct........

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Kee-rect..........., or to be more correct, I wouls say correct........

Are you saying that belief/worship/practice that involved Asherah and sacred temple prostitutes was not associated with Baalism prior to 586 BCE?

Lady

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Um, I don't know. I know it was associated with the Israelites and Solomon's temple, following the current scholarship on this........ I honestly don't know how Baalism tied in with it all. Do you know? I would be interested in seeing the various parameters of it all.

THANKS

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Um, I don't know. I know it was associated with the Israelites and Solomon's temple, following the current scholarship on this........ I honestly don't know how Baalism tied in with it all. Do you know? I would be interested in seeing the various parameters of it all.

THANKS

Do I know? Well, this is what I can come up with on short notice.

Link #1

Judaism before 623 BCE. The ancient Israelites originally followed a polytheistic religion; their beliefs were identical to other Semitic peoples. The dead were believed to have led type of shadowy existence under the earth, without energy, and separated from God. People worshipped both their ancestors in the underworld and many Sky Gods in heaven.

Judaism from 623 to 586 BCE: from the introduction of monotheism to the Babylonian captivity. Belief in the gods of the underworld and ancestor worship ended. Polytheistic belief was abandoned. Yahweh alone is worshiped. They continued to believe that the dead lead a shadowy, totally isolated existence under the earth in Sheol, cut off from their relatives and from God.

Judaism from 586 to 332 BCE: from the Babylonian captivity to the Greek invasion: Zoroastrian religious ideas are incorporated into the Jewish beliefs about Sheol. The faithful dead are viewed as being resurrected, to live a second life in a cleansed Jerusalem for 500 years. Then, they die, are annihilated, and are no more.

Judaism during and after the Greek occupation. All the dead will be resurrected. They will be judged by God and sent either to an eternal reward or never-ending punishment. The Christian religion, having been founded by Jews, continued much of this belief system.

Beliefs in Israel, up to 623 BCE:

Centuries ago, scholars coined the term "Semitic" to refer to a group of civilizations in the Middle East which originally shared a similar language, culture and religion. These included the Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites, Hebrews, Phoenicians, etc. Prior to the official introduction of monotheism in ancient Israel by King Josiah in 623 BCE, Jewish beliefs about their Gods, the universe, and life after death appear to have paralleled closely those of the other Semitic cultures. The people interacted with the many "sky gods" in heaven and the "infernal deities" in the underworld:

The universe was conceived as consisting of 4 layers: a more or less flat earth floating on water, large caverns under the earth, a sky in the form of a dome over earth, and a heaven above the dome. Multiple "sky gods" resided in heaven. A set of infernal deities lived under the earth, ruled over by a deity named "Mot".

At a person's death, their soul went to live underneath the earth, in a place called Sheol, or "the Pit" or "Earth." (A person's "soul" was believed to represent both their body and spirit).

Various English Bible version translate the Hebrew word "Sheol" as Grave, Hell or Pit; some leave it as Sheol.

Some of the dead became minor deities in Sheol. Their descendents who placed regular offerings of food and water on their tombs would reap blessings from these gods. Those who ignored their ancestors would be ignored or even harmed as punishment.

The dead who received regular offerings from their descendents occupied the upper levels of Sheol, where life was easier. Those who were not remembered sank lower in the depths of the Pit. Those who had been improperly buried were sent to the lowest, most unpleasant area.

The people worshiped multiple sky gods in public rituals. They also communicated with the gods of the netherworld in private, family rituals in which their ancestors were venerated.

The dead could also be accessed through necromancy. 1 Samuel 28:7-20 describes how King Saul persuaded a medium at Endor to contact the spirit of the deceased Samuel in order to predict the future.

If some favor was to be asked of the gods by the entire nation or community, the the priests conducted a public ritual. Adequate rain to grow the crops, or victory over neighboring tribes were common examples. If a favor for a family or an individual was sought, then a private ritual was conducted, to seek support from some of the inhabitants of Sheol. A long life and many children were common examples.

