The Old Testament Study
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The day the sun stood still (Joshua 10)
YHWH (Yahweh of the Elohim) had an intention that the Israelites should meet the spiritual forces of Canaan and in a sense marry with these spiritual forces and thereby bring about a transformation and a fructification. The people of the city of Jericho closed themselves off to others and so did the people of the city of Ai and both cities became anathema to YHWH and were annihilated. Gibeon made peace and Israelites lived together with the Gibeonites. To understand these spiritual forces better Michaël elaborated on the history that led to these spiritual forces arising in Canaan.
Having the history of the mythology of Egypt and Phoenicia in mind transforms the understanding of Joshua 10. What is presented becomes visible as a great cosmic picture of the spiritual forces that are at play in human evolution and destiny. The importance of the marriage that YHWH intended becomes clear. It is also possible to understand what blocked the peoples of Jericho and Ai to the invitation that the Israelites share in the space they inhabited. In Joshua 10 the story becomes subordinate to the spiritual picture that it presents. The earthly story is a reflection of a greater spiritual interchange.
Osiris was a great Egyptian god who married his sister and they have a son. The myths that exist about Osiris come to us from the Greek and Roman myths and stories and represent their understanding of the stories that were held religiously by the Egyptians and the Phoenicians. We can discern from these myths something of the journey of Osiris. There are several different myths about the death of Osiris. He is then resurrected and fathers his son after his resurrection. His resurrection is more of a revitalisation for a short period in order to father his son, Horus. One myth tells of Osiris being sealed in a coffin and the coffin being set adrift on the Nile which is a story we encounter again with the infant Moses who was placed in a basket of reeds that was sealed and termed a coffin. The theme of death leading into life is part of the human mythology from the earliest time. It finds its fullest expression, a true lasting reality for the human condition, in the death and resurrection of the Mystery of Golgotha. The coffin of Osiris disappeared, and Isis searched for it. The coffin had become lodged in a tree and the tree had grown around it encasing it completely. This tree was then cut down to become one of the pillars in either the temple or the king’s palace in Byblos in what would have been Phoenicia. When Isis finally found the coffin in the pillar, she released Osiris from the coffin and revitalised him in order to become the father of Horus. Osiris then returned to the Underworld, the world of the dead, to become the new ruler of the Underworld, ruler of those who had died, in place of his brother who has caused his death.
The Egyptian had seen Osiris as a god in the sun. The light of the sun, sun wisdom, had inspired the Egyptians to see Osiris, to recognise the quality of Osiris and inspire the myths that they would tell of Osiris’ life. They cast the mythology into earthly reality in order that it could be understood. Osiris is then the great pharaoh. In most traditions of Osiris he is depicted as green skinned. This colour of green is strongly associated with the Sumerian goddess connected with the planet Venus, gifting us with copper. She then becomes the goddess Isis for the Egyptians and Venus for the Romans. Botticelli, in his depiction of Venus, shows her coming ashore on the island of Cyprus which was the main source of copper in the ancient world. Green became associated with the colour of sacrificial love, the reality of which is found on Good Friday in the sacrifice on the cross. Green therefore has a strong association with the Christ-like sacrificial forces. Osiris as a pharaoh is depicted with a green skin and his lower half is mummified. He is half alive and half dead. This provides a sense of death into life.
There came a time when the Egyptians could no longer see Osiris in the light wisdom of the sun. One could say that he had left the sun-sphere. The being of Osiris then reappears in the legends of the Phoenicians as another sun god, Adonis. He disappeared to the sight of the Egyptians in the sun-sphere and reappeared to the sight of the Phoenicians in the sun-sphere. Adonis had many of the qualities of Osiris. Adonis was also connected to the island of Cyprus. There was a king on the island of Cyprus who had a daughter, Myrrha. Her mother describes her as more beautiful than Aphrodite. Aphrodite is displeased and cursed Myrrha to fall in love with her father. Her servant helps her trick her father into sleeping with her and she falls pregnant. Her father banishes her and while fleeing across Arabia asked the gods to hide her. They transform her into a tree, the myrrh tree and in this form she gives birth to Adonis. The baby was found by Aphrodite who gave him to the daughter of Demeter, on whose festival the pregnancy occurred, Persephone to raise. Persephone spent part of her life in the Underworld and she choses to raise Adonis in the Underworld. When Adonis became a man Aphrodite came to see him and fell in love with him, but so did Persephone. There are different versions of the legend as to how Adonis becomes the full-time lover of Aphrodite.
