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The Archaeology of Sodom

Preface

We are still working on the research for this article but it is important that we get it written down as we go. We are not going to do any preaching or try to explain the different terms in each of the passages of scripture. Instead we are going to look at the 3 locations that different scholars have identified as Sodom and explore them archaeologically with a Christian eye and thinking. Christians have been involved in all 3 identifications so it is not like we are taking sides.

We will use biblical verses and place them in this preface as a reference point. Not all of the verses will be used as we are not going to delve into the why the 5 cities of the plain were destroyed. God has already told us why. We are interested in why people picked these 3 sites, what archaeology says about each of them and demonstrate why 2 of them do not qualify as Sodom.

The verses are important because so many scholars either use them or allude to them in presenting and supporting their arguments.  We may address other topics as we get this paper ready but we shall see. Getting the Bible right, even when doing archaeology saves believers so much trouble and builds their credibility and reputation. We need to be honest in our archaeological work if we want people to listen to us.

Jesus never exaggerated, he never altered, he never lied and we must be careful to follow that example. We also have to be honest when presenting our facts, our theories our conclusions and so on. The Bible tells us that the unbelieving world cannot do anything against the truth, thus we must make sure that we have the truth first, including our archaeological identifications, if we want unbelievers to listen to us and take the gospel seriously.

Christians, churches, Christian organizations have been embarrassed far too often by the many searches for Noah’s ark. That is because over enthusiastic people have let their excitement lead them not God. We should not let this happen with any biblical event. It is far better to say we do not know than try to force a given site to fit the biblical narrative. And keep harping on it when the supposed evidence needs to be stretched to fit the theory. One thing we got from Bob Cornuke is that if the evidence does not fit, then the identification is off. And that applies to 2 of the 3 Sodom sites.

We know many Christians, and we used to talk to them on the old BAS forum, that are embarrassing themselves by their current selection of one site over the other 2 for Sodom. We will get to that later. Sodom and its identification is a little easier to find because of a certain verse in scripture. Unlike Noah’s ark, it still exists today

Bible verses for Sodom

The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.

that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).

And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim,

Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country.

Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed.

And the Lord said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven,

and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.

‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’

“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.

Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.

[ God Has Had Enough ] Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.

And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.

Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” says the Lord, “no one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it.

“As when God overthrew Sodom And Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the Lord, “No man will live there, Nor will any son of man reside in it.

“I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.

“Therefore, as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts, The God of Israel, “Surely Moab will be like Sodom And the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah— A place possessed by nettles and salt pits, And a perpetual desolation. The remnant of My people will plunder them And the remainder of My nation will inherit them.”

Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire
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Ubaid, Sumer & the Bible

 

Scientists seem to always be at a loss when it comes to talking about the origins of ancient people. Too often they simply state that they do not know where certain groups of people come from. In one of his books, which forget which one, WF Albright stated that out of the ancient nations, only Israel knows their origins. The Indians, the Egyptians, The Assyrians, the Germanic tribes and the list goes on,, he stated, do not have any idea how their people and nation came to be.

We find the same situation with Sumer and the Ubaid people. Here is what one ancient encyclopedia has to say about both:

The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE. This date has been contested in recent years, however, and it now thought that human activity in the area began much earlier. The first settlers were not Sumerians but a people of unknown origin whom archaeologists have termed the Ubaid people – from the excavated mound of al-Ubaid where the artifacts were uncovered which first attested to their existence

and

These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. At what point the people who came to be known as Sumerians entered the area is not known ( both quotes come from https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)

It is accepted that Sumer and subsequent civilizations resided around the Mesopotamia region near or between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization. (Ibid).

And that occupation came about 4500 BC

The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE (Ibid)

We do not agree that the flood took place around 3000 BC as some people place the date. That is just to close for comfort and we would accept an earlier date because we do not actually know when the flood happened. The Bible dating and the human calendar do not follow the same rules and produce competing times. If we attribute the construction of the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx to the pre-world era, then 3000 BC does not sound too far off.

But dating is subjective and not always as accurate as we would like it to be. So for now we will go with the 4500 BC date knowing it could and should be revised. Scientists may not know much about the Ubaid people, we will skip the Sumerians for now, believers can find a clue to their identity and source by reading two passages of scripture.

