Seven Lean Years:
The End of Transactional Economies
Chapter Four A
An Instruction Manual?
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:13–21)
Paul’s message is simple: do not surrender to evil, but overcome evil with good. Do not succumb to the lure of elevating the self, being wise for vain or selfish reasons. Do not avenge oneself, but have patience and wait for God to rectify wrongs done to the person. Feed the hungry regardless of whether the hungry is or isn’t the person’s enemy. Give drink to the thirsty. Visit the afflicted regardless of how the disciple feels about the afflicted … never think to yourself that the afflicted received what was coming to the person; for you haven’t received what you rightfully have coming to you. You as a disciple of Christ Jesus have received mercy. Therefore, extend mercy to all others—
Isn’t the above the instruction guide for every person called by Christ and born of spirit through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou], the spirit of Christ having penetrated the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou], thereby leaving the person with the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16)?
Sabbatarian Christians have, for decades, heard it preached from pulpits and podiums that God left humankind with an instruction manual, the Bible; that God would not have left humanity without an operating manual … did God deliver any sort of handbook to Noah, an operating manual that came with Noah’s birth, a codification of things to do and things not to do? How would Noah know what to preach and what not to preach as a preacher of righteousness if he did not have an instruction manual? And if he had one, what was in it? For Noah’s generation grieved the Lord to such an extent that He was sorry He had made man (Gen 6:6).
Yet somehow, without codified good behavior, Noah knew what was right and proper:
[YHWH] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And [YHWH] regretted that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart. So [YHWH] said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of [YHWH]. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. (Gen 6:5–17 emphasis added)
Note the change in the naming noun used for deity, the change from the misuse of the linguistic determinative <YHWH> to the plural naming icon <Elohim>, translated as a singular naming icon in verse 12.
In the previous chapter of 7 Lean Years, the beginnings of a long discussion about the merging of holy texts was initiated, this discussion to transcend this book and several others …
Writers will use multiple words [linguistic icons] for the same referents [linguistic objects] to keep the prose “fresh,” but this isn’t the case with the Genesis narratives in which a change of icons used for deity discloses a different author and a differing source text: a transition from one source text to another source text occurs between verses 8 and 9, with the change from YHWH Elohim found in Genesis chapters 3 and 4 giving way to just the linguistic determinative YHWH used from Genesis 5:29 through 6:8 to the simple Elohim from verse 9 to the end of the chapter. Then the Tetragrammaton YHWH returns in chapter 7, with verse 16 making apparent the forced merging of source texts:
They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as [Elohim] had commanded him. And [YHWH] shut him in. (Gen 7:15–16)
The preceding change in linguistic icons representing deity is not “natural”; rather, the change of linguistic icons “feels” forced and thus creates a lacunae by which the inner workings of the text are revealed … these inner workings seem to reveal source texts from differing linguistic traditions, with these traditions brought together and “sewn” into one narrative tapestry by a reasonably skillful hand, the hand of an author writing at a much later period than when the source texts were initially composed, this author not understanding the nature-of and use of linguistic determinatives used at the beginning of inscription to give to written words the social context otherwise lost through inscription.
Linguistic determinatives function as stage directions: they are always unpronounced. They are visual images [signs] that silently “tell” the reader who said what, where, when, and in what language. However, as written languages acquired a sophisticacy of their own, use of linguistic determinatives fell out of favor. They simply got in the way. And they would not have been used in composition by Hebrew scribes post deportation. In fact, it seems that the use of the determinative <YHWH> for the God of Abraham followed a similar course as the use of <ye> in English experienced, when “ye” yoyoed from being the single second person pronoun to being the plural second person pronoun then back to being the single then dropped because no one knew whether “ye” was singular or plural. And in Scripture a similar use of <YHWH your Elohim> morphs to <Elohim YHWH>, which linguistically isn’t the same despite ancient scribes best efforts to make the naming icon phrases the same … for, perhaps, five or more centuries [since the days of the Judges] before the lost Book of the Law was found in the dilapidated temple in the days of King Josiah, Hebrew inscription of deity suffered from the people’s idolatry.