Osiris as a sun-being for the Egyptians re-emerged as a sun-being for the Phoenicians. Adonis means “the Lord”. He was the Lord of the sun and a central figure in the Phoenician religion and mythology.
The Israelites found themselves under the protection of a mighty spiritual being who was God’s agent. In the Jewish scriptures he is described as Yahweh of the Elohim and his name is the tetragrammaton YHWH. The Elohim were seen as beings of the sun, they carried sun-like wisdom. YHWH of the Elohim leaves the sphere of the sun for the sphere of the moon to be nearer in the hierarchical, angelic, celestial spheres to humanity. He makes a certain sacrifice to his development as a sun-being and he appears to the Israelites as a moon-being. We translate Elohim as God but the actual meaning is ‘the strong ones of God’. El is the Almighty, the Originator, the Great Creator, the Almighty Oneness of Divinity. El is a Canaanite language word. El therefore comes out of the Canaanite / Phoenician stream. It is still used today in names where it denotes ‘of God’, such as Michael, Gabriel, etc. But the Hebrews could not say the name of YHWH because it was too holy to speak, they read it as “Lord”. Hence the translation in the King James Bible as “the Lord God” of what was written as “YHWH of the Elohim”. YHWH was called “the Lord” and they spoke of him as Adonai. The word Adonai comes from the same language source as Adonis.
When the Israelites come with a sense of Adonai they meet a culture that knows Adonis. One Lordship comes into contact with another. This was the marriage that YHWH, Adonai, was asking; a meeting of the counter image.
The Israelites also experience this in the way in which the land is divided among the 12 tribes. Each area is given to the family of a son of Israel because the geography marched the character of that son of Israel. It reflected something of who they were and the qualities and characteristics they brought to their descendants. Each tribe met in the land in which they settle a counter image; in the sense they saw only one side of themselves and facing them was the other side of themselves which they have not seen and must embrace and which must embrace them in order for something new to come. It was to be a fertilisation of culture, a fertility cult. One culture was an image of the other. When the two images married something new could come.
Adoni-Zedek, the lord of justice, was a descendent of Melchizedek who was the king of peace and justice. Adoni-Zedek was king of Jerusalem, city of peace. The king of justice has a descendent who was no longer a master of himself (no longer a king), but rather a servant of Adonai, the Adonai we know as Adonis. He was the lord of justice or the ruler of justice as understood in the rulership of the lord, Adonis. Where Melchizedek was a ruler in his own mastery, following El, a priest of El. He was master of himself and directly responding to El. The descendent of Melchizedek responds to an agent of El, one of the many mighty spiritual beings. In this case to Adonis, a version of Osiris, rather than YHWH, the Adonai of Israel.
With this background it is possible to read Joshua 10. Joshua and his army could travel by night because YHWH (Adonai) is a moon-being, while the Amorite kings felt able only to operate under the sun because Adonis was a sun-being. When the Amirite kings fled they encountered a hailstorm in the maintains that the story attributes to Adonai and we have an early story of natural disasters being attributed to the gods. Joshua felt that he could charge the power of Adonis a sun-being represented in the physical realm as the sun, and the power of Adonai, a sun-being now operating from the moon-sphere, represented in the physical as the moon – two lordships working in partnership with each other – to hold their position. It is an extraordinary cosmic picture. The forces of sun and moon stood still, and it was written in the “Book of the Just”, the Book of Joshua. This was the right way it should have happened, a marriage, as chosen by the Gibeonites. But now the sun and the moon held still while justice was done on the earth. The earth is the place where true justice can take place, the place where we can find the right balance and discernment for the justice that must come. It is a great picture. The sun stood still; time stood still for a day. In a cosmic picture this means the earth stood still for a day. The entire cosmic script stood still for a moment. What is depicted was a real experience on the earth of a mighty spiritual tussle and for the people who experienced it, they experienced time standing still while these two mighty spiritual beings, Adonai and Adonis stood opposite each other and held their positions. They had to learn to work together and the way they work together was to move again in their normal rhythms and cycles.
There has never been a day such as this where the Adonai of Israel listened to a man. This was a real experience for the Israelites, even if the earth had not stopped turning on its axis. With the full might of the spiritual worlds behind them the Israelites now have full possession of the land.
