Part Two: “Let us worship the creation instead of the Creator!”: The clash between the pagans and the radical idea of monotheism

The Ancient Canaanites 2500 – 411 B.C.E. Date is based on period known as Late Bronze Age to the last recorded Canaanite king, Abdemon.

Although, as a people, the Canaanites cease to exist, they remain prevalent today through both Biblical and archaeological records. Located mainly in the region (Mesopotamia) , which today is the State of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and parts of Lebanon, the Canaanite people will be our second study on the link between the early roots of paganism in ancient times (and the deification of nature) compared with the modern expression of these commonalities.

Canaanite culture, as we know it today through archaeology and the Bible, took enormous leaps and bounds with its Mesopotamian flare from the influence of nations surrounding it and the kings that ruled them. The Canaanites were a Semitic, tribal people, divided into clans that governed sections of lands in an agrarian caste. They were warlike,  built cities, developed intricate pottery, worshiped many gods fervently, wrote in a cuneiform type script (with connections to Accadian) and were the major players during the time of the early Hebrews when they entered the land. We read in the Bible of such Canaanite cities as Hazor, Beit She’an, Jericho, and Ai (that have been excavated) to just name a few and they lived among and were surrounded by non-Semitic neighbors such as the Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, etc. Yet, the Canaanites had one main thing in common that we see among all the people’s of the lands and that was their belief that their gods directly impacted nature and existed within nature as a controlling, malevolent, factor.

In William Foxwell Albright’s masterpiece entitled, “YAHWEH AND THE GODS OF CANAAN” he writes that the pantheon of Canaanite gods and their religious practice has better come to light through the study and excavations of ancient Ugarit, which shared common culture and language with the Canaanites. Also, the myths, prose, songs, ballads, and legends are almost exactly the same between that of Canaan and Ugarit, so much as it is possible the two blended together, although there are sources that explicitly verbalize a difference between the two. Yet, similar to Ugarit, the Canaanites connected their gods and goddess to what they saw in nature, whether through the weather, seasons, and animals. They worshiped upon the high places (mountains) where they built temples, they tied in the natural changes of nature into an agrarian type calendar (for instance at the time of planting or harvest certain ceremonies would take place related to the deity that was in charge, i.e. Baal over wheat crops) and they worshiped the celestial heavens (sun, moon, stars, planets). Their religious expression was interwoven into the fabric of daily life in every facet. Let’s look at three such gods, El who was the head of the pantheon, Asherah the goddess of holiness and fertility, and Baal the god of harvest and crops.

Three is a Crowd: A Study of El, Baal, and Asherah

El: (El-‘elyon, El-‘olamknown as Baniyu binawati “Begetter of Creatures”) : El was the chief god of the Canaanites and has been identified with gods such as Kronos (Greece) and Re (Egyptian) and is translated as, “strong one”, or “the leader/master”. El  was also called by another name, “Bull El,”. According to Albright, El is pictured as the father of mankind and the creator of everything that man interacts with, the earth and the heavens. An image of a bull was associated with “El, or the Bull El,” for the significance of wild cattle and horses contained strength and majesty which was what the Canaanites wanted to emulate in the persona of such a chief god as, El. For in this image of the bull or stallion, Albright says, El would be viewed as “strong enough to vanquish all rivals.” The Canaanites, as did any other pagan group of people, wanted to view El as unstoppable and a god who commanded respect and was the highest authority among the pantheon.

For one to visit, meet with, and worship El, they had to come to a place known as, “the source of the two rivers, the fountain of the two deeps.” Albright lays out a geographical grid on where to find such a place. He states that this place referred to the region of Canaan itself (like a Mount Olympus), and that most likely this region was in the heartland called Aphaca (fountain), which later would house the sanctuary of a god Adonis. We see the common pattern throughout the pagan world in the visitations by men to the temples of their gods, built upon the peaks of mountains which were literally believed to be the celestial homes of the gods on earth. For El, within his temple or abode, it was believed that El would not communicate with gods or men, except through visions and visits.

