The origin of political-religious power

Each morning the sun-god keeps on ascending out of the sea, like a fish. This is a golden symbol of power. John was aware of that when attending to the writing of Revelation in Patmos. It’s in chapter 13:1-3  that you can find his complete vision:

“And it stood still upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a wild beast ascending out of the sea, with ten horns (Greek κέρατα, Hebrew קֶרֶן qeren, this term will also mean rays of light. The beast is thus an emanation of the sun-god) and seven heads (Greek κεφαλὰς, Hebrew רֹ֖אשׁ rōš) and upon its horns ten diadems, but upon its heads blasphemous names. Now the wild beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were as those of a bear, and its mouth was as a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave to [the beast] its power and its throne and great authority.”

Out of the sea comes the beast: Ra, the sun-god,  the Egyptian origin of all political and religious powers. Traditionally animals are carrying his chariot: leopards, horses or lions. Dionysus leads them as the main charioteer. Only a few of us today can realize the extent to which religion and politics have been inextricably intertwined in the chariot of the beast throughout human history.

Secrets undercover

Some days ago I came across an Egyptian stela showing a man sacrificing to Ra.  In the middle of them, there’s a small table, the altar with an offer of some fruit and vegetables, as in Genesis 4:3. It looks like a sort of Cain, presenting a sacrifice to the sun-god. In front of him, Ra is standing on a step and holding a was-scepter in his right hand. As I will later show, the stela unveils some detail undercover.

Pardes

Pardes is the Garden of Secrets. When digging the Torah you will probably move through many different levels. There are four outstanding steps. 1) Pshat is the literal, historical surface of the writing. 2)Remez is the highlighting of the allusions you can perceive when considering language and imagery.3) Drash is homiletic, the rational comment. 3)Sod is the unveiling of some secret meaning.

So, step by step, I’m proceeding slowly.  Prophecy is tough. Sometimes a single expression attracts my attention and stops me for a little while. This is what happens when facing Rosh. It’s the Hebrew name I went across when reading the first verses of Ezekiel in chapter 38.

Nasi ros

God is addressing Gog this way: “Gog [of] the land of Magog, the head chieftain of Meshech and Tubal…” The title of the head chieftain in the Hebrew text is the following: נְשִׂ֕יא רֹ֖אשׁ nə-śî rōš. This is a rather an intriguing expression. Somebody would refer it to Russia. Anyway, this is not the aim of the prophecy. So, Ezekiel’s 38 addresses Gog as nə-śî rōš, “head chieftain” or  “chieftain of Rosh” for some other purpose. The Vulgate has “head prince”, the Septuagint “ruler of Rosh”, the Syriac  Peshitta has “leader and head.”

In Psalm 118:22 the Messiah is described as ro’sh pinnàh, Greek kefalè gonìas, the head of the corner (of the stone the builders have rejected). The corresponding Greek for ros, which is a title, is ἀρχηγός, archégos, the chief leader, a title given to Jesus in Acts 3:15. Archégos is a person who is originator or founder of a movement and continues as the leader. On the contrary, ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου is the ruler of the irreligious mass of mankind, and a title referring to Satan in John 12:31. (From archḗ, “the first” and ágō, “to lead”) – properly, the first in a long procession; a file-leader who pioneers the way for many others to follow.)

Ros, ra, ras, rais, raja, rex

Rosh is a Hebrew word, a primitive root meaning head. The word is somewhat similar to ras, rais, raja, rex. Even Ra. Raʾīs is a word originating from the Arabic or Urdu language. You could translate it as President. People commonly use this term this way in the Near East and in South Asia. Till now it is a common title for a person in authority, especially the captain of a ship. In today Sicily rais is the chief responsible for the vessel when catching tuna.

Raja

The Indian word raja and the Latin rex may have the same root. Sanskrit rājan- is cognate to Latin rēx (genitive rēgis) ‘king’ (as in pre-republican Rome), Gaulish rīx, Gaelic  (genitive ríg), etc., originally denoting heads of petty kingdoms and city-states. It is believed to be ultimately derived from the Proto-Indo-European *h3rēǵs, a vrddhi formation to the root *h3reǵ- “to straighten, to order, to rule”.

The Sanskrit n-stem is secondary in the male title, apparently adapted from the female counterpart rājñī which also has an -n- suffix in related languages, compare Old Irish rígain and Latin Regina Cognates of the word rājan in other Indo-European languages include English reign,  German Reich or the French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese related words. (https://wikivividly.com/wiki/Raja)

Hooks in the jaws

Now, let’s be back to Ezekiel. When addressing the chieftain of Rosh, God says: “I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army” (38:4) Putting hooks in the jaws is in some way an allusion to fishing and fish. Ezekiel 29:4 reads: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Here I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, The great sea monster lying among the streams of his Nile, Who has said, ‘My Nile River belongs to me. I made it for myself.’ But I will put hooks in your jaws and cause the fish of your Nile to cling to your scales. I will bring you up out of your Nile along with all the fish of the Nile that clings to your scales”.

Unis Sobek

Ra, among others, was represented as a crocodile. Then he was called Ra-Sobek or Unis. “Unis is Sobek, green of plumage, with alert face and raised fore, the splashing one who came from the thigh and tail of the great goddess in the sunlight … He has appeared as Sobek, Neith‘s son. Unis will eat with his mouth, Unis will urinate and Unis will copulate with his penis. He is lord of semen, who takes women from their husbands to the place Unis likes according to his heart’s fancy.”(The Pyramid text of Unis)

The was-scepter

Anyway, Ra is generally represented as holding a  staff called the was-scepter, something like a stick with a hook on top and fork at the bottom. The stick is somewhat linked to a proportion resulting in this special number, 11.1. This is a number deeply intertwined with the earth and sun system. Though seen throughout ancient Egyptian art, scholars say textual information about the origins of the staff appears completely missing. So, we know practically nothing about the use of the staff.

It could be somewhat similar to the ankh symbol used in writing to represent the word for “life”.  In art, the symbol often appeared as a physical object representing substances such as air or water that are related to life. It was commonly held in the hands of deities. Similarly, you could think of Poseidon. He was the god of the sea and often he is shown with a three-pronged spear called a trident and/or a fish. So, deities were giving the scepter to the pharaoh, to represent the power to sustain life. It was sometimes used to represent water or fertility.

Kingship and fish

Egyptians were fishers and originally the scepter could have been something similar to the hook for the clouds of the Dogons. They were an ancient people living in an area south of Egypt, near the Nile sources. The scepter is similar to a fishing hook. It represents the power to control waters. Egyptians as fishers had a fish-god, the sun rising out of the sea, the counterpart of Nimrod who was a hunter. Beasts were omnipresent.

Incidentally, fish are often connected to kingship. Think of the Dolphin, the son of the French king. Or think of the piscatorial ring of the Popes.  Putting the hook in Gog’s jaw is an allusion to the defeating of Ra-Sobek, the crocodile. It will represent a mortal challenge for any Egyptian-like power. Primarily, a mortal attack against Ra, the sun-god and its heliocentric worship. A dreadful menace indeed against all the contemporary political establishment represented by Pharaoh’s kingship.

 

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