If I were to ask a hundred random people walking the streets of any major city if they could tell me what a linguistic determinative is, the odds of even one being able to answer the question would be slim. Thus, for Imperial Hebrew scribes post Deportation to know what linguistic determinatives were is doubtful. And this doesn’t take into account understanding usage of linguistic determinatives.
Post Deportation Hebrew scribes really didn’t know how to handle the extra words found in the prose of Moses and in the prose of earlier scribes, words that produce jarring redundancy. For example, compare the following passage, twice presented, once with and once without the transcription of the determinative in the text:
And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of [YHWH]. Thus says the Lord [YHWH]: Because the enemy said of you, 'Aha!' and, 'The ancient heights have become our possession,' therefore prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord [YHWH]: Precisely because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord [YHWH]: Thus says the Lord [YHWH] to the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around, therefore thus says the Lord [YHWH]: Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord [YHWH]: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. Therefore thus says the Lord [YHWH]: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach. But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am [YHWH]. I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. Thus says the Lord [YHWH]: Because they say to you, 'You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,' therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Lord [YHWH]. And I will not let you hear anymore the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause your nation to stumble, declares the Lord [YHWH]. (Ezek 36:1–15)
Now, same passage without inclusion of the determinative transcribed as a naming noun:
And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of [YHWH]. Because the enemy said of you, “Aha!” and, “The ancient heights have become our possession,” therefore prophesy, and say, Precisely because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord [YHWH] to the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around: Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach. But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am [YHWH]. I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. Because they say to you, “You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,” therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children. And I will not let you hear anymore the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause your nation to stumble. (Ezek 36:1–15)
In the passage the Lord addresses the Promised Land as if it were a person having a life of its own, a concept that conveys considerable literary sophistication, and a concept that places physical humanity in a position analogous to fleas on a dog, with the Lord being the owner of the dog and the indirect owner of its fleas that causes the dog to scratch, thereby ridding itself of some of its fleas, the most annoying ones.
In the preceding citation, there is no need for repeating an identifier for who is the speaker: the speaker identifies Himself at the beginning of the passage and identifies the subject of the discourse, the subject of the prophecy as well as the prophet [son of Adam]. The speaker doesn’t change. There is no second speaker uttering the words of what has been said by others as in typical double-voiced discourse. The passage isn’t long; so there is no need to repeatedly identify the speaker. However, at the beginning of inscription, and even as late as the Deportation when the prophet Ezekiel wrote, there still existed a perception of utterance having superiority over inscription and because of inscription inferiority, inscription needed to seek equality with utterance by conveying in unspoken, not vocalized but read words, what the hearer [auditor] would have known by simply being present when the utterance was made—who spoke, where, when, and in what language, with who spoke being most important, especially when this “who” was God/god or Pharaoh or the King of kings. Hence, the last determinative remaining in common inscription was for God, with the oversize Arabic <A> beginning identifying noun <Allah> passively functioning as a determinative that visually conveys to the reader the majesty of the deity.
However, Hebrew scribes from the Deportation through the 2nd-Century CE handled the linguistic determinative <YHWH> as poorly as 19th and 20th Century linguistics handled determinatives imbedded in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs … with the rediscovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799, the base was laid for resolving questions about whether hieroglyphs were ideograms as Chinese characters are: did a glyph represent a concept or a sound as letters in Indo-European languages do.
On the Rosetta Stone was inscribed the same or very similar texts in three languages, ancient [Koine] Greek, Demotic Egyptian, and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Linguists “read” the Greek text by 1803, but Egyptian texts required twenty more years  before they could be transliterated—and then only after French prodigy Jean-Francois Champollion [1790–1832], who spoke Coptic and Arabic fluently and presented his first public paper on the decipherment of Demotic when he was sixteen years old, realized that in the Egyptian texts on the Rosetta Stone, foreign names were rendered phonetically, with hieroglyphs representing phonemes spelling these foreign names as well as spelling native Egyptian words.