Baal: Baal, the storm-god and king of heaven and earth, is by far the most active of the Canaanite pantheon. Known as the, “Son of Dagan” (Hebrew: Dagon) Baal took upon himself similar traits of fertility from his father who was worshiped around the Euphrates Valley in early times and later adopted by the Philistines. Baal’s personal name, Hadad (pronounced: Hudade) later took on the appellation of meaning “lord” (Ba’al). When this addition was applied to Hadad is not known. In the seventeen and sixteen centuries B.C.E. Hadad (like in most mythology) was identified to other gods in the regions around it, like ancient Egypt‘s storm-god, Seth, Greece’s god Zeus, or Babylon’s Marduk. Favorite terms to describe Baal would be, ‘Triumphant Baal’, ‘Cloud-Rider’, and ‘Majesty, Lord of the Earth.’  Baal struggled with gods, had power in the underworld, and effected the vegetation on earth. He had such great influence that often times human sacrifices would be offered to appease Baal or from an act of desperation (i.e. famine, death, sickness, drought, etc). The worship of Baal meant the worshiper would give everything and be kept in a state of fear and question. Baal left its adherents in the dark and sometimes demanded their very blood.

The expression of worship to Baal was something which we see in many different ways. One such example we will look at is in the account of the prophet Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal upon Mount Carmel. Here we see an extreme and charismatic sadism in how the prophets of Baal react to calling on their god, Baal. The account in 1 Kings 18:28-29 reads, “So they (prophets of Baal) cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out of them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.” In this showdown of who is real, Baal or the God of Israel, Elijah watches as the prophets of Baal cry out to him (the son of Dagon).  However, Baal says nothing and ultimately the true God, the God of Israel, shows Himself through fire from heaven which consumes Elijah’s altar covered in water. Thus, showing to all who the real God is. The interesting thing in this account are a number of items I will touch on before I continue.

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal: Quick points to note!

Baal among Israel: We see in 1 Kings 16:31-33 that Baal was brought into the land of Israel by way of the marriage between King Ahab of Israel and the Sidonian daughter, Jezebel, (notice the end of her name) of King Ethbaal (notice the name again!!!). We see Ahab build a temple to Baal in Samaria and erect within it a wooden image of the god. This no doubt provokes the anger of the Lord God of Israel and Elijah the Tishbite is sent to confront both Ahab and the paganism.  Season: Baal is considered to be the god over the crops and natural forces. He is seen as a god of fertility that helps fields grow and gives life. However, in the account by the hand of Elijah, God has allowed it not to rain on the land for over three years, thus bringing famine. This shows Baal to be powerless and incapable of changing anything in a climate he is assumed to be in control over. God or god?: The worship of Baal was rampant throughout the Canaanite world. We see many cultures apart from the Canaanites adopting the worship of Baal, chiefly among those were the ancient Israelite’s.  Elijah’s challenge is that Israel has strayed away from the real God and traded Him for a lie, to worship that of which is untruth. Elijah therefore proclaims that God will show Himself to be master over everyone and everything, including El, Baal, and all the other gods of Canaan. The end of the account proves this to be true with the God of Israel sending fire from heaven, consuming the altar of bull parts, wood, and water, which ultimately results in the prophets of Baal being put to death.

Asherah: (The Lady who traverses the Sea- known as Qaniyatu ‘elima “She who gives birth”):Asherah is seen as the goddess of holiness. She possesses a mystical approach as a goddess who has been seen (through myth) to consort and have relations throughout the Canaanite pantheon. She was usually depicted as a nude goddess atop of a lion, and was seen often, in Canaanite literature, as a sworn enemy of Baal and his sister Anath. Her holiness is seen as a designation of her very divinity, and she is equaled to El as his consort. Often times it is Asherah, who deals with the misbehaving of other gods as El instructs her and gives her advice.

The mention of Asherah in the Bible is frequent during the time of the Philistines and Canaanites when Israel was establishing herself. In the Book of Judges 3:7 it states that Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served both Baal and Asherah. In 1st Kings 15:13 it gives the account of King Asa of the Kingdom Judah, dealing with the evil of the queen mother who set up an image of Asherah which is described as being, “obscene.” We see Asa cut this object down and burn it by the Brook Kidron. However, none of the accounts of the Israelite syncretism of Canaanite gods/goddess into their religious system are as sacrilegious as the passage in 2nd Kings 21:7 where we see the wicked king of Judah, Manasseh, profane the temple in Jerusalem by setting up a carved image of Asherah. Further ahead in chapter 23:4, we see the next king of Judah, King Josiah, cleanse the House of the Lord (temple) of, “all the articles that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven,”. This is interesting because it shows that Manasseh in the previous passage which I mentioned, did not just stop with Asherah, but had filled the Jewish Temple with articles of Baal and the other gods and goddess, a despicable act! These are just three examples of the syncretism in which the Hebrews fall guilty to, as the enormous pressure to take part in the local norm of idolatry pressed in around them.