Ge 11:1 Now the whole world had one language  and a common speech.
Ge 11:2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there (NIV)

This particular NIV version places Shinar in the fertile Crescent at Babylon, which seems right as the second passage of scripture mentions who founded that city:

Ge 10:8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.
Ge 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
Ge 10:10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in  Shinar. 
Ge 10:11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh,  Rehoboth Ir,  Calah
Ge 10:12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city

From what we can deduce, given help from archaeology, the Ubaid people were probably the one world, one language civilization that got divided by God and scattered throughout the earth. City building would not be a new idea for them as in the pre-flood civilization cities were quite common. Cain built a city and we cannot be sure how many others followed that example.

From the numerous buried cities found around the world and mysterious buildings that remain, it seems that quite a few people followed Cain’s example. It is also possible that Cain was not the first to build a city and he was the one who followed one of his brothers’ or more example. Thus, it was not impossible or out of the capability of Nimrod and the probably Ubaid people to build the cities in that list.

The ancient encyclopedia backs that point up with the following:

Whoever these people were, they had already moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one prior to 5000 BCE. Excavations from al-Ubaid and other sites throughout southern Iraq have uncovered stone tools from the Ubaid people such as hoes, knives, and adzes and clay artifacts which included sickles, bricks, painted pottery, and figurines.

These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. (Ibid)

That encyclopedia is supported by the History Channels section on Sumer. That channel says:

This early population—known as the Ubaid people—was notable for strides in the development of civilization such as farming and raising cattle, weaving textiles, working with carpentry and pottery, and even enjoying beer. Villages and towns were built around Ubaid farming communitie

and

Architecture on a grand scale is generally credited to have begun under the Sumerians, with religious structures dating back to 3400 B.C., although it appears that the basics of the structures began in the Ubaid period as far back as 5200 B.C. and were improved upon through the centuries. The buildings are noted for their arched doorways and flat roofs.

Elaborate construction, such as terra cotta ornamentation with bronze accents, complicated mosaics, imposing brick columns and sophisticated mural paintings all reveal the society’s technical sophistication (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)

Unless something changes, we are quite confident in our identification of the Ubaid people as the civilization that built the Tower of Babel and got itself divided.

According to the scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, “The first ruler of Sumer, whose deeds are recorded, if only in the briefest kind of statement, is a king by the name of Etana of Kish, who may have come to the throne quite early in the third millennium B.C. In the King List he is described as he who stabilized all the lands” (The Sumerians, 43). The Sumerian King List is a cuneiform document, written by a scribe of the city of Lagash, sometime around 2100 BCE which lists all of the kings of the region, and their accomplishments, in an attempt to show continuity of order in society dating back to the beginning of civilization (https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)

We are not going to talk much about the Sumerian King’s list except to say that it provides evidence for the global flood. Also, how else would the author of that list know about pre-flood rulers if there was no connection to Noah and his family? There is no  reason to create a false list to justify a ruler’s reign. Once it was found to be false, the ruler’s validity would be undermined and his authority destroyed or seriously weakened.

it is the following that we will contend with

The Sumerian language is the oldest linguistic record. It first appeared in archaeological records around 3100 B.C. and dominated Mesopotamia for the next thousand years. It was mostly replaced by Akkadian around 2000 B.C. but held on as a written language in cuneiform for another 2,000 years. (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)

It may be the oldest linguistic record but we highly doubt that. Since we do not know what language the post flood one world civilization spoke, no one can truly claim that Sumerian is the oldest. The archaeologists’ inabililty to find inscriptions or written records from the Ubaid people doe snot mean that they did not write their language. Also, since we do not know what language they spoke, how would we recognize it if it was discovered?

With dating as flexible as it is, the language examples from the Ubaid nation could easily be attributed to another society. What we are sure of, is that the one world society or the Ubaids, spoke the same language as the pre-flood world. Noah and his family would have brought it with them when  they survived the ark. Since we cannot determine what language the pre-flood civilization spoke, we can never truly identify the true beginning language of the world.

Ge 11:7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Ge 11:8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

While scientists think that there is a  link holding all the languages in the world to some hierarchical structure, this passage seems to go against that idea. Yes, some languages do descend from other ones, but that cannot be said for all languages of the world.

Currently, about 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. They belong to different language families and their origins date back thousands of years ago. Researchers are still finding it difficult to determine which language is the oldest. However, the earliest written languages on record are the cuneiform script that was discovered in Mesopotamia that dates back to 8th millennium BC (https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/2018/01/what-are-the-worlds-oldest-languages-10620/)

and

Origins of language
The origins of human language will perhaps remain for ever obscure. By contrast the origin of individual languages has been the subject of very precise study over the past two centuries.

