Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jerusalem Before and After the Flood


It is extremely difficult for us accurately to reconstruct an event such as the great Noachic or Genesis Flood that happened so long ago – especially given the brevity of the biblical account of it (Genesis 6-9). Consequently we find that today there are various conflicting models being proposed: (i) the global; (ii) the local, but vast; or (iii) the extremely localised.
Whilst some commentators (e.g. Creationists generally) hold that there could have been no continuity between the pre- and post- Flood worlds, others would argue that there was.
Who, then, is right?
Dr Hugh Owen (supported by Robert Sungenis) had, in his criticisms of the AMAIC’s Flood model and arguments throughout a series of MATRIX’s last year, bemoaned what he considered to be the “disheartening … lack of piety” in our treatment of the subject. Ironically Hugh’s (and Robert’s) global model, as well as its presumably erasing all vestiges of the antediluvian world, also erases the pious, and apparently biblical view that the site upon which Jerusalem was established was the very same location as that of ancient Eden - that, precisely where mankind fell, so there was mankind also later redeemed. According to this tradition (e.g. St. Ambrose), Adam, the first man, was buried on the very site of Golgotha where Jesus Christ, as the “Second Adam,” undid the Fall of Man.
And, just as the Garden of Eden was located in the midst of a riverine system that was fed by the Edenic river itself - hence Eden stood in the central place - so was Jerusalem considered, biblically, to lie at the very centre of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5): “Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the centre of the nations, with lands around her’.”
Mount Zion was indeed, therefore, ‘the true pole of the earth’ (Psalm 48:2).
The best, recent insights on Genesis 1 argue that the text is describing an ancient liturgical scheme of things, rather than the creation of the world. That there is a vital connectivity between the Genesis world and the later Temple world has been well grasped by E. Martin (The Temple Symbolism in Genesis), when considering Cain and the ‘sin lying at the door’ (Genesis 4:7) (http://askelm.com/temple/t040301.htm):  
…. The matter becomes understandable once this “door” is identified. The word in Hebrew is pehthagh and refers in other parts of the Old Testament to the entrance of any tent (Genesis 18:1), but more particularly to the door of the tabernacle” (Exodus 29:4), or the door of the temple” (Ezekiel 8:7, 16), or “the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house” (Ezekiel 10:19).
In the case of Cain and Abel, they constructed their altar at the East gate of the Garden just in front of the Cherubim which guarded its entrance (Genesis 3:24). God was indicating to Cain that he still had a chance to obtain a proper offering and offer it. Cain, on the other hand, was a tiller of the ground. He had no lamb to give unless he got one from his brother. God understood the problem, so He added further: “if you do not well” (even if Cain was unable to obtain the proper animal sacrifice) God would have a sin-offering to lie “at the door” of the Garden where the altar was located. 9
[End of quote]
To put the matter beyond all doubt, so we think, Jesus Christ himself has effectively confirmed that there was continuity between the (Adamic and) Noachic world (antediluvian), on the one hand, and the world after the Flood (postdiluvian), on the other. For He told the inhabitants of Jerusalem that the city was going to be held accountable for the blood of prophets shed even from the time of Abel, the brother of Cain (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51). That Divine warning seems not to make much sense if Cain and Abel had had nothing whatsoever to do with the site that came to be known as Jerusalem.
The prophet Jeremiah, likewise, appears to intimate that this ancient site (= Jerusalem) was a sacred place from the very beginning (Jeremiah 17:12): “A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary”. ‘From the beginning’ (מראשון), here, has the same Hebrew root (ראש) as used for ‘beginning’ in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning …”.
Science, as well, favours our view of a connectivity: namely, the significant geological proof that Jerusalem was once under the ocean (Diggings, December 1994, Vol. 10, No. 12), “Why Hezekiah’s Tunnel Has the Bends” (p.5): “…limestone consists of about 30% fragments of fossil shells and some coral, which means that Jerusalem, which is now about 700 metres above sea level, must have been beneath the ocean at some time in the past”. This scientific evidence makes no sense at all in the global (Creationist) context of no continuity between the pre- and post- Flood worlds. Nor would the merely local Mesopotamian flood have extended to cover Jerusalem. No, it must have been a massive flood, indeed, but not global!

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