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Semitic Script Symbols in Early Egypt - Part IV

I had mentioned a particular symbol as carrying special significance. This was the uplifted arms. I shall now show why this symbol/mark is so special. It was retained in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and became important as a religious designation. It was a symbol for Soul or Spirit.

The picture below was published by Sigrid Hodel-Hoenes, Life and Death in Ancient Egypt, Cornell University Press, 2000. Click on the picture for a larger image.

The scene is from the tomb of Ramose, State Administrator under Amenophis III and Akhenaten. The tomb is in the Valley of the Kings along with the tombs of many other Pharaohs and high administrative officials of the royal courts. These tombs were sculpted out of the fine white limestone of the region. This location may have been chosen because the fine-grained rock permitted exquisite decorations in full color. The tombs were created from about 1500 BC to about 1000 BC.

On the right are men with red, blond, and brunette hair. The group of worshipping women wear black wigs.

The deep religious expression is evident in the scene. The women are engaged in charismatic worship of their God, with a waving of the hands held up in supplication.

One can almost hear their voices raised in prayer for the safety of their beloved leader as he resurrects in heaven, and that God may remember them also.

This scene dates to around 1350 BC, perhaps a hundred years after Moses, although there is some debate about the exact dates when Moses lived. The significant point is that the Egyptians during that era engaged in prayer that exactly resembles the charismatic prayers of Christians.

We would not ordinarily believe such practice by those ancient people. It must mean that such worship practices are a heart-felt expression natural to man, and that he will engage in similar exhibitions regardless of the era in which he lives, if that age is tolerant of such expression. We know that Paul cautioned the Corinthians about their charismatic fervor. They did not just suddenly invent such practices, but very likely borrowed it from ages past. The history of the Christian church shows such worship breaking out here and there, wherever the social environment is permissive. The sudden explosion of charismatic fervor, also known as Pentecostal worship, based on a supposed interpretation of events that took place with the apostles and disciples of Jesus at Pentecost, received wide practice over the past 100 years in Christian Pentecostal , and more recently, Catholic Churches.

We have many false images about the past. We should remember that Moses was raised in the royal household, and that he would have grown up in a religious environment with those practices. The children of Israel in bondage in Egypt would also have known that religious environment. Hence, our ideas of a stodgy Israelite congregation chanting passages in dull recitation is far from the truth.

 

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