There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars group them together into relatively few families – probably less than twenty. Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times – as little as a few thousand years ago. (http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab13)

Scientists think that there is one mother language but we doubt that thinking. When we read the passage about God confusing the languages, it does not give us details of how exactly he did it. But from what evidence we have seen and God’s power, it is more likely that God made 20, more or less, new languages. We are not even sure if he kept the original pre-flood tongue. The Bible does not tell us.
We cannot be sure but it seems highly unlikely that he used a process such as the one described by scientists. The result was instantaneous and affected different numbers of different groups all with their own portion of the then population. In other words, the establishment of the many different languages was a product of God’s supernatural power, like he displayed at creation. He created the new tongues out of nothing.
He didn’t use a process at creation so why start now? We will conclude, that the people known as the Sumerians were the group that stayed behind and watched their once brethren depart to other lands. Notice that God did not take away their memories and the Sumerians were able to build, write, communicate and much more. They made fine achievements, even being credited with inventing the wheel, as were all the other nations.
We also forget which book Graham Hancock wrote it in, but in his searches, he claimed to have found a group of people that were afraid to build their homes on the flat plain. They built them in the hills and on the sides of mountains. He concluded that this particular group of people were afraid of a flood. If true, this would bring us a little more evidence for the global deluge.
It is also possible that this group thought a lot like the ancient Koreans, who saw how little farm land they had possession of and decided to build their homes on the hills and sides of mountains to preserve the farmland for crops.
As we study the Bible, these little insignificant passages provide us with a large amount of information. We should not be too quick to dismiss them or take the word of unbelieving scientists who ignore scriptures and the answers or clues it provides. As we read those early chapters of Genesis and the life of Abraham, we get the origins for a lot of nations. We know more than the scientists and ancients about the origins of these old nations.
Getting knowledge is something that Solomon encouraged in Proverbs. To be able to handle apologetics correctly, we need to know these historical details. They may save us a lot of embarrassment. Intelligence and knowledge are not wrong to have and help us preserve our faith as well as teach our children the facts that they need to know to preserve theirs.
 

Noah’s Tomb+

We are adding a third post today as we will take the next few days off and focus n other activities. We may have posted this topic before, but we cannot be sure. Many years ago when we were still in Korea, we were sent a copy of the following paper by Dr. Shea himself. He is a nice guy and we happened to like the paper he wrote. We wish we could have traveled to see these discoveries ourselves but things just didn’t work out.

Our copy of the paper is in jpg as our scanner was not that great so we can’t really post it from our archives. But we did find a Christian Forum that posted the article intact. It is the only link to the paper we have found so far. We will quote a few excerpts to whet your appetite.

https://www.christianforums.com/threads/information-on-noah.4226158/

After I returned home, I checked on the internet for many close-up views of various locations on Mount Aragatz.1 From a study of these photographs, I was convinced that there were some rock-cut carvings on the southern slope of this mountain just above Lake Qare (about 9,000 ft., 2.700 m.). I wanted to examine these carvings, so I went back to Armenia in June of 2004, accompanied by a professional photographer friend…

Identification of this first carved stone led to a search for others in the same area. A total of seven carved stones were found within an area of about 25 feet (8 m.) from the first stone. Four of these depict outlines of the heads of various members of Noah’s family…

One of these carved stones is important for determining the nature of the large mound on the other side of the lake. This stone was scored horizontally about two-thirds of the way up, to demarcate the peak. The figure of a man is shown on the right side of this peak. There is a two-word inscription written beside this figure: Noach = Noah and qeber = tomb, grave….

The weathered inscriptions provide the answer to this question. A number of them refer to the tomb of Shem and his wife. One of the clearer inscriptions can be read on one of the markers (Figure 6). The word qeber is written down the left side of the stela. Then the name of Shem with its three short and simple letters is written down the right side of the stela and again, in smaller letters, down the lower part of the center…

These older rocks were carved with badly weathered inscriptions and reliefs similar to those we had seen on Mount Aragatz and in the field of megaliths at Zorats Qarer. This time the carvings revealed a connection between the word for grave, tomb (qeber) and the name of Japheth, another one of the sons of Noah…

This collection of inscriptions indicates that this promontory was not paved just for the use of modern tourists, but in ancient times it served as the site of the burial of Japheth and his wife. To emphasize the connections of this site with the family of Noah, there are carvings of his three sons on top of the columnar rocks just across the road from this lookout. In that location, Shem and his wife were carved on the right, Ham and his wife in the middle, and Japheth and his wife on the left…

The paper is good food for thought

 

Theories & the Bible

We have been watching old videos that we purchased years ago from different archaeological and scientific organizations. We are just refreshing our memories of the content. One of those old DVDs was about the search for Noah’s ark by Bob Cornuke. Now we are not going to do a point by point critique of the video, after all, Mr. Cornuke made some interesting points during the video. We leave that up to Gordan Franz who does a great job of analyzing Mr.Cornuke’s statements.

