The ideal of unification in Bible
God said to Abraham: No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
He was the son of Terah, the ninth in descent from Noah. Noah is famous for building an ark — a giant three-decked wooden box in which he, his family, and a whole bunch of animals ride out a massive flood that God sends to destroy humankind for its disobedience.
Today, three of the world’s major religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — trace their roots to Abraham.
The Bible is filled with stories about people disobeying God. One notable exception is Abraham, a man who, though not perfect, obeys God’s command to leave his homeland in Mesopotamia and venture to an unknown Promised Land (ancient Canaan; later Israel). God promises Abraham that his descendants will become a great nation, through which all the people of the earth will be blessed.
The tales of Abraham and his wife Sarah are a roller coaster of dramatic events that repeatedly jeopardize God’s promise. Ironically, the biggest threat to God’s promise is when God Himself commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham sets out to do just as God orders, but right before Abraham delivers the fatal blow to his own child, God stops the sacrifice.
Goes to Canaan
God commanded Abram, the future Abraham: Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land that I will show you (Gen. 12:1).
While this passage does not tell us to which country God intends Abram to go, we are soon told that,
Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. (Gen. 12:5)
Who was living in Canaan when Abraham Arrived?
Referring to the land as Canaan sounds straightforward enough; however, it turns out that the details of who lived in and owned the land before the Israelites are far more complicated. Let us track what we know about the Canaanites and the land of Israel by looking at the two earliest references to Canaan, both of which occur as part of the Noah account.
In the first appearance of the term (Gen. 9:22), Canaan is a person—the youngest son of Ham—not a nation.
The second of these is within “the Table of Nations” in chapter 10 – the all-encompassing “family-tree” of Noah’s descendants. Within that genealogy, Canaan is listed in special demographic and geographic detail:
And the sons of Ham were Kush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan. Canaan became the father of Sidon, Heth, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha (Gen. 10:6, 15-19).
Arrives in Canaan
Abram enters Canaan and encamps by “the Oak of Moreh” near Shechem, at this point the Canaanite was then in the land. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates; the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Gen. 15: 18-21). God’s promise of the land has now been defined within specific parameters – both geographic and ethnic.
During the covenant of the parts referred to above, God tells Abraham that although his descendants will inherit the land, this will have to wait four generations because the sin of the Amorite is not yet complete. (Gen. 15:16)
God also said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. (Gen. 15:14)
He is the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham. Jacob had twelve sons. Jacob’s twelve sons, named in Genesis, were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. The twelve sons later became the progenitors of the “12 Tribes of Israel”.
Therefore, Israelites are considered to be an outgrowth of the indigenous Canaanite populations that long inhabited the Southern Levant, Syria, ancient Israel and the Transjordan. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled.
Now the Interpretation
God didn’t said Abram to attack Canaan and capture the land. Rather god said: he will himself punish and asked them to surrender to his will. This is the Nrim Ideology. Where Sri Krishna said: I have already slain them, you be the instrument only. He asked them to stay in the land for generations and become one with the indigenous people while maintaining the distinct identity of 12 tribes. This is the same as the Indic Ideology.
This is what god meant when he said to Abram: I will make you the father of many nations. And in this respect Abram takes a position similar to Ganesha.
Exodus 3:7- 3:8
God said to Moses: Rescue them from the hand of the Egyptian slave drivers and bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey.
According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was born in a time when his people, the Israelites, an enslaved minority, were increasing in numbers and the Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might ally themselves with Egypt’s enemies. Moses’ Hebrew mother, Jochebed, secretly hid him and drowned in Nile river when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to reduce the population of the Israelites. Through the Pharaoh’s daughter (identified as Queen Bithia in the Midrash), the child was adopted and grew up with the Egyptian royal family.
As the adopted son of pharaoh’s daughter, Moses would have had all the perks and privileges of a prince of Egypt. He was instructed “in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). As the plight of the Hebrews began to gnaw at his soul, Moses takes it upon himself to be the savior of his people.
After killing an Egyptian slave master because the slave master was smiting a Hebrew, Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian, where married and got settled and finally encountered The Angel of the Lord, speaking to him from within a burning bush on Mount Horeb.
God sent Moses back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery. After the Ten Plagues, Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses reached the Promised Land on Mount Nebo.