Then we have a picture of what it means to die without the possibility of resurrection. There was no life possibility after death. It is the opposite of the stone being rolled away from the tomb on Easter Morning and the tomb is empty. The tomb is not a place of death any more, it is a place of possibility and life is not in the tomb. The grace of the Divine is in the tomb in the form of an angelic being that instructs the women that Jesus is not there. They must leave the tomb and go out into life to find the life force that has come from death. In the story in Joshua 10 we find the opposite, the sealing of the living in a tomb with great stones and bringing them out to kill them and then placing them back in the tomb and sealing it again. This is a strong picture of death without the possibility of life. What was required was for the Amorites to extend themselves towards the Israelite’s coming in order to complete something for them, otherwise they, like the citizens of Jericho end up being annihilated. This must be seen in a metaphorical sense.
The killing of the Amorite kings by stepping on their necks was a gesturing to the Elohim who have the ability to turn and face a new reality, in this way the neck allows the head to turn and face another perspective. The thinking of the kings was fixed and therefore they were already dead spiritually. They were brought down from the trees on which they were hung at nightfall, at the time of the rulership of YHWH, to be returned to the caves where they had hidden and to be sealed in with stones.
This story is the meeting of YHWH with Adonis/Osiris and taking over the rulership/lordship, but from the position of the realm of the moon, not from the realm of the sun, which was his original home. The tale of the day the sun stood still is probably not known by many people.
Adonis was also worshiped as Baal, the great Lord. In the marriage of the two cultures the Israelites often forgot who their Lord was and turned to worshipping the overthrown Lord. In the book of Judges this was the cyclical life of the Israelites and each time a new Judge was called to judge the situation for the people and set them back on the path of YHWH.
In completing the book of Joshua we read Joshua asking the people of Israel whether they could remain faithful to YHWH for he “is a holy god”. Joshua does not describe him as the Holy God, recognising YHWH as being of God Almighty, an agent of God, of El. Joshua recognised YHWH as greater than the other gods that were appearing as the leaders of other peoples whom the Israelites encountered. Joshua does not dismiss the other gods, but recognises that they have missions that are different to the mission of YHWH and that, were the Israelites to follow any of these other gods, they would be straying from their destiny. Later in scripture there is a shift and the Israelites begin to identify YHWH as El, God Almighty.
We encounter the importance of witnessing when the Israelites confirm that they can remain faithful to YHWH. The act of witnessing to something remains important and in the New Testament it is clear that the real mission of John the Baptist was to be a witness to the Spirit descending and remaining united to Jesus so that the Christ could incarnate. The witness is able to relinquish their own interests and report on behalf of another that the events unfolded is a certain manner which they beheld. One cannot be a witness without having seen the events.
Together with YHWH, whom Joshua describes as the Elohim of Israel, the Israelites receive another angelic guardian who works with YHWH. He is the archangel Michael who is a servant of the task of preparing the human being who can bear the Christ. He becomes the angelic folk spirit of Israel in this mission for Christ.
At this time Joshua wrote down the Law to help the Israelites remain on track and the Old Testament Study will look at sections of the Law in due course. He placed a stone as a witness, a constant reminder, to all that YHWH said to the Israelites.
By this time the land had been divided between the families of ten of the sons of Israel, and to the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, was each given a portion of land while to the family of Levi, because they were consecrated to work in the tabernacle and the temple in the service of YHWH, were given towns in each of the lands together with the fields that surrounded the towns for the grazing of livestock. This stems from the sinning of Reuben against his father Jacob with his father’s concubine through which he loses his birth right. The leadership portion of his birth right was given to Judah and the rights of the firstborn were given to Joseph. Hence, Joseph received two portions of land in the name of his sons because Jacob had blessed Joseph’s sons as his own. The land of Canaan is very diverse in character and the portion that was given to each family matched as aspect of the character of the that son of Israel to whom it was given. They were given that land that they could truly take hold of because it was a reflection of their being. They could become one with the land.
Joshua died at the age of 110. Moses died at the age of 120, a spiritual number. Moses lived a full complete cycle (10) of twelve. He had accomplished everything by the time he died. Joshua was a leader almost as great, but he was not Moses and therefore could not live to that number. He died one cycle short of the period of Moses.
Eleazar, son of Aaron, also died. Eleazar was a priest and Joshua was a prophet and a leader. Together these two oversaw the division of the land of Canaan between the tribes of Israel. This unity of prophet and leader continued through the book of Judges but with Samuel became split when he was led to anoint the first king. Thereafter the prophets were no longer leaders. Then we have the three foldness of prophet, priest and king.
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