Conclusion of the Canaanites:

The Canaanites were a people developed and advanced like the nations surrounding it, but a people controlled by the whims of their deities in which they sought to understand the world in which they lived in. They explained natural patterns (such as storms, rain, and sunshine) as being guided by their deities, and things found in nature (rivers, lakes, animals, fields, trees, and mountains) as emulating the very existence of the gods and goddesses. For example, the common belief concerning pools of water, underground rivers and springs was that they were inhabited by mystical spirits like nymphs which gave the water power. They also went further in the belief that the spirits themselves which dwelt in the water would directly affect the growth of their crops and the prosperity of their families. When the harvest failed or was stunted, people naturally interpreted that as the wrath and anger of the gods, thus they would offer sacrifices or often perform extreme measures of worship, such as what is found in the Biblical account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

However, in all of their worship and practices, it was the exact opposite of what the God of the Bible had intended for man after his creation, in the book of Genesis 1:28 where it states, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” In the lives of the Canaanites, it was creation that had dominion over them as they (along with all the other pagan nations) became slaves to it. The Canaanite pantheon was a cruel task master, and inevitably it led to their demise as the one true God, would judge them because of their idolatry and having sacrificed, even their own children, to quench the glutinous appetite of false deities such as El, Baal, and Asherah.

By: Peter J. Fast

Soon to come: Part Three: Ancient Israel: The Radical Monotheists 2400 – 516 B.C.E. Date is based on the Biblical account of Abram’s calling from God to the rebuilding of the second temple after the destruction by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.

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The Strongman of Ancient History Uncovered

Rare Hercules statue unearthed in Jezreel Valley

By ARIEH O’SULLIVAN / THE MEDIA LINE
08/16/2011

Naked, his muscles bulging as he leans on a club, a lion skin draped over his shoulder, the hero Hercules, son of Zeus, has reappeared in a Roman-era bathhouse in northern Israel.

Archaeologists uncovered the beautifully preserved white marble remains of the mythological hero in an emergency dig at Horvat Tarbenet in the biblical Jezreel Valley. Government archaeologists rushing to excavate the site to build a rail road line unearthed what they believed to be a large pool that was probably part of a Roman bathhouse.

“This is a rare discovery. The statue, which probably stood in a niche, was part of the decoration of a bathhouse pool that was exposed during the course of the excavations. It is a half-meter tall, is made of smoothed white marble and is of exceptional artistic quality,” said Dr. Walid Atrash of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Although Hercules was considered the strongest man in the world, this statue was found without his head. Atrash dated the statue to the second century CE. Benches were found on two sides of the pool, which had a sophisticated pumping system to fill it with water.

Horvat Tarbenet is located in the Jezreel Valley, about four kilometers (2.5 miles) northwest of the town of Afula. Atrash said it was a Jewish settlement in the third century CE which was mentioned in the Talmud as a site of learning.

Peter’s Comments:

Known as Hercules by the Romans or Heracles by the Greeks, the strongman of mythology was known to slay vile enemies, fight off multiple headed vipers (Hydra) and journey throughout the world completing tests or labors which would earn him recognition and glory. Hercules is an image of the classic Greek ideology of obtaining glory and power unto oneself and entering into the realm of being known as, “legendary.” Hercules was known to be partially immortal, thus he could surpass mortal men in size and strength, and yet retain a connection to the gods that only he could fully comprehend apart from mortal man. Hercules was a champion among warriors as he was revered by soldiers throughout the Greek world. However, the character of Hercules was the model in which men would have aspired to emulate as the Greek male would strive to develop the attributes of Hercules which were seen as: strength, beauty, courage, loyalty, and dedication. 

Part One: “Let us worship the creation instead of the Creator!”: The clash between the pagans and the radical idea of monotheism

The Central Manifestation of Paganism: The Egyptians, Canaanites and the radical Hebrews

An exploration into the common links of ancient paganism will naturally unearth similarities between all participating cultures despite separation of time and place. For instance, the connections in religious worship between the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites (which we will both be studying) will show how both people groups, despite having different customs, language, religious expression, ruling worldviews, and so on, may actually have more in common than the regular person on the street may perceive. This commonality which I seek to open exists in the religious expression of the worship of nature which therefore rules and dominates that particular society’s life and thus controls their direction, decisions, governing bodies, military actions, agrarian pursuits, and the list continues. Let’s just say in simpler terms, “What you truly believe in will guide and dominate how you live, whether for good or for evil.”

