Men of faith

Patriarchs and Pioneers

Kenneth Hanson in his ““Go ye!” – Patriarchs and Pioneers” wants people to recognise the early pioneers in history. Their adventurous travelling are notated in the Old Biblical Books.

The writer assumes most are familiar with the story of Abraham, the revered father of three world faiths and progenitor of the people who came to be known as Israel. According to holy writ, he hailed from ancient Babylonia, today known somewhat ignominiously as the country of Iraq.

Following superior advice

The patriarch of the Jews, Christians and Muslim didn’t follow the advice that most people today would give a son to get an education and become a professional, finding a nice girl and settling down, raising a family. Surprisingly enough, ancient Mesopotamia boasted such an advanced culture that young Abram, as he was called before his famous name-change, could have done just that.

But this illustrious individualist chose a very different tack. He and his family uprooted themselves and left the city they had called home, known as Ur of the Chaldees. They followed the trade routes that took them far to the west, toward a land they knew not. We take the story for granted, as we do most well-trodden tales of biblical lore, but its particulars strain credulity. While already en-route, at a way-station in the vast deserts called Haran, a voice from the unknown addresses Abram’s inner being and bids him: “Go ye!,” or perhaps better translated, “Go! Go!”

By Faith

The apostle Paul has written about the faith of Abraham, which should be an example for us. For us today it may be easy to go to far away places and we shall not be afraid to cross borders. But at the time of Abraham to go further than the know region was not so evident.

“2 for if Avraham came to be considered righteous by god because of legalistic observances, then he has something to boast about. but this is not how it is before god! 3 for what does the Tanakh say? “Avraham put his trust in god, and it was credited to his account as righteousness.” {#Ge 15:6}” (Romans 4:2-3 CJB)
“12 and at the same time be the father of every circumcised person who not only has had a b’rit-milah, but also follows in the footsteps of the trust which Avraham avinu  had when he was still uncircumcised. 13 for the promise to Avraham and his seed {#Ge 15:3,5} that he would inherit the world did not come through legalism but through the righteousness that trust produces.” (Romans 4:12-13 CJB)
“I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”” (Genesis 12:3 CJB)
“I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.” (Genesis 17:6 CJB)
“inasmuch as Avraham is sure to become a great and strong nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by him?” (Genesis 18:18 CJB)
“I will most certainly bless you; and I will most certainly increase your descendants to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. your descendants will possess the cities of their enemies,” (Genesis 22:17 CJB)

Voyage into the unknown

JAMES HOLMES: DESCENDED FROM MAYFLOWER PILGRIMS

The dyed red-haired gunman who brought tragedy and terror to a cinema in Colorado is of a genuine American aristocratic stock, descending from Mayflower Pilgrims.

“It’s rather difficult in our own day to imagine that people might really be motivated to do extraordinary things by pure faith, but such were the Pilgrims.” writes Kenneth Hanson. The Pilgrims went into the footsteps of their Patriarch, following the God in who he had put his hopes. “It was their powerful piety that led them to withdraw from the religious structure of their European land – the Church of England. Originally part of a larger movement known as the Separatists, they incurred the wrath of Britain’s King James I, who expected strict obedience from his subjects and condemned them as fanatics. Their first move involved crossing the Channel to the Netherlands, taking refuge in Amsterdam and subsequently Leiden. Holland was their equivalent of the ancient city of Haran, Abram’s midpoint on his long trek out of Mesopotamia.”

Whereas Abram followed the desert trade routes of the ancient tribal nation called the Amorites, the Pilgrims navigated the sea routes of English colonists. Theirs was as much a voyage into the unknown as was that of the first biblical Patriarch, who knew nothing of his future “promised land.”

Sargon’s empire

Bust of an Akkadian ruler, probably Sargon, Nineveh, c. 23rd – 22nd century BC. This bust might depict Sargon’s grandson Naram-Sin
Reign c. 2270 BC – 2215 BC

The New English Review goes deeper into the history which tells us that by 2334 B.C.E. a single king named Sargon comes to dominate Mesopotamia. Having built an Akkadian army, Sargon hastens to take control of southern Mesopotamia. During a reign of fifty-six years, Sargon conquers northern Mesopotamia, Syria, and westward to the Mediterranean coast, even capturing southeast Asia Minor. He carves out for himself the world’s first empire, encompassing people of assorted nationalities, religions and cultural traditions.