One statement Mr. Cornuke made did catch our attention though and it came early in the presentation. At about the 10 minute mark, Mr. Cornuke made the statement that what helped changed his mind about the ark being on Ararat was a verse in the Bible that said Noah’s family came from the east. We are not sure which version he was reading but that didn’t sound right to us.

So we did some checking and we went to several different versions, one which we will quote here. Sadly, for Mr. Cornuke, those versions did not agree with his statement. The NIV states

Ge 11:1 Now the whole world had one language  and a common speech.
Ge 11:2 As men moved eastward,  they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. (PRADIS electronic version)

We actually do not know where the ark landed or where Noah and his family finally settled. But the Bible tells us that the people moved east not came from the east. These discrepancies have been noticed in other searches conducted and recorded by Mr. Cornuke which tells us that he is not reading the Bible very well or he is using it to justify his agenda.

Ge 9:18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)
Ge 9:19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.
Ge 9:20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded  to plant a vineyard

As you can see, God does not give us their exact location. While the supposed grave sites of Noah and two of his sons have been discovered, by Dr. William Shea, these are not indications that they are the actual final resting place of Noah and his family.

This is the problem that arises when people try to support their theories by using the Bible. Sometimes their minds do not let their eyes see what is actually on  the page of scripture. Or they misread what is written  as the Bible does mention the word east in one location description

Ge 10:30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country

But the text does not say that they came from the east as the word west or any of its derivatives are not used by the biblical author.   Notice the following

Ge 10:8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.
Ge 10:9 He was a mighty  hunter  before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
Ge 10:10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon,  Erech,  Akkad and Calneh,  in  Shinar.
Ge 10:11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth  Calah
Ge 10:12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city

These words may give us a clue as to the location of Shinar but it does not indicate a move westward, since the other passage said that they moved eastward. Thus the location of Noah’s ark remains a mystery. But as we have said before, we do not need the ark to prove the Bible true. It would be very difficult to provide the right evidence to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the structure discovered was the actual ark.

What is needed is faith and faith is simply believing God and his word over everyone else. The other point to this article is that one must be very careful when using the Bible to provide support for their theories. Little mistakes, like the one described above, can ruin your identification of a location, your credibility and reputation.

 

If you want to do some further reading on this here are a couple of links. The first is to Mr. Cornuke’s website:

http://www.baseinstitute.org/

The second is to ABR’s website which has many articles on Noah’s ark. Scroll down to find the ones written by Gordon Franz. They can be very detailed but well worth the read:

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/category/Flood.aspx

 

When You Write a Document

John MacArthur has come out with a new document affirming his and many evangelicals beliefs. He has quite a few signers as well

https://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelicals-churches-john-macarthur-statement-against-nebulous-social-justice-227194/

We have not read most of the points listed in the document and the ones we have read, save for one, we generally agree with.

We deny that systemic racism is in any way compatible with the core principles of historic evangelical convictions. We deny that the Bible can be legitimately used to foster or justify partiality, prejudice, or contempt toward other ethnicities. We deny that the contemporary evangelical movement has any deliberate agenda to elevate one ethnic group and subjugate another. And we emphatically deny that lectures on social issues (or activism aimed at reshaping the wider culture) are as vital to the life and health of the church as the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of Scripture,” the statement notes. “Historically, such things tend to become distractions that inevitably lead to departures from the gospel.”

When you write a document like this, it is important that you remain clear and concise on what you believe. There should be no confusion and the terminology of the document should not leave people scratching their head wondering if they read it right or if they misunderstood what you have written. From what we have read, we are confident that we did not get lost or misunderstand what it is saying.

BUT, if one point is misleading and talking about erroneous topics, even if it is an accepted topic by everyone, that clause could undermine the rest of the valid points. These type of documents and any that state what a believer believes should always contain the truth. Which is why we disagree with that quoted point. It does not convey the truth.

Even though just about everyone agrees that racism exists, there is no such thing as racism. We have talked about racism on this board before and have quoted scientists who have stated without a shadow of a doubt that DNA demonstrates that there is only 1 race of humans. Science is backing the Bible here. God only made one race of people and Neanderthals, Cro Magnon and other supposed human species did not exist.

