Christ the Schismatist: How History Forged The Hammer (Part III)
In many ways, the Hebrew Bible is simply a sustained polemic agaisnt the religion of Canaan, and for the very same reasons that Jesus opposed the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And that's because the Pharisees and the Sadducees, much like the false prophets of the "prosperity Gospel" and the Religious Right today, had twisted the religion and the God of Israel into one that vested them with the power to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. And in so doing, they traded their souls and the lives of millions, for their desire to rule over the whole world.
We see how this manipulation of power began in Psalm, 68:4, for example, where Yahweh is given a title that is also the most frequently used epithet for the Canaanite deity, Ba'al, "the cloud rider." The danger of thus confusing Yahweh and Ba'al only grows with the adoption of the Canaanite mode of social and political organization, which revolves around establishing a permanent king. And by building a temple to God, that king could then claim a divine right to establishing centralized earthly power in his own hands.
The only thing that corrupts us more than power itself, is the desire for power. That desire, and the danger it portended for the future, created growing tension among the tribes about Saul's desire to establish a monarchy. That tension can be seen in the pro-kingship view expressed in 1 Samuel 9-10:16, and the anti-kingship view expressed in 1 Samuel 8 or 10:17-27. The Philistine Crisis finally catalyzed Israel into making a decision, however, and Saul is eventually chosen as a transition king. But along with his appointment came the "Samuel Compromise," which established the office of the prophet alongside that of the monarch, to hold a mirror to power and warn of the potential dangers of kingship. Jesus is one in a long line of such prophets.
When David eventually takes the throne, years later, he establishes a "royal religion" that would be propagated and sponsored by subsequent kings. In doing so, he effectively hijacks the God of Israel and use Him to manipulate people into worshiping the seat of power he now held (conveniently enough) as the earthly throne of God on Earth, upon which the God of Israel would be seen to have placed his holy seal. Catholics would follow this example centuries later, of course, by similarly establishing the seat of St. Peter as the vicar of Christ on earth, with the power to speak infallibly on God's behalf (conveniently enough). And both the temple set up by David and the Catholic Church would grow in power as they acquired land from those they disposed as "heretics," much like the Egyptians before.
So David, realizing that his rivals in Egypt and Mesopotamia were weak, seizes the opportunity to consolidate power unto himself by following their example, and claiming that God had commanded him to build a temple (lucky him). And to assuage the fears of his opponents that his claim was simply a grab for power (which it clearly was), he then moves the capital to the neutral city of Jerusalem - a city that has been fought over as the key to earthly power by divine right, ever since. It is with that city, and with the temple that Solomon would eventually build, that Satan is said to have tempted Christ with "all of the kingdoms of the world."
When David first tells Nathan about his plans to build a house for God, Nathan says he should do so, because the Lord is with him (2 Samuel 7:2–3). Later, however, we are told that God visits Nathan in a vision and tells him to return to David and inform him that God does not need the king to build him a house, for God would establish David’s dynasty, through his son, forever. This line is often thought to suggest that God wanted Solomon to build a temple, even though for Christians, this line is interpreted not as a warrant to build a temple, but of God's desire to establish a heavenly kingdom through Jesus - one that is "not of this world," as Christ eventually points out.
It is ironic, therefore, that both David and the Catholic Church chose to build worldly structures of religious power here on earth instead, since those structures were the very thing that both the prophets before Jesus and Jesus himself opposed. This is clearly what Jesus is alluding to when he tells Pontious Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world," for "If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." Jesus did not come to establish a Church or a Papacy that could send in the cavalry or the Crusades, in other words, or he would've been the one the crowd was cheering to be released instead of Barabbas.
When Solomon finally does build a temple, its basically a Canaanite Ba'al temple, built by Phoenicians.
Near eastern temples were designed as dwelling places for their deities, for example, as Ba'al was said to dwell (ysb) in a house (bayit). El, the God of Israel, on the other hand, was said to "tent" (sakan) in a "tent-shrine" (miskan). By being housed inside of a building, the former required the people to come to it, while the latter was as free to move about as the people themselves, because it was the people. And when the Catholic church describes the faithful followers of Jesus as "the body of Christ," they are simply echoing this ancient perspective.
The Israelite "tent shrine" or "miskan," was portable because it demonstrated the link between the people and their deity, between a God that was not bound to a geographical location or a man made temple, and a people who had historically been nomadic. In a sense, we see a parallel to this concept of what the ancient Tribes understood their God to be in today's European Union, which is a governing entity that is not explicitly tied to any single country. Or better yet, we can think of it like an NGO or a multinational corporation, which are seen as a "legal persons" (i.e. "beings") that are eternal in nature but is in no way bound to any particular place, country, or even office building.
Hence, as "God" has become increasingly bound like Sampson to earthly places like Mecca or Jerusalem, and imprisoned in different Temples from St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to the Dome of the Rock, so a proliferation of eternal economic "beings" - which have risen up through the unholy trinity of politics, economics and technology - have all become increasingly detached from anything and anyone, including the law. And as one condemns "the love of money" as the root of all evil, the other proclaims "the profit motive" to be the greatest economic incentive of all time. Indeed, the 7 deadly sins of the one, are the 7 greatest profit generators of the other.
And if we are to "believe" that "Christ" ever lived at all, it must be understood that His entire purpose was to prevent all of this, for this is the Temple of the Serpent. And the sole objective of the serpent is worldly power.