Sargon his 5,400 men in arms – conscripted from all the cities in his domain, plunder.s to pay them as a sort of income tax! For all its advances, the price of developing a complex civilization turns out to be oppression. In 2197 B.C.E. Sargon’s empire collapses at the hands of raiders, who swoop in from the mountains, visiting the Akkadian warlords with a dose of karmic justice.

Hammurabi paternal kinsman

Side view of the stele "fingertip".

Code of Hammurabi consisting of 282 laws

Chaos follows, during which time a nomadic people known as the Amorites rush in, only to settle down and become absorbed in the larger culture. In 1792 B.C.E. a new king arises – the illustrious sixth king of Babylon, Hammurabi. … Specialized merchants ransom Babylonian soldiers from the enemy and then demand repayment with interest. War thus becomes an enterprise, as Hammurabi extends his domain from the Persian Gulf to Syria. While Hammurabi is best known for his renowned law code (resembling in many respects the laws of Moses), it’s also true that even his legal ordinances reveal a striking inequity between various classes of citizens, the upper classes being treated quite differently than servants and slaves. Again, we find the state eminently capable of oppressing its own subjects.

A country lacking strong central government

Father Abraham his wanderings are consistent with those of the Amorites, and we may suspect that he possesses a healthy disdain for state-sponsored oppression, and the kind of rugged individualism that links him with America’s early pioneers – the Pilgrims. His ultimate destination (revealed to him only after he had already set out on his way): the land of Canaan, a patchwork society that was diffuse and localized, conspicuously lacking anything that remotely resembled a strong central government. Its contrast with the empire of Babylonia’s legendary kings, Sargon and Hammurabi, couldn’t be more striking.

“Abraham’s rugged individualism does not, however, override his sense of community, ” writes Hanson, “another lesson grasped by America’s earliest settlers. Indeed, in the case of both patriarchs and Pilgrims, clan was everything. Nor does individualism undermine the need for a solemn pact by which to live. There is broad agreement that the most important word in the entire Hebrew Bible is “covenant” – brit – that may best be understood as a legal contract binding Israel to the (Only One) God and the subsequent tribes to each other.”

Governing free of others

We may not forget that those Europeans who left the continent were really men of faith. They took the Bible, the Book of books, as a serious guide for their life.

Land allotment, 1881. Image from Maya Mikdashi archives.

Plymouth Rock original American settlers came to America full of ideas and ideals as to how they would govern themselves free from the heavy hands of the British. The Daily Beast noted “the day in 1620 that the Pilgrims pledged “to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

Political Pluralism and Freedom

In case Political Pluralism and Freedom of movement and beliefs, religion and ways of making your living, would have been kept, many problems of today would not be so much time demanding, by the way of discussions but also by avoiding all the resulting fighting.

As in other states in the world it can be questioned if there are Constitutions or whatever passed for constitutions which keep to the aspirations of the citizens since these citizens ever played a major role either in the formulations of the constitutional documents or in their adoption.

Power of a Church and Doctrine of Discovery

Dante shown holding a copy of the Divine Comedy, next to the entrance to Hell, the seven terraces of Mount Purgatory and the city of Florence, with the spheres of Heaven above, in Michelino’s fresco

Today we should be fully aware how the Roman Catholic Church used her power to claim land for her own good. In a series of 15th century papal bulls and 16th century charters by European monarchs the Roman Catholic Church and its followers took care that a Doctrine of Discovery was created. All non-Catholics were savaged, even may have been killed, because “they are the children of the devil“.  For centuries that church had frightened people with the penalty of God. With Dante’s fantasy “La Divina Commedia” or “The Divine Comedy“, about several places humans had to go through to either end up in an eternal place of doom or to go along purgatory to work their way up to heaven, the popes loved that idea and enforced it in the common believe of afterlife. That idea of hell, as a place of torture was later gratefully taken over by many protestants.  Though this believe is totally umbilical, most Christians still hold fast onto the believe of hell, as a place of torture, instead accepting that it just means the grave, the last place were deceived people go to after the end of their life, bringing the end to it all for them. Lots of people today still do not recognise the way of speaking in Biblical times and do not accept the allegorically representation of the soul’s (human being’s) journey towards God.