The dead of all nations and all walks of life were sent to Sheol. There was no judgment day. All individuals ended up in Sheol after death - both those who had led a righteous and those who were evil while on earth. See Genesis 42:38 and Numbers 16:30-33.

They believed that the inhabitants of Sheol were abandoned forever: A Psalm for the Sons of Korah petitions God to save the writer from his expected death. "...my life draws near To Sheol. I am reckoned among those who go down to the Pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom thou dost remember no more, for they are cutoff from thy hand." Psalms 88:3-5

"You [God] restored me to health and let me live...In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction...For...those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness." Isaiah 38:16-18. (NIV)

Since the plight of the dead was so discouraging, ancient Israelites believed that God rewarded a righteous man with a long life and many offspring. This is mentioned frequently in the Hebrew Scriptures, including Psalms 127:3-5.

The ancient Hebrews had no concept of heaven. The dead who had led the most righteous lives were not taken to be with God after death. (Enoch and Elijah were exceptions. They were directly taken up to heaven to be with God. They never died; they never went to Sheol). See Genesis 5:24.

Most writers of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) portrayed Sheol as a grim place. Its inhabitants were seen as living a type of shadowy existence for all eternity. It was dark. "The dead existed without thought, strength, or even consciousness." 1

Sheol is not at all related to the Christian Hell. There is no unending torture of humans there; just a ghostly existence. In its original form, there was a great deal of interaction between people living on earth and the inhabitants of Sheol.

Beliefs in Israel, 623 BCE to 586 BCE:

During the 8th century BCE, the Assyrians had reduced Israel to the status of two vassal kingdoms. Some religious leaders viewed this oppression as an indication that they were following the wrong spiritual and religious path. They formed a religious reform movement which scholars now call "Yahweh-alone." This movement raised the status of Yahweh, then perceived as a wind god -- one of many deities -- to the status of the national God of Israel. Although the existence of other sky gods were acknowledged, only Yahweh was to be worshiped. Similarly, interaction with the gods of the underworld was totally discontinued. Ancestor worship was abandoned. The conquering and subsequent destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE by the Assyrians was interpreted by this movement as proof that Yahweh was displeased. King Hezekiah (728-699 BCE), ruler of the Southern Kingdom, attempted to reform the Jewish religion by incorporating "Yahweh-alone" concepts. His "covenant code" appears in Exodus 20:23 to 23:19. It starts with a strong declaration of monotheism. Exodus 22:20 states that anyone found sacrificing to a god other than Yahweh is to be destroyed. Exodus 22:29-30 in effect repeals the previous Semitic custom that the eldest son's prime responsibility was to care for his parents in their old age, see that they are properly buried, and then venerate them after their death. The son's new responsibility is strictly towards God, from the eight day of his life.

King Hezekiah's reforms were not fully implemented until King Josiah announced in 623 BCE that Yahweh was the only god to be worshiped. 2 Kings 22:8 to 23:28 describes how Hilkiah the high priest found the long lost "book of the law" in "the house of Jehovah." This was subsequently authenticated by Huldah the prophetess. The "words of the book of the covenant." were read to the people. Then followed one of the most dramatic examples of religious intolerance in the Hebrew Scriptures. The King ordered all of the temple vessels, altars, idols and other equipment that was used in the worship of Pagan gods and goddesses to be destroyed. The Israelites were worshiping Asherah, Baal, Chemosh, Milcom, Molech, the sun, the moon, the planets etc. at that time, in addition to Yahweh. The Pagan priests were slaughtered. Houses of prostitution associated with these pagan temples were destroyed.

Although the Hebrews were permitted to leave food and drink at the tombs of their ancestors, all other rituals for the dead were abolished.

Sheol continued to be portrayed as a grim place where people went after death. The belief persisted that its inhabitants lived a type of shadowy existence for all eternity. Their interaction with the living which was frequent in the earlier polytheistic days was absolutely terminated.