This was the breakthrough needed to be able to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs: glyphs represented phonemes, and hieroglyphs represented a phonetic language. However, there was a category of glyphs that weren’t phonetic and were ignored for they were unneeded in the formation of morphemes [meaningful phonetic units] …
English is written in Latin script, but doesn’t have to be. Likewise modern German, French, Spanish—all are written in Latin script. But ancient Hittites, also Indo-European speakers as English, German, French, Spanish speakers are, inscribed their speech in cuneiform script … Americans could write their form of English in cuneiform script if the script were taught to beginning writers. A phonetic based language can be written in any script if the script has characters representing the sounds made by, say, Americans speaking English. But when there are unpronounced characters [letters] in words—as is very much the case with French—what is a reader to do with these extra and apparently unneeded letters? If they are not to be pronounced, why are they there?
Having unpronounced signs [letters or characters] at the end of words is the norm for native French speakers … a native French speaker would think nothing of having one or several unpronounced signs at the end of words; therefore, for all of his brilliance, Jean-Francois Champollion wouldn’t have been troubled by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs having a vertical cluster of unpronounced glyphs at the end of otherwise complete morphemes. Most likely to him, these unpronounced glyphs would have been like unpronounced letters at the end of French words. To him, they neither added nor subtracted meaning from the morphemes. Therefore, for nearly two centuries—until late 20th-Century—scholars struggled to understand the fullness of hieroglyphic inscription. It was in the 21st-Century before it became commonly known that those always unpronounced glyph clusters represented linguistic determinatives that provided social context for the phonetic glyphs, especially the construction of deity.
If modern linguists took two centuries to understand that unpronounced glyphs were really unpronounced morphemes [if such an animal can exist], it is little wonder that Imperial Hebrew scribes had trouble reading Moses’ writing, with Moses having been trained in writing phonetic words in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs but writing phonetically in an early Semitic script once Israel left Egypt … what Moses did would be analogous to a American writing his or her memoirs in cuneiform script: these memoirs couldn’t be read by Egyptians, but would have been readable by whomever valued the American enough to learn cuneiform script so that the memoirs could be read and passed on to following generations.
If Imperial Hebrew scribes had trouble reading Moses, think about how much trouble post-Deportation scribes would have had … if the brilliant Jean-Francois Champollion, being the first to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, establishing that these glyphs were phonetic signs representing speech sounds and not orideographic signs recording semantic concepts directly, could overlook glyph clusters that added no meaning to the pronounced morphemes—not recognizing that Egyptian hieroglyphs were not like French words where letters at the end of words are not pronounced but don’t add meaning to the word—then it is understandable that post-Deportation Hebrew scribes, not wanting to omit anything “sign” found in Holy Writ, transformed the linguistic determinative <YHWH> into a naming noun, thereby creating some of the “clunkiest” prose ever written. It is then understandable how Jews and Christians, believing that received Holy Writ is the infallible word of God, accepted the clunkiness of Scripture as how the God of Abraham spoke to and through His prophets, not realizing that the Word of God was and is the living Christ Jesus.
Unpronounced glyphs in Egyptian hieroglyphic texts actually have meaning as linguistic determinatives—and this failure to understand what Moses would have known delayed understanding how badly Old Testament Scripture was mangled by Hebrew scribes post Deportation … it wasn’t until the 21st-Century and deconstruction of Tetragrammaton YHWH that enough lacunae in the oracles of God appeared for endtime Christians to “see” how unfaithful the Great Assembly was in its transmission of an inscribed word of God.
But the Apostle Paul wouldn’t have understood what endtime disciples can now comprehend, just as Paul wouldn’t have understood nuclear fission … yes, the juxtaposition is intentional: realizing that the Bible is not the infallible word of God—that Christ Jesus is that infallible Word—is explosive, for this awareness leads to awareness that God left no instruction manual with humanity. And really, God couldn’t leave an instruction manual with humanity without contaminating the still ongoing demonstration that self-governance and transactional economies only lead to death of the participants.