According the Catholic Church the seven deadly sins could be cleansed in Purgatory. They  are joined by special realms for the Late repentant and the excommunicated by the church. The core seven sins within purgatory correspond to a moral scheme of love perverted, subdivided into three groups corresponding to excessive love (Lust, Gluttony, Greed), deficient love (Sloth), and malicious love (Wrath, Envy, Pride).

Repressor

English: St Gregory's Roman Catholic church bu...

English: St Gregory’s Roman Catholic church built 1866 at Heywood, Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the popes it was very useful to get their rewards from people who paid for their sins en from those who did some works for the church to get repentance. Also the explorers, whom they funded for reasons not to bring the Word of God all over the world, but for having more domains which could bring in economical products, to ‘feed the till’, had to show their fidelity to the Church of Rome. In those new places they found their jackpot and used the terror of predicted damnation to let all knees bow for them.

The doctrine of discovery has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring aboriginal possession of land in favour of colonial or post-colonial governments. This Doctrine still governs United States Indian Law today and has been cited as recently as 2005 in the decision City Of Sherrill V. Oneida Indian Nation Of N.Y. Many governments and various organizations have used the Doctrine of Discovery to justify the taking lands, the extermination of people and cultures, and the breaking of agreements and treaties. Since 2007 we have been reading, discussing and educating ourselves ourselves about Indigenous Peoples’ history, worldviews, and struggles.

Colonisation

Native Peoples, appropriated Indian lands and resources were colonized and after the United States Revolutionary War, the tenets of Discovery were continued by the new
states and courts, controlling all purchase of Indian lands and any foreign, personal, or commercial interactions with tribes.
In the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Johnson v. M’Intosh (1823), Chief Justice John Marshall stated that discovery rights annulled pre-existing rights of “ancient possessors,” and that “power, war, conquest, give rights, which after possession, are conceded by the world.…”; thus having the Johnson decision influence all subsequent thinking in federal Indian law to this day.

For years it became accustomed to think it was allowable to take in the land of the Red Indians. The white supremacy considered it o.k. to have the right of dominance over the existence of Indigenous Peoples, assuming the right to take, grant, and dispose of their lands, territories, and resources without their permission or consent.

Declaration for respect, dignity and partnership

Whereas, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007, without conditions and/or qualifications, after more than 20 years of discussions and deliberations by  thousands of Indigenous nations, governments, organizations, and peoples from around the world; and whereas the Declaration is a positive move towards creating true reform to respect and recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to sovereignty and  self-determination; and whereas, the Declaration is the most comprehensive, international human rights instrument explicitly addressing the economic, social, cultural, political, spiritual and environmental rights of Indigenous Peoples and is essential to the dignity, survival and well-being of over 340 million Indigenous Peoples world-wide;

Therefore, be it resolved that those loving freedom, repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as a relic of colonialism, feudalism, and of religious, cultural, and racial biases having no place in the modern day treatment of the American Indians, and being the still present attitude of certain people not in accordance with the laws of freedom.

Though the Declaration is described in the preamble “as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect, there is still in many places not much to notice of co-operation or working together in equality.

Whereas the rights addressed in the Declaration are consistent with other international human rights instruments that the United States already has ratified and is implementing in myriad federal laws, policies, treaties, agreements, and executive orders; and whereas, all four UN-member nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America) who initially voted against the Declaration have reversed their positions, and Indigenous Peoples from around the world are asking all religious faiths and their respective
national and international organizations to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery and related documents, and to call for the United States to implement the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we have to mark that we still have to walk a long way.