Theirs was:

A "land of gloom and deep shadow... where even the light is like darkness." Job 10:21-22

"...the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward..." Ecclesiastes 9:5.

"...in the grave [sheol] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." Ecclesiastes 9:10.

The dead were totally isolated from their living descendents. In the 5th century BCE, the author of the book of Job wrote how a dead father was unaware whether his sons were successful or not:

"His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them." Job 14:21

All spiritual and religious focus was concentrated on the one God, Yahweh.

Link #2

Who Was Baal?

Baal was the primary god of the Canaanite fertility cults. He was often depicted as a man with the head and horns of a bull, who carried a lightening bolt symbolizing destruction and fertility.

Baal supposedly won his dominance by defeating other deities such as the god of the sea and the god of storms. The Canaanites believed that his victory over death was repeated each year when he returned from the underworld and brought rain to renew the earth

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thats pretty dang good lady! I shall read and digest this, and find some connections as well. Yer good with the net..... thank you

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thats pretty dang good lady! I shall read and digest this, and find some connections as well. Yer good with the net..... thank you

Kerry,

I've researched and read about Baalism/fertility cults/ sacred prostitutes online and in books for years now for my discussions related to homosexuality and the Bible. I know of no other belief in practice regarding Asherah, etc. than that demonstrated in the links I chose in response to your comments. If the phrase "on earth as it is in heaven" applies here, it is the practice of ritual sex to influence the gods to produce abundant crops. I would not give you material to consider that I did not think was reputable or sound. Religious Tolerance.org is a very informative site that presents a variety of perspectives on most any religious issue, including timelines and that sort of thing, that can be cross referenced with information from other sites and books on these topics.

Lady

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David,

I want to apologize to you if my comments/tangent derailed your thread topic in any way. I did want to post material regarding the early beliefs/practice of the Israelites in response to Kerry's comments. I will depart the thread now so you can get back to the dialogue that you had in mind.

Lady Sundancer

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Lady:

I would not give you material to consider that I did not think was reputable or sound.

Kerry:

Oh I understand that. No, the info you always give me is really good.......and I appreciate your efforts.............

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Lady Sundancer:

The basic information on those sites was good, but there is an interpretation there that I suspect slants the view of the data. We tend to interpret all earlier forms of religion though the lenses of our later understanding of religion. In this case, we have the recognition that there was a history, but the assumption that all of the things that were different from what later theology accepted were necessarily abominations and pagan influences. Historically, that is a very difficult position to understand.

It is certain, for instance, that there were attempts to eradicate the Asherah cult. It happened at least twice in the Jerusalem temple, but it did not seem to be effective in removing the popular or folk religion. Religious history is usually quite complicated, much more so that the reverse histories that are created for it.

Mormons are no less susceptible to reconstructive history and theology than any other religion. For an interesting discussion of this, see Midgley's review of the Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon in the first Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, now renamed FARMS Review[/]i. It is available on the FARMS website.

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Brant:

It is certain, for instance, that there were attempts to eradicate the Asherah cult. It happened at least twice in the Jerusalem temple, but it did not seem to be effective in removing the popular or folk religion. Religious history is usually quite complicated, much more so that the reverse histories that are created for it.

Hi Brant. Good points, as usual........ yes this is the angle that Dever took, showing that the folk out in the country away from the temple was who carried on the most significant contents of Israel's religion, whilst the official Jerusalem center was who got to write the history from *their* point of view. The substantial majority however were never into the temple much......perhaps once a year or two on pilgrimages....... It wasn't like everyday the entire nation of Israel got to even see the physical temple let alone live close enough to it to have its influence totally dominated their views. Israel, while small by our modern standards, was still large enough to require quite a few days of travel to get to the main city center..... that was one of the interesting points that Dever made which I had not thought of before......... oh, and I am sure lady understands this as well........she's just getting the info out here and available for discussion, which is always nice. I'm not trying to speak for her though........

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