One may say that paganism is something of days where ignorance was rampant, superstition ruled, and people were uneducated neanderthals, prone to believe anything and easily duped by strange, wild, interpretations of nature. Well, the apple does not fall far from the tree. As it states in the Christian scriptures of the Bible (New Testament) in Romans 1:24-25, that because of man’s wickedness God gave them to the “lusts of their hearts”, which interestingly enough it states in verse 25, “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Paganism Today

In this recent year, the practice of Druidism has become an official religion in the United Kingdom as it has well passed the minimum 10,000 adherents a faith needs to be recognized as a viable religion. On the other hand, Witchcraft/Wicca has become more popular as an umbrella based practice that views itself as connecting with and worshiping nature and the world. Environmentalists call the earth, “Gaia the mother goddess of the earth”, people flock to New Age expression to connect with nature (believing God or a great spirit, is in everything), ecologists place humanity on the same scale as animals (even saying humans are less of a concern), and now there are millions throughout the globe who demand to be called, “Neo-pagans” (as if what they believe is any real difference then the thousands of years of pagan practice) and that they are a true form of humanity and represent progressive human needs. This bunch believes that they alone can purify the world, cast off the chains of bondage (which is Christianity/Judaism or simply monotheism) and purport themselves as the true shepherds of nature, the animal kingdom, and guardians. So, has anything really changed? We may not be wearing toga’s, or embalming our dead and locking them in pyramids with mummified felines and alligators, but we are not that much different. So, let us first go back in time to the age of the ancient Egyptians.

Part One: Ancient Egypt (3150-30 B.C.E) Date is based on estimate of the ruling dynasties to the end of the Ptolemies before coming under Roman rule.

In the Hebrew TaNaK (Old Testament), a phenomenal story unfolds in the Torah (second book of Moses which is called, Exodus) where we see a Hebrew man ordained by God through a series of events named Moses. Ultimately, God charges Moses with the task to confront the Pharaoh of Egypt and demand that the Hebrew slaves be set free, which Moses is able to do with the assistance of his spokesman, Aaron.

In an epic showdown, Moses departs from the land of Midian and travels to his home in Egypt where he declares to Pharaoh for the enslaved and oppressed Hebrews to be released to go out into the wilderness and make a sacrifice to their God. This was naturally an affront to Pharaoh who would have viewed himself as god and who was part of a society which worshiped what they could see, namely nature. To believe that gods or spirits lived in living things (whether animal or plant or natural wonder) was the norm and which went contrary to a belief in one monotheistic God who was invisible and had selected a certain people as His own. When Pharaoh objected to Moses’ demand and refused, we see God send a series of ten deadly plagues (Exodus 7-12) through the actions of Moses to torment the people of Egypt until Pharaoh relinquished control over the slaves and allows them to leave. Now, to someone who is unfamiliar with the purpose of the plagues, they may be surprised to discover that the particular plagues were not chosen by mere chance. It was not like God had a fascination to torment people with frogs and insects because those were the creepier options, no, the plagues we read about that judged the land were precisely directed at the Egyptian’s pagan lifestyle and their elevation of nature and creatures over the Creator. It was God showing to them that their gods were nothing and powerless under His divine authority which was true power and fulfillment. Let’s take a closer look at these plagues and the gods that they defied.

1. Water turns to blood (Exodus 7:14-25) The water of the Nile turned to blood which corresponded to Hapi, the Egyptian god of the Nile. This plague would have devastated the agrarian aspect of Egypt in particular as the silt from the Nile enriches the fertile land for farming around the Nile. Along with the destruction of the farm land, the fish and any wildlife would have also died causing a catastrophe. However, Pharaoh would not so easily yield to the God of the Hebrews as he would cast his country and empire into such a dismal and terrible state until he would be brought to his knees. Following the powerful plague of the Nile, the priests of Pharaoh were able to duplicate this plague and the Pharaoh did not listen to Moses’ demands.

2. Plague of Frogs (Exodus 8:1-15) The outbreak of frogs that tormented the land and caused suffering corresponded to Heket, the Egyptian goddess of fertility, water, and renewal who is pictured with a human body and frog head. The priests of Pharaoh were able to also bring up frogs but only Moses was able to make them go away. One can just imagine how the land would have reeked from the piles of dead frogs and how sickness easily could have broken out.