Rejection of Doctrine of Discovery

Today still a lot of white people have to encourage their and other communities of faith to reject the use of the Doctrine of Discovery to dominate Indigenous Peoples.
The practices of colonialism contained in the Doctrine of Discovery should at last become eliminated, and we all have to meet the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Whether speaking of Abraham’s clan or the Pilgrims, a case can be made that their creed was individualism, and that for them freedom meant deliverance from the intrusive power of empire (whether Mesopotamian or British) to tyrannize their lives by forced conformity. To be a bit adventuresome, we might imagine both Abraham and William Bradford’s Pilgrims not only as people of religious fervor, but as distinguished political scientists. They well understood what Lord Acton would later famously articulate, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Furthermore, hasn’t it always been the nature of the state to stifle individuality and retard creativity? So it is, that history’s most brilliant thinkers, from Socrates to Ghandi, have often found themselves at odds with it.” (Kenneth Hanson)

Legal contract to bring tribes and people together

Abraham had his covenant with God, and kept to it. The Pilgrims Fathers also thought they could have a new contract with God and agreed to make a a legal contract binding the subsequent tribes to each other.

The Pilgrim Chronicles makes deliberate allusion both to Abraham and the covenant, extrapolating the term to their own society:

A covenant, or confederation, according to all the Congregational fathers, is what constitutes a church, and a person a member of it; it may be in writing, or verbal, implicit or explicit… A separation from the world into the fellowship of the gospel and covenant of Abraham, is a true church, truly gathered, though ever so weak. (Nathaniel Morton, William Bradford, Thomas Prince, Edward Winslow, New-England’s Memorial (Boston, Congregational Board of Publication, 1855), 423.)

Their core principles were arguably even more radical, for the Pilgrims audaciously proclaimed that “every … church is strictly independent of all uninspired authority.” (Nathaniel Morton, William Bradford, Thomas Prince, Edward Winslow, New-England’s Memorial (Boston, Congregational Board of Publication, 1855), 422.) In other words, in a day when ecclesiastical and temporal authorities tended to be wedded at the hip and at the head, their greatest desire was to be completely free from the coercive power of the church-state. Freedom was thus understood as emancipation from coercion, from the arbitrary power of others. Moreover, at every juncture, the American pioneers chose to root this understanding in the biblical text.

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Previous: Leaving the Old World to find better pastures

To be continued: Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition

Please do find:

  1. The Doctrine Of Discovery
  2. UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
  3. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  4. Division for Social Policy and Development
  5. Repudiation the Doctrine of Discovery
  6. Quaker Indian Committee disavows Doctrine of Discovery, affirms Declaration

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Papal Bulls

  1. Papal Bull Dum Diversas 18 June, 1452 The Bull Romanus Pontifex (Nicholas V)
    January 8, 1454
  2. The Leagel Battle and Spiritual War against the Native People
    The Bull Inter Caetera (Alexander VI)
    May 4, 1493
  3. Expansion of Papal Bulls

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  1. Christian values and voting not just a game
    People shall, in a certain way, always get what they choose for. In case they voted some government they can not complain afterwards that this government brought something in Law, when they could have figured that out beforehand. God absolutely instructs us to obey man’s laws unless they violate God’s laws, so as long as they are not against the Will of God, we shall have to obey them. And have to pay our taxes for example. (Giving the Emperor what belongs to the emperor.)
  2. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  3. A world in denial
  4. Liberal and evangelical Christians
  5. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  6. Hell: Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  7. What happens when we die?
  8. Join the debate about the position of fallen angels
  9. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  10. Jesus three days in hell
  11. Heavenly creatures do they excist
  12. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  13. Where does Satan lives?
  14. Satan the evil within
  15. Satan or the devil
  16. Lucifer
  17. Angels, Demons and Elohim
  18. Why is there so much evil in the world?