All humans descended from Adam and Eve and there was no mating with other human-like creatures. When there is only one race of people, there cannot be racism. The church has to take the lead in this issue as it is the one that has the truth. Evolution and other scientific ideas that support multiple races are just not true.

The church and believers cannot go along with this misinformation. Nor can it insert it into important documents like statements mentioned in the article above. The church must be the light unto a dark world.  To be that light, the church must proclaim the truth, all of the truth. The truth is not limited to the gospel message. Even when it goes against consensus thinking, the church cannot alter the truth. No matter how much scorn is heaped on the church by professional scientists and scholars, the church has to stay with the truth.

This is why we probably will not be signing that document. We cannot agree to a declaration when it contains untruthful information.

 

Lilith

It may seem like we are picking on women again, but we are not. We came across the following article at BAS website

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/scandalous-women-in-the-bible/

Mary Magdalene, Jezebel, Rahab, Lilith. Today, each is considered one of the most scandalous women in the Bible. Are these so-condemned salacious women misrepresented? Have they been misunderstood? In this Bible History Daily feature, examine the lives of four women in the Bible who are more than they seem. Explore the Biblical and historical texts and traditions that shaped how these women are commonly viewed today.

Our interest was piqued when we saw how the author used the word ‘scandalous’. The four women were certainly not the most scandalous women in the Bible, as we think Bethsheba would top them in her actions prior to her marriage to King David.  Aside from Lilith, Mary, Jezebel and Rahab participated in sins and were real people.

The article does not answer any of the questions asked in that quote and it doesn’t really examine their lives. It says a few words about each, then sends you to another column written by a scholar and dedicated to each woman individually. We are focusing on Lilith here as many people may have the misguided idea that she was an actual participant in the garden of Eden.

Here is a link to that article. It is quite long so we won’t be addressing it here

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/lilith/

For 4,000 years Lilith has wandered the earth, figuring in the mythic imaginations of writers, artists and poets. Her dark origins lie in Babylonian demonology, where amulets and incantations were used to counter the sinister powers of this winged spirit who preyed on pregnant women and infants. Lilith next migrated to the world of the ancient Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites and Greeks. She makes a solitary appearance in the Bible, as a wilderness demon shunned by the prophet Isaiah. In the Middle Ages she reappears in Jewish sources as the dreadful first wife of Adam.

The topic of Lilith is quite interesting as somehow she makes her way from being a demon in the Babylonian religious myths to being the first wife of Adam. Why we are addressing it, is because believers need to be aware that there are some unbelievers out there who actually accept the idea that she was Adam’s first wife. It is actually strange that this transformation came about because Lilith is only mentioned once in the Bible. You will find her mentioned in Isaiah 34:14

The Bible mentions the lilith only once, as a dweller in waste places (Isaiah 34:14), but the characterization of the lilith or the lili (in the singular or plural) as a seducer or slayer of children has a long pre-history in ancient Babylonian religion. (https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/Lilith)

A dweller of waste places is a long ways from being a seducer and a child murderer. C.S.  Lewis didn’t help at when he used one of his characters in the Chronicles of Narnia to describe the heritage of the whtewitch. That character said that the white which was a descendant of Lilith, the first wife of Adam ( https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/lilith-in-the-bible-and-mythology/).

The Babylonians, so it is thought, created the character first. They describe her as

Lilith is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian texts as a class of winged female demons that attacks pregnant women and infants. From Babylonia, the legend of “the lilith” spread to ancient Anatolia, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Greece.(Ibid)

We can understand the spread of Babylonian gods and demons since Alexander did conquer the then known world. It is highly probable that some of his soldiers, etc., adopted those beliefs or gods and took them wherever they went.

During the Middle Ages, Jewish sources began to claim her as Adam’s first—and terrifying—wife. How did Lilith evolve from being a wilderness demoness to Adam’s first wife? (Ibid)

It is a very good question and there are different answers to it. First,

In the post-Biblical period, some ancient Jewish scholars took the stance that Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:21–22 must describe two separate events, since it appears that woman is created differently in these accounts. In her Bible Review article “Lilith” in the October 2001 issue, Professor Janet Howe Gaines explains this reasoning: “Considering every word of the Bible to be accurate and sacred, commentators needed a midrash or story to explain the disparity in the creation narratives of Genesis 1 and 2. God creates woman twice—once with man, once from man’s rib—so there must have been two women. The Bible names the second woman Eve; Lilith was identified as the first in order to complete the story.”(Ibid)