3. Plague of Lice (Exodus 8:16-19) The outbreak of the lice which came from the dust of the earth was an attack against the Egyptian god, Geb, who was seen as the master of the earth. This interesting correlation also can be seen in the creation of man from the dust of the earth in Genesis, but in this case it was the plague that was a torment to man. The priests of Pharaoh are unable to content with this power and are humiliated as both man and beast suffer.

4. Plague of Flies (Exodus 8:20-31) The plague of the swarms of flies was a direct confrontation against Khepri, who was seen as the Egyptian god of rebirth, creation, and movement of the sun and was pictured with a human body and the head of a fly. This plague now only affects the Egyptians leaving the Hebrews (living in the land of Goshen) unscathed. It also elevates the plagues to causing destruction and not just discomfort as did the earlier ones. We see Pharaoh attempt to negotiate with Moses on his terms about the Hebrew’s leaving and when the plague ceases Pharaoh returns to worshiping his Egyptian gods.

5. Plague of Pestilence (Exodus 9:1-7) The plague of pestilence attacks cattle and livestock alike, but great death is noticed among the herds of cattle more than anything and this is a front against the Egyptian goddess, Hathor who is seen to be the goddess of love and protection. The interesting thing about, Hathor is that  she is pictured with a cow’s head and therefore represented directly the cattle, which was a main commodity of Egypt which would have affected military, transport, economic, and agricultural pursuits and lifestyle. Plain and simple, it would have been devastating to Egypt, but nevertheless, Pharaoh continued to be faithful to his gods and goddesses and refused to acknowledge the one and true God or give in to Moses and let the Hebrews leave.

6. Plague of Boils and Sores (Exodus 9:8-12) The horrible plague of boils was a direct attack against the Egyptian deity of Isis who was believed to be the goddess of medicine and peace. This was the first plague which we see directly affect the Egyptians physically and ironically enough it was a plague of great agony and discomfort to people’s health which revealed that a goddess such as Isis (who was a deity of medicine) ironically was powerless to do anything to relieve the misery of her faithful adherents. As well, this particular plague sent a strong and firm message to the Egyptians who were regarded as a very clean and hygienic people who this plague would naturally pronounce them as unclean and marred by the filth of their sores. One again, the Hebrews are unscathed by such a disease stricken plague and God shows that this is a personal judgment and vendetta against the people who are enslaving His people and are bound in the darkness of pagan idolatry. We also see a division between Pharaoh and the priests as the priests are unable to do anything to counter act the plague and therefore are removed from the scene completely and unable to even be in the presence of the king.

7. Plague of Hail and Fire (Exodus 9:13-35) The plague of hail and fire once again is a direct correlation to assaulting another Egyptian deity known as Nut who is the goddess of the sky. This literally shows the thing that was being worshiped, the sky, had become the enemy of the people as a firestorm rained down upon the land destroying the Egyptian crops. The crops ruined in the account were flax and barley, which would have been ripening in the fields at the time and ready for harvest. The interesting thing about this punishment is that the Egyptians did not eat these grains but used them in the process of clothing and libations for ceremonial temple practices. God was sending a message to the Egyptians but was merciful at the same time because He spared their fields of wheat (which was a main food source) as God was giving the Egyptians another chance. This entire plague, like all the ones before and after, were signs pointing to the one, true, God and that He alone was the God over the earth and the heavens and that He alone was God and not the gods and goddesses of the Egyptians.

8. Plague of Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20) The eighth plague was a devastating one that followed the hail and fire and this one was a result from Pharaoh hardening his heart and refusing to acknowledge the God of the Hebrews, and this plague was swarms of locusts (grasshoppers) in the billions. This plague was a direct attack against the Egyptian god of storms and disorder, Seth. This plague would devastate the country, destroying fields and tormenting everyone in its path. Like locusts do, they fly through fields, jumping upon each other and clinging to stalks of vegetation, devouring anything in their path. Their swarms can sometimes be so thick they blot out the sun and the beating of their wings can be so loud and terrifying it has been known to drive animals crazy with fear. Even today, swarms of locust are a huge problem. However, in the case of the plagues, God sent these locust by divine judgment to devastate the country and bring it to its knees. Yet, still Pharaoh would not listen.