Now the Interpretation
Moses represents the ideal of Srim. This ideal is elaborated as the pursuance of Prosperity and Respect. As his people was enslaved by the Egyptians, they were devoid of any respect and prosperity. And Moses took it up to him to relieve his people from this life of slavery. Therefore, he represents the ideal of Srim.
As the deliverer of prosperity and respect, he holds the same place as Mata Lakshmi.
A light from heaven flashed around. He fell to the ground and heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
According to writings in the New Testament and prior to his conversion, Paul was dedicated to persecuting the early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem.
In the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles (often referred to simply as Acts), Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to “arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem” when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God.
Paul, whose original name was Saul, took the name familiar to us after his conversion to Christianity. Paul never met Jesus during his brief years of ministry. He wasn’t one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, but he did interact with many of the original disciples. Unlike Jesus’ other early followers, who were mostly Palestinians, Paul was a Roman citizen.
What made him different from other early disciples?
When Paul started preaching, Jesus’ followers were Jews who believed that Jesus had revealed himself as God’s promised Messiah to his chosen people. They focused their ministry on sharing this remarkable news with other Jews. Paul made the radical departure of preaching to non-Jews (Gentiles), saying that, through Jesus, God had extended salvation to Gentiles.
He traveled far and wide through Antioch, in Syria and through modern day Turkey and Greece. This enabled him to preach to many Gentiles about the gospel of Christ. He also set up many local churches along his travels in the then Roman world. The Book of Acts records three remarkable missionary journeys (the first in Acts 13-14; the second in Acts 15:35-18:22; and the third in Acts 18:23-21:17), which the Apostle Paul made with tremendous success but not without some difficulties and pains. One wonders what might have contributed to his huge success in church planting mission.
Saint Paul was a passionate letter writer. Many of his letters were written to the church communities that he set up during his travels. These letters provided these churches with advice and doctrine that he considered should be followed. He was concerned in informing them of their appropriate role within their specific church community including references to the churches hierarchy i.e. Deacons and Bishops (Phil 1:1, Cor 16:1, Thess 3:2). Thus we find a great organizer in Saint Paul, which contributed to his huge success in church planting mission.
Paul was also a master in relationship building. Wherever he went, he made relationship with the local people living there and set up churches with their help. An examination of Acts reveals that he was never loner, rather had extensive association with others during his life and ministry. Paul lived, traveled, and worked with others. He always followed Christ’s example of team ministry (Acts 9:28-30; 13:1-5, 13-16, 44-46; 14:1, 7, 20-21, 25; 17:1-15; 18:5-8). Thus we find a great relationship builder in Saint Paul, which also contributed tremendously to his huge success in church planting mission.
It is for this reason that Saint Paul is attributed with a Sword.
Christianity has used symbolism from its very beginnings. Each saint has a story and a reason why he or she led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church. A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol or iconic motif associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them. The study of these forms part of iconography in art history. They were particularly used so that the illiterate could recognize a scene, and to give each of the Saints something of a personality in art. They are often carried in the hand by the Saint.
Now the Interpretation
Thus, Paul represents the ideal of Krim: i.e. Proactivity and Relationship. And holds the same position in Christianity as Kartikeya in Hinduism.
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter; and on this rock I will build my church.
Then Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Peter and his brother Andrew, both fishermen, were the first two disciples whom Jesus called to follow. Peter’s original name was Simon but Jesus changed it to Peter, which comes from a Greek word meaning rock. This was intended as a sign that, whatever his weaknesses at the time when he became a disciple, Peter would eventually turn into the rock-like and fearless character around whom the church could be built up.
He is full of energy determined to use it in the service of his master but initially sometimes he loses courage – as when he denied that he knew Jesus after Jesus had been arrested. St. Matthew (chapter 26) describes how Jesus prophesied to Peter ‘that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice’, this was exactly what happened. All four Gospels tell of Peter’s shameful denial of Jesus. The main reason for this emphasis is probably to reassure us that God will forgive even the worst of sins. But it also shows Peter’s fear, cowardice and lack of faith at times. Simon Peter was not yet a rock of steadfastness and godly character.
In the Acts however, when we meet him again after he has seen the risen Christ he fears nobody (Acts 4). In the end he fearlessly met crucification in Rome under Emperor Nero- for serving the poor living in the outskirts of city overcome their suffering. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.
Now the Interpretation
For his fearlessness and feeling, Peter represents the ideal of Hrim. He holds the key i.e. knowledge to heaven or salvation and therefore he has the same place as Maa Saraswati in Hinduism.