So, is the Bible inspired? Yes, it is, even in portions that have been fictionalized … hold that thought in mind and consider the claim made by Mohammad that the angel Gabriel brought to him his visions: is this claim believable? On its face, no!! But is Mohammad’s claim that Jews and Christians had not [as of the 7th-Century CE] faithfully conveyed the oracles of God to humanity true? Yes, this claim is true, at least in part. Now, could the Most High God use Mohammad in a theological way as the God of Abraham used Nebuchadnezzar?
Therefore thus says [YHWH] of hosts: Because you [Judah and Jerusalem] have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north … and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity … making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands. (Jer 25:8–14)
Could the Lord God bring Islamists against a spiritually lawless land—Western Europe and the United States of America—that really cannot get significantly farther from God as the God of Abraham brought Nebuchadnezzar, a type of the Adversary the spiritual king of Babylon, against the House of Judah and the polis of Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah? Can Islamists function theologically as Nebuchadnezzar functioned physically? Can Islamists be a type of the Adversary? Certainly, the Islamic State functions as a devil, and the Islamic State cannot be defeated by a half-hearted effort by a superpower castrated by political correctness. So will Sharia Law come to America before the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel comes upon all the world? We will soon know.
If the claim of Mohammad that the angel Gabriel brought to him his visions were to have credibility, then the visions need to be credible—and they are not … there should be no earthly or physical history of Jesus prior to when His ministry began; for inscription is making visible what would otherwise be invisible. Jesus as a man without sin would have been historically invisible. Only in a fictional account can a youthful “Jesus” be seen, and this pertains especially to Luke’s Gospel and the Qur’an. Matthew’s Gospel is about the indwelling Jesus in the predestined Elect, and because the human persons constituting the Elect will have indwelling sin and death prior to when they are born again through the spirit of Christ penetrating their spirit as a husband penetrates his wife to bring forth offspring, the indwelling sin that Jesus takes upon Himself will cause this indwelling Jesus to be seen as a king prior to the beginning of His ministry.
Not many descendants of Ishmael have become proselyte Jews. A few more have become Christians. But most are Muslims that hold better to the morality of Abraham than do Christians or Jews, a sad but true indictment of ideological cultures that tacitly accept homosexuality, frowning on a man laying with another man as a man lays with a woman, but tolerating this abomination that emphasizes the carnality of the human creature.
What was it that the Apostle Paul made explicit?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Rom 1:16–28)
Take the “general” and see if fits the “particular”:
As cultural knowledge of God decreased in America—the mountain man Joe Meek (1810–1875) for a bride taught the Nez Perce about Christ without a Bible and without being a Believer himself, and taught the Nez Perce well enough that when the missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman arrived in the Oregon Territory, they did not find the Nez Perce lacking in knowledge of Christ—there has been a proportional rise in public homosexuality … as a child Joe Meek, born in Washington County, Virginia, had been required to memorize large portions of the New Testament as well as to have general familiarity with the Old Testament. In this Meek was not different from his peers even though Meek perhaps had a better memory than most.
Joe Meek took his Nez Perce wife whom he married in 1838 and called Virginia [she was the daughter of chief Kowesota, but her true name has been lost to history] out of the mountains with him two years later. Then in 1841, Meek, having taken to wearing the red sash of the Quebecois, settled in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley and entered into political life, where he would become the United States Marshal for the Oregon Territory …
How many American politicians today can preach Christ without a Bible and get the story reasonably accurate? Some? Yes. How about university professors? Few? Indeed.
When I was in graduate school at University of Alaska Fairbanks [1988–1991, 1993], I was asked if I would take a course on American Puritanism … the professor who asked was a fellow I didn’t really like, but he came to me and said that of the graduate students signed up for the course, none knew the Bible. To make the class work, he needed someone who actually knew the Scriptures as Puritans would have—and I was the only one he knew. Reluctantly, I agreed to take the course (and he reciprocated the favor by employing two of my daughters as student workers to sort and pack the literary journal he published).
Why didn’t every graduate student know the Bible well enough that they could discuss it? Certainly that would have been the case in the 19th-Century. But evidence of cultural debasement is widespread across American college campuses, with a near proportional loss of biblical literacy being matched by loss of traditional morality.
As with Chapter Three, Chapter Four will be put online in installments, with this being the first of several installments.