9. Plague of Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29) One of the most widely known Egyptian gods, even today, was the god Ra who was the sun-god. Therefore, the plague of complete and utter darkness was a direct sign to the Egyptians that the God of the Hebrews was ultimate and was the one really in control, even over the sun.We see the Egyptians overcome by fear that is ripe within the land, and it being a time of terror. To the Egyptians, the essence and symbol of darkness was that of death, judgment and hopelessness. Therefore, with the sun being blotted out for three days it showed that the God which Moses spoke on behalf of, was ruler over life and death, a startling reality for the Egyptians who saw these attributes in Ra. However, Pharaoh did not relent and we move to the tenth and most terrible plague.


10. Plague of the Death of the Firstborn (Exodus 11-12:1-30) The final plague is an interesting one for it is directed at one type of person, the Firstborn. In ancient times the firstborn was the one who would inherit the family estate, blessings, and would be the leader of the house. When the Angel of the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the firstborn this was a devastating and crippling blow to Egypt. However, perhaps the most crippling blow was upon the house of Pharaoh himself, who his own child and firstborn died, and many scholars believe that he himself must have had an elder brother who did not inherit the throne (because of a handicap) and that he would have died and not the Pharaoh we read about. This would also explain why the Pharaoh in the Biblical account did not die from a plague that covered the entire land. Yet, the death of the firstborn in the house of Pharaoh was also significant mainly because Pharaoh was believed to be god on earth and believed to be the greatest of all gods, in fact the son of Ra manifest in the flesh. It was only after the death of the firstborn that Pharaoh relented and let the Hebrews go, yet we see further on in the account that Pharaoh’s pride would not end here but in the Red Sea after his entire army and himself had been drowned.

Conclusion of the Egyptians

Even after the terrible destruction caused by the plagues and the flight of the Jewish people from their bondage in the Exodus, we still see a hardening of the heart of ancient Egypt and the refusal to change. Pagan life around the Nile would continue as Pharaoh’s like Merneptah and Ramses III would reign in era’s considered “golden ages” yet immersed within the culture would continue the worship of nature, natural forces, and their kings. Massive pyramids, statues, palaces, and cities would be built in the honor and deification of nature, amulets, images, and names would be inscribed upon basic daily items such as perfume jars, combs, seals, kitchen ware, furniture, and wall reliefs. Entire compilations of papyrus scrolls would be written by scribes laying out the orders for burial, spells, magical incantations, and practices, all of which are found in the famous, “Book of the Dead”, as well as practically every other wall relief and scroll.

The worship and reverence of nature and life was interwoven like a thread in a quilt as the Egyptians continued this belief system even through when it became a Roman province in the year 30 B.C.E. It is important to note that the correlation between what the ancient Egyptians believed and what is going on today is no different. We still seek after and are entranced by that which is not God and truth as the Egyptians did. We still buy into the lie, follow blindly what we do not know, and stray away from hope and truth which leads to an understanding who God truly is and the salvation and freedom from darkness that He offers. We can definitely learn from the Bible which is laid out like a road map before us. As the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes states 1:9-10, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.” (bold added by me).

by: Peter J. Fast

Soon to come: Part Two: The ancient Canaanites 2500 – 411 B.C.E. Date is based on period known as Late Bronze Age to the last recorded Canaanite king Abdemon

Discovery in the City of David huge find for Second Temple Period

Tiny 2,000-year-old golden bell found in Jerusalem

AFP – Fri, Jul 22, 2011

A tiny golden bell which was lost in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago during the Second Temple period has been found among ruins near the Old City, Israel’s Antiquities Authority said on Friday.

The bell, which is thought to have been an adornment which was sewn onto the garments of a senior official, was uncovered during excavation work on a drainage channel in the City of David, an area in the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan just south of the Old City walls.

“It seems the bell was sewn on the garment worn by a high official in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period,” an IAA statement said.

The bell was found inside the main drainage channel taking rainwater from different parts of the city to the pool of Siloam, which is mentioned several times in the Bible.

“Apparently, the high official was walking in the Jerusalem street in the vicinity of Robinson?s Arch and lost the gold bell that fell from his garment into the drainage channel beneath the road,” it said, noting that Jewish high priests were known to have bells sewn onto their robes.

“It is impossible to know for certain if the bell did indeed belong to one of the high priests; however, the possibility should not be entirely discounted.”