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  • “Go ye!” – Patriarchs and Pioneers; Part 1 (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
    I’m going to start a series here on the biblical origins of the American character. We all know, or should, that the early settlers, especially the ones we call the Pilgrims,  felt a close affinity with the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. But why? I’ve always felt it was a disenchantment with the King of England, not least because of their sympathy for Oliver Cromwell.
  • Akkad (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
    Akkad was an ancient city and region in northern Babylonia, now central Iraq. It was founded by the conqueror Sargon around 2,300 BCE. Sargon extended the vast Akkadian Empire by uniting the city-states of Mesopotamia, and the now-extinct Akkadian language became a lingua franca of the region.
  • “Go ye!” – Patriarchs and Pioneers; Part 2 (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
    This is the second of a series here on the biblical origins of the American character. it definitely builds on the part preceding it, so if you haven’t read part one, do so, here.We all know, or should, that the early settlers, especially the ones we call the Pilgrims,  felt a close affinity with the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. But why?
  • Old Testament Archaeology and History – Part1 (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
    In the mid-nineteenth century, many liberal so-called Christian teachers taught that the Bible came through centuries of oral tradition since people could not write in Moses’ time. Since then, the first writing we have found was 1,800 years prior to Moses. 30,000 Sumerian tables have been found, including 4,000 in the city of Uruk, dated 3,000 B.C., and 20,000 tablets in the important city of Mari. 14,000-15,000 inscriptions on clay tablets have been uncovered in the city of Ebla, (2500-2200 B.C.), including one mentioning the name Abraham. By Moses’ time, it is now believed that even the slaves could read and write. Of course, Moses was raised in the Egyptian court and had a thorough education (See Acts 7:22).
  • Amorites (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
    Amorites (‘emori, always in the singular like the Babylonian Amurru from which it is taken; Amorraioi): …
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    The Amorite kingdom was of great antiquity. About 2500 B.C. it embraced the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria, with its capital probably at Harran, and a few centuries later northern Babylonia was occupied by an “Amorite” dynasty of kings who traced theft descent from Samu or Sumu (the Biblical Shem), and made Babylon their capital. To this dynasty belonged Khammu-rabi, the Amraphel ofGenesis 14:1. In the astrological documents of the period frequent reference is made to “the king of the Amorites.”
  • “Abraham, Abraham” (sonlightdevotional.org)
    Wherever men of faith dwell, and wherever men live by faith, the name Abraham becomes a beacon and a sign post to them.
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    God, the same today as He was yesterday and shall be forever, required from Abraham the same sacrifice of self which He requires of us today.
  • Deconstructing Avraham Burg (gilad.co.uk)
    Over the years, Burg has managed to extend the scope of the Zionist self-criticism; he has challenged the Zionist discourse, Israeli society and even Jewish identity politics. A few days ago, in a New York Times opinion piece, he attempted to explore the reasons behind the collapse of Israeli democracy.
    +
    “My generation”, he says, “grew up with the deep, almost religious belief that the two countries shared basic values and principles.”  Burg was referring to  ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’, ‘respect for other nations’ and ‘human solidarity.’
    +
    How could an intelligent person, Israeli or not, even consider the Jewish state to be ‘humane’?
  • The Bible In Our World (Lesson 5) (thebiblemeditator.wordpress.com)
    Why do people tell stories about their ancestors? It keeps alive the struggles and successes of their journey through time. It preserves languages and customs. It highlights characteristics peculiar to that family. It gives the younger generation a sense of belonging.
  • Messianic Prophecy Number 8: Gen 12.3 – All Families Blessed through Abraham (theoldtestamentandthenewtestament.com)
    Genesis 12.3, especially the last line, is the centerpiece of the Bible, the foundation upon which the rest of the biblical message is built, for everything that follows God’s promise to Abraham,
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  • Then in the following passages, you can see how it is true that the Lord includes people from every nation,“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3.28, 29).
  • Dream Beyond Borders(ikoaamblessed.com)Do you have a dream, a passion, or a mission in life that goes beyond the boundaries and traditions of your family pedigree, geographical location, accustomed lifestyle and beliefs or socioeconomic status?  You are not alone!  Keep on cherishing and nourishing that dream.
    Though it may seem impossible to you presently, your dream, passion or mission will definitely become a reality if you focus all your effort like a laser beam at it, and work hard enough for it.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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17 Responses to Men of faith

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