Second,

Lilith’s creation is recounted in The Tales of Ben Sira, an apocryphal work from the tenth century C.E. Dan Ben-Amos explains that although this is the first extant text that records the legend of Lilith, her story probably existed earlier:

[Lilith’s] story seems to hover at the edges of literacy with sporadic references. … [I]n the post-Biblical period, the sages identify the lilith several times, not by name, but as “the First Eve,” indicating that her full story was well known in oral tradition, yet barred from the canonized Biblical text. Finally, in the tenth century C.E. in Babylon, an anonymous writer, who was not bound by normative traditional principles and who included in his book some other sexually explicit tales, spelled out the lilith’s adventures in paradise. (Ibid)

A fuller account is given here

Lilith’s image as a dangerous demon persists in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, where she becomes the first wife of Adam (Stern; Yassif 1984). As Scholem (1974) remarks, this tale “sets out to explain the already widespread custom of writing amulets against Lilith.” God created Lilith from the earth after the creation of Adam. They immediately began to fight over who would be on top during sexual intercourse. Lilith said, “We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.” Lilith then pronounced God’s name and flew away into the air. At Adam’s request, God sent three angels to bring Lilith back, but she refused. According to one version of the tale, she told them that she could not return to her first husband because she had already slept with the “Great Demon.” She told the angels that she was created only to sicken newborn babies and that she had dominion over males until the eighth day (when the boy is circumcised) and over females until the twelfth day after birth. The angels then told her that they would not force her to go back to Adam as long as she agreed to leave the child alone when she saw an amulet inscribed with the angels’ names and forms. Many amulets have been made against Lilith that refer to this tale. For example, Sefer Raziel (Amsterdam, 1701) contains instructions, with drawings, of how to make an amulet against Lilith. Even today, it is possible to purchase amulets made according to this model in Jerusalem shops that sell religious articles.(https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/Lilith)

A third answer is as follows

Lilith became a figure of cosmic evil in medieval Kabbalah. In the thirteenth-century “Treatise on the Left Emanation,” she became the female consort of Samael (Scholem, 1927; Dan). The “Great Demon” of the Alphabet of Ben Sira was given the name of Samael. According to earlier midrashim he had seduced the serpent to evil in the Garden of Eden and he was long identified as the angel of death and the guardian angel of Rome. In the “Treatise on the Left Emanation,” Samael and Lilith emanated together from beneath the Throne of Glory as a result of the sin of the first humans in the Garden of Eden. Their mythological characteristics were further developed in the Zohar (Tishby; Scholem 1974). There, Lilith and Samael emanated together from one of the divine powers, the sefirah of Gevurah (Strength). On the side of evil, the Sitra Ahra (the “Other Side”), they correspond to the holy divine female and male: “Just as on the side of holiness so on ‘the other side’ there are male and female, included one with the other” (Tishby, II: 461). Lilith attempted intercourse with Adam before the creation of Eve, and after the creation of Eve she fled and ever after has plotted to kill newborn children. She dwells in the “cities of the sea” and at the end of days God will make her dwell in the ruins of Rome (Tishby). (Ibid)

The answers go on. We even get a touch of anti-patriarchalism and abuse with the explanation of why Lilith sought to kill children. It was revenge

Gaines also explains Lilith’s hatred for human babies: “Ben Sira’s story suggests that Lilith is driven to kill babies in retaliation for Adam’s mistreatment and God’s insistence on slaying 100 of her progeny daily.”(https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/lilith-in-the-bible-and-mythology/)

In a nutshell, that is the story of Lilith. She has no real connection to Adam, is not his first wife and she is the product of some ancient person’s creative imagination. She is not real. The first and only wife of Adam was Eve. There is no reason to insert a first wife into Genesis 1 and a second wife into Genesis 2. The two creation accounts speak of the same creative act committed by God.

Only people who misunderstand the first two chapters of Genesis need to make adaptions and insertions. It is clearly understood by some believers that the first chapter of Genesis is a general view of God’s actions. The second chapter just provides more details. Lilith has never existed in human history as an actual person. Yet, for some reason that does not stop some feminists from using her as an example and motivating  figure:

The contemporary feminist movement found an inspiration in this image of Lilith as the uncontrollable woman and decisively changed the image of Lilith from demon to powerful woman. In 1972 Lilly Rivlin published an article on Lilith for the feminist magazine Ms., with the aim of recovering her for contemporary women. The Jewish feminist magazine Lilith, founded in the fall of 1976, took her name because the editors were inspired by Lilith’s fight for equality with Adam. An article in the introductory issue spelled out Lilith’s appeal and rejected the understanding of her as a demon. Since then, interest in Lilith has only grown among Jewish feminists, neo-pagans, listeners to contemporary music by women (highlighted in the Lilith Fair), poets and other writers. A useful recent book collecting many articles and poems on Lilith, with specific focus on her importance for Jewish women, is Whose Lilith? (1998). As Lilly Rivlin writes in her “Afterword,” “In the late twentieth century, self-sufficient women, inspired by the women’s movement, have adopted the Lilith myth as their own. They have transformed her into a female symbol for autonomy, sexual choice, and control of one’s own destiny.”(https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/Lilith)

Lilith is a little bit like the supposed gospel source Q., Both are made up and given credibility by scholars. But unlike Lilith, Q has no ancient texts alluding to it, mentioning it or even used in a bibliography. It is not even mentioned in the Bible. it is a figment of a few scholars’ imaginations. Sadly, these feminists, (mentioned in the quote above), are using an ancient fictitious character to drive their sinful agenda.

Lilith had no fight with Adam for equality. She is not a real person whose history needs to be or can be recovered. She also left no poems or writings. To reach these people who use Lilith as their inspiration, believers need to know about Lilith and her origins. Believers need to see how misguided the feminist movement  and how far from God it truly is.

Feminism, like their fake inspiration, leads women and some men to sin and that is not good.

 

The Sabbath Day

{This article has been posted on a Sunday and not a Saturday}

The Day of the Sabbath

The purpose of this article is not to debate the day the Sabbath falls on. Those debates have been done ad nauseum and we all know those arguments. To us, the Sabbath day has been conclusively decided. It is Saturday or the 7th day of the week.

We have read the different quotes by the church fathers and other early scholars who have said, that the since Jesus was raised from the dead and his accession took place on the 1st day, thus the sabbath or day of worship was changed from the 7th day to the 1st day.

Throughout our studies, God has taught us that he is not a ‘do as I say not as I do God’, but a ‘do as I do God’. In other words, God made the rule about the Sabbath in the beginning with his 10 commandments, his establishment of a day of rest at creation, and he followed his own rules throughout our history.

Scholars have long debated how the first day of the week—Sunday—came to be adopted by a majority of Christians as the day of rest and worship in place of the Biblically-prescribed, seventh-day Sabbath. (In Hebrew, the seventh day is called Shabbat from which the English word Sabbath is derived). (1978). BAR, 4(3).

God does not change. Jesus does not change and as you look their the Bible you will see that God does not change his rules because of certain events. The Mosaic law did not change because the people demanded a King instead of God to rule over them.

The people of Israel were still expected to fulfill and obey the law. We see evidence that they did not alter the law through the eligibility of those who could become priests in the temple. We also see that the laws of sacrifice were kept throughout Israel’s history even in the time of Joseph and Mary.

Recently, however, some scholars have argued that Sunday observance has a Biblical or apostolic origin. According to these scholars, from the inception of the Church, the Apostles themselves chose the first day of the week in place of the seventh day in order to commemorate the resurrection or Easter appearance of Jesus three days after his crucifixion.

My own assessment of the sources is that this thesis is wrong—on two counts. First, the change from Saturday to Sunday occurred sometime after 135 A.D. Second, the change originated in Rome, not Jerusalem. (1978). BAR, 4(3).

We tend to agree with the second paragraph in that quote. Our reasoning is simple. Once the original disciples and witnesses died out, it became easier to implement personal viewpoints into the established early church.

As long as the original disciples and witnesses were alive, such alterations could not take place. We also see nothing in scripture that indicates that God’s declaration of and Sabbath day was made null and void when Pentecost arrived.

The earliest explicit references to the observance of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath are by Barnabas (ca. 135 A.D.) and Justin (ca. 150 A.D.) (1978). BAR, 4(3).

You can read the rest of that article to get the full weight of that scholar’s arguments. For us the matter is settled, Saturday, not Sunday, is the Sabbath day and God’s rules still apply.

The Uniqueness of the Sabbath

Scholars have looked for the concept of a day-of-rest in Babylonian texts. But outside Israel there is no Sabbath in ancient near eastern cultures anywhere, neither in Mesopotamia nor in Egypt. (1992). Bible and Spade, 5(3), 85.

This is correct. No secular culture or civilization held to a sabbath day or a day of rest. If you were unlucky enough to be born in those times and societies, it is possible that you would be expected to work every day of the week.

Even though God instituted the day of rest at creation, man’s desire for evil led them to ignore that command and example. We are not sure if Adam, Seth, Enoch and Noah observed the Sabbath day but their walk with God may give us a hint that they did.

