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       Chapter Six

Pre-Israelic Revelations

Discarding the possibility of Shem as Melchizedek and Melchizedek as an earlier appearance of Jesus who stayed with his People as their King and Priest we have another historical possibility which will tally with the concept of indwelling of Holy Spirit and Sonship.  The very existence of Melchizedek before Abraham brings up an interesting situation.  Melchizedek was the King of Jerusalem and also the High Priest to ‘El Elyon’ which means “Most High God” which indeed was a god of the Hittites and Canaanites of the period of Abraham.  This Most High God is evidently identified with YHVH. The recognition that Parameshwara was indeed the Most High God is significant. The fact that Melchizedek was the King of Jerusalem, and also the High Priest of Most High God, it is evident that the worship of God did exist before the revelation of God through Abraham and to the Israel. This pre-Abrahamic revelation of God through people who were non-Abrahamic is seen elsewhere in the Holy Scriptures.

Amos 9:7 reads: "Are you not like the Sudanese to me, O people of Israel?', says the Lord. Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?'

The important point here to note is the reversal of comparison. Lord is not saying 'O people of Sudan are you not to me like the People of Israel?’ Instead God is speaking to Israel and saying they are to him like the people of the Sudan, Egypt and Philistines, indicating that Sudanese, Egyptians and Philistines were the people of God before Israel was chosen. It also indicates that the Philistines and the Syrians were brought to the Promised Land from somewhere else, just as Israel was brought out from Egypt and given the land.  This area is the Fertile Crescent where we see all these three nations. The Philistines were called out of Caphtor and Syrians were called out of Kir by God and brought to the land of Canaan.  They were there when Abraham arrived there.  Is it any wonder that there were a called out people and a Priest of the Most High God filled with the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem?

The Bible clearly states that God chose people for three specific purposes: First they are to be a kingdom of Priests to the nations so that they may declare to the rest of the world the greatness of God.

 Ex.19:5,6  'If you will obey my voice and keep my Covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine, and you shall be to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'  .

Notice in this promise, everyone in the nation was supposed to be a priest and a King.   But this was conditional – that they obey God’s voice and keep his Covenant.

 Secondly they were to guard the word of God.
 

R om 3:1-3  Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God.  What if some were unfaithful

This of course is the major part of the Priesthood.  Without the Oracles, there would be no declaration of redemption. 

Thirdly they were to bring forth the Word of God in Flesh, i.e. they were to produce Jesus.  Israel was rejected by God in carrying on as a special people as they failed to act as missionaries and they failed to accept their messiahs. Is it not then reasonable to assume, that God might have called other people, and must have rejected them for some reason or other because of their failure?  If so Amos' list gives these nations which includes Sudan followed by Philistines and Syrians.

 We do have evidence to show that Philistines were God's chosen people. Philistines, sons of Egypt, son of Ham, son of Noah were called out of Caphtor (See 1Chr.1:12, Deu.2:23, Jar. 47:4, Amo.9:7, Gen.10:14) a wreath shaped island in Africa.

Among the Philistines we see Goliath and four of his brothers who are the children of Anak, who occupied Canaan for it was given to them. God brought them out of Caphtor and gave them Canaan, the Promised Land if we accept Amos. They gave the name Palestine to that place as is known even today.  Bible however gives the god of Philistines as Dagon the fish-god while they were a mountain people at that time. How did this come about?  Philistine tribal memory went on to remember the great leading of God in bringing them over the ocean. Did God dry up the ocean for them? Or did he provide fishes to carry them across? With a mighty hand God led them into the Promised Land. Just as Israel was brought out of Egypt through the Red Sea by making a way through the waters.  Israel’s God is a mountain God; Philistines' God was a sea God even though they were a mountain people when we meet them in Canaan.  The Fish God was a tribal memory celebrating their migration over the sea to Canaan.  Some people think that the scales of the Fish in their god are the structure of corn and they are to be interpreted as a corn god.  But the fish tail is still there.  Evidently the sea people became the agricultural people in Canaan – which came to be known as Palestine


 

Dagon - the god of the Philistine                                             Miter

 

Dagon's temples were in Philistine for about 2000 years, although Baal took over in most parts of the Middle East. Dagon is one of the really old gods. The Ras Shamra texts describe Dagon as coequal with El, who is the most ancient and senior of all the Semitic gods. Dagon's temple at Ashdod existed right up until the time of the Hasmoneans   Dagon was portrayed half man and half fish. After entering the Canaan Dagon became the god of agriculture and fertility. Fish symbolism of Dagon is still with us in the miter of Popes and Metropolitans.

 

Note also that Philistines, sons of Anak, were children of the sons of God as mentioned in Gen.6 and referred to in Num.13:33. God called these Hamites out of Caphtor in Africa and brought them and gave them the Promised Land and they ruled from the capital of Jerusalem'. Thus Abraham meets with the King of Jerusalem, Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18, 19) who was the ultimate product of the Philistine culture. He was the priest of the Most High God. He is described in Heb.7 as one 'resembling the Son of God', i.e. resembling Jesus. Each culture could produce what it can. In the meeting of Melchizedek with Abraham, Melchizedek blessed Abraham and handed over the election to him. Then on we see the decline of the Philistines, a falling away from the understanding of the Most High God. We don’t know when Philistines lost control of Jerusalem.  But soon after Abraham the control of Jerusalem went to Jebusites. At the time of conquest of Canaan the city was also called Jebus.  Abimelech, was not the King of Salem but he was the King of Gerar another Philistine Kingdom probably.  This King of Philistines certainly showed a deep understanding of God. He even had visions of God and was very sensitive to God's leadings. (see Gen.20,21,26).  The prophet of God still prevailed in the land of the Philistines and we meet a famous Balaam (Num. 22-23).  Otherwise we will find it very difficult to explain the presence of Balaam. The God who came to Balaam was none other than Elohim Himself. As the Israelites entered Palestine the King of Jerusalem was Adoni-zedek (Jos. 10). Evidently he was a predecessor of Melchi-zedek. But even though his name includes Adoni, he does not know Adoni.   Melkizedek means King of Justice, while Adonizedec means God of Justice.  But he showed no real understanding of Adoni at all. The city of Jerusalem was lost to the Philistines and they were in the hands of Jebusites, the hill people of that time. These probably were a mixed nation out of all those who were in that territory. (Adonizedek was like Herod in Judah.)  From them David wrenched out Jerusalem.

Thus evidently God called Philistines.  There existed a thriving Community of God with a Priest-King one like the son of God in Jerusalem. Melchizedek was indeed a great prophet filled with the Holy Spirit and the exquisite flower of that called out nation.  For some reason, which we can only conjecture, God rejected the nation.

God then must have called other people before them as Amos claims. The first call must have been Sudan, but they were able to produce only a Lopede, whom they rejected and God rejected the nation. What was their corruption? We can only guess. Was it the fall into ancestral worship?

Historical evidence indicates that the Southern Sudanese tribes were once occupying the Northern provinces and were pushed back. Probably God led them across Nile into the Southern provinces, which flows with 'milk and honey', and is an agricultural land similar in all respects to Palestine. Mawut says, 'The Dinka have experience similar to the Jewish crossing of the Red Sea. Stories connected with their migration from the east of the Nile to the west mention such events ...... In a story of Western Dinka migration from the eastern bank to western bank of the Bahr el Jebel to Bahr El . Ghazal, a leader of a pursued people , Ajing, prayed to God at Lake Shambe that the water should part to make way for his people to cross. God heard his prayers and made the water part, after which the Dinkas crossed through a dry river bed to the west.' (see Lienhardt)