In Babylonian the word sabbatu is found. But it has something to do with the moon and only occurs once a month, or at most, every 15 days. It has nothing whatever to do with the Old Testament concept of a day of rest. (1992). Bible and Spade, 5(3), 85.

It is very hard to say what ancient societies practiced outside of any generality that comes when exploring the past. Every ancient person had the same freedom to choose to live as they saw fit. Contrary to scholar’s and archaeologists’ opinions, there really was no blanket population wide everyone did the same thing practice.

The ancient people chose to follow what they wanted to. Some were criminals, (we know this because of the establishment of ancient laws and punishments like Hammurabi’s code), some followed their culture’s religious beliefs, others probably were atheists and so on.

Because of the lack of ancient records, we do not get to see the totality of what everyone believed and practiced. Thus, it is safe to say that some people may have not worked 7 days a week and maybe a scant few actually followed God’s example prior to the Mosaic law.

The presence of Melchezidec tells us that God’s ways and examples were in existence in the ancient world prior to the establishment of the people of Israel and the Mosaic law. All of this tells us that the biblical Sabbath was unique and a true gift from God.

He gave us time to rest and renew our energy, etc., without penalizing us any pay or other comforts.

Why the Sabbath was Instituted

God tells us very clearly why he created the Sabbath and it was not for rest alone.

The Sabbath was instituted by Yahweh in the very beginning for His followers to keep as a sign of their belief that He is the Creator (1992). Bible and Spade, 5(3), 85.

Observing the Sabbath helps us to remain humble and obedient to God and his commands. When believers, churches and denominations start to ignore one command of God, it becomes easier to ignore others.

With the possibility that the Sabbath was changed by early bishops and church leaders, the barrier between obedience and disobedience was broken for NT believers. Questioning the instructions of God and replacing them with personal desires also became much easier.

We see evidence of that throughout church history as different denominations arose and implemented their own ideas about how the Christian faith should be lived. Most do not adhere to many of the commands and instructions of God as Jesus said, why do ye call me Lord when you do not do the things I say.

We can see how far different church groups have strayed without too much research being conducted.

Another reason that can be given for establishing the Sabbath can be seen in the following quote:

Moreover, keeping the day of rest holy also showed one’s love for God. The rationale for Sabbath observance is the imitation of the Creator, who worked for six days and then rested on the seventh (Gen. 1:1–2:3) (2010). Tabletalk Magazine, August 2010: The Tenth Century: Progress and Regress, 53.

If we love God, then we obey him and his commandments. We observe the sabbath correctly and do not do what the Pharisees and other early religious groups did before the time of Christ. Create and implement our own rules, then force them on others.

The Sabbath Instructions in the Bible

Here are some verses to give you the complete instructions God gave to us in the Bible concerning the observance of the Sabbath:

12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holyd to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ex 31:12–15). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ex 20:8–11). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Lk 13:10–16). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Mk 2:23–28). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day.

 

 

1  It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harpa with a solemn sound. 4 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. 5 O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. 6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.  The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ps 92:title–6). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God createda and made. The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ge 2:1–3). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

There are more verses taking about the Sabbath, but you get the idea what is to take place on that day.

When Do We Worship?

Are we to go back to the Saturday observance and change all of our worship services to Saturday? We are sure it will help the church get back on the right track track to obedience; but Jesus said, there will come a time where my people will worship in spirit and in truth (done from memory).

In other words, the Sabbath is not the only day we can and should worship God. We can worship God one any day of the week. Remember that God inhabits the praise of his people.

What we cannot do is change the Sabbath from the 7th to the 1st day of the week. God made the 7th day the Sabbath and the 7th day it shall remain. We should be cautious of what we do on that day.

Some Final Words

We are not legalists, nor do we promote legalism. We promote and preach obedience to God and his instructions. But we also need to be careful not to use Bible verses as excuses or permission to disobey God and his instructions. We also must be careful not to use the Bible to justify implementing our own desires.

When you worship is up to you, just do not change what God has not given us authority to change. The early Christian writers did not get everything correct and one should be careful about applying infallibility to them.

Not every early church author was a Christian either, so be careful when reading and applying their words. Do a little background check on them before you read their works and make sure you know where they stand.

Being closer to the time of Christ is not criteria for infallibility or correct thinking. Make sure you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the truth as well. That is important for your Christian faith.

The Sabbath always has been and always will be the 7th day of the week or Saturday as we know it.

 
 
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