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Home Book of Abraham Special Section Symbolism and the Book of Abraham

Symbolism and the Book of Abraham

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Non-Mormon Egyptologist Juan Castillos gracefully and succinctly said:

"If one day a statement is made that what Joseph Smith translated were concepts transmitted to him by God, not necessarily the ordinary understanding of such ancient documents, then there could be no further opposition between the readings made by scholars of these objects and that made by the Prophet since it would become strictly a matter of faith which would be outside our field of study".

Before examining the symbolism of the Book of Abraham found throughout this site, it is crucial to understand that the whole process by which the Book of Abraham was restored could best be described in one word: Representationalism.

With that said; what do the images on the Facsimiles represent and how can we know that the interpretations are true? Click on the topics and icons below that interest you and enjoy your tour. E-mail messages, suggestions, and criticism are welcome.

Thank you,

 

Paul Osborne

Independent Scholar of Egyptology

WELCOME:

The information on this page is meant to inform Mormons, non-Mormons, and even anti-Mormons of an innovative approach to understanding the Egyptian symbolism contained in the Book of Abraham (BoA). Joseph Smith was a true prophet and the BoA is a true story written by the hand of Abraham on papyrus long ago. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the lost story of Abraham by means of papyri that fell into the prophet's hands and by revelation the original work of Abraham was restored.

The papyrus had by Joseph Smith was not the original papyrus of Abraham and Joseph Smith did not translate hieroglyphic text using conventional means. Hence, the production of the book was brought about by spiritual means using symbolism coupled with inspiration as the driving force. My website makes a paradigm shift, conceptualizing the issues differently than current explanations offered by BYU/FARMS. Non-Mormon Egyptologist Juan Castillos gracefully and succinctly said:

"If one day a statement is made that what Joseph Smith translated were concepts transmitted to him by God, not necessarily the ordinary understanding of such ancient documents, then there could be no further opposition between the readings made by scholars of these objects and that made by the Prophet since it would become strictly a matter of faith which would be outside our field of study".

 

Before examining the symbolism of the Book of Abraham found throughout this site, it is crucial to understand that the whole process by which the Book of Abraham was restored could best be described in one word: Representationalism.

With that said; what do the images on the Facsimiles represent and how can we know that the interpretations are true? Click on the topics and icons below that interest you and enjoy your tour. E-mail messages, suggestions, and criticism are welcome.

Thank you,

Paul Osborne

Independent Scholar of Egyptology

disclaimer

 

Facsimile No. 1

 

Facsimile No. 1 and Explanations

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Thumb of Bird Wing?

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Head of  Idolatrous Priest

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The Gods of Human Sacrifice

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Other Interesting Lion Couch Scenes

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Joseph Smith Papyri Vignettes

 

 

Facsimile No. 2

(You may jump to the next article via the link at the bottom of each page)

 

Hypocephalus  Translations

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Four Sons of Horus

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Crown of Light

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Lunar Crown

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Composite Scepter

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Eyes of God

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Star Ship 1,000

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Key of Power

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Dove of God

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Abraham's Altar

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Oliblish

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Kolob

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Throne of God

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Star Cow

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Power of God

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Facsimile No. 3

(You may jump to the next article via the link at the bottom of each page)

 

Isis or Pharaoh?

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Osiris or Abraham?

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A goddess or a prince?

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A nobleman or a waiter?

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A god or a slave?

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Atef crown or Godhead?

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Discussion with a Critic

My Egyptology has Answers NOT excuses

David Attacks! (what will I do?)

12 Questions for Critics of the Hypocephalus

12 Answers by a Critic of the Hypocephalus

 

Articles:

Hidden Messages in the Book of the Dead?

Apologetics BYU/FARMS:

Apocalypse of Abraham

 

Symbolism Links

 

 

 

"It (the Book of Abraham) can be tested as a diamond is tested--not by inquiring from whence it came, who found it, how much was paid for it, where and when, who says it is genuine and who says it is not, etc., but simply by subjecting it to the established and recognized jewelers' test for diamonds."   Dr. Hugh Nibley

 

The Four Sons of Horus

 

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 6, EXPLANATION

 

"Represents this earth in its four quarters." (Joseph Smith)

 

Egyptian iconography of the four sons of Horus (son of Osiris) is portrayed in figure six of the LDS papyrus Facsimile No. 2, from left to right:

 

1. Imseti  (man headed)

2. Hapy  (baboon headed)

3. Duamutef  (dog headed)

4. Qebehsenuef  (hawk headed)

 

QUESTION

 

How does the image of four Egyptian gods represent the "four quarters" or rather the four cardinal points of north, east, south, and west, as explained by the prophet Joseph Smith?

 

PAUL'S ANSWER

 

The coffin of the deceased was a symbolic representation of the physical world which encased or surrounded the body of the blessed dead. Under the coffin was the earth god called Geb and above the coffin was the sky goddess (wife of Geb) called Nut. The four sons of Horus were guardians of the world coffin and each god was posted at a corner of the coffin as divine sentinels of the world. This imagery is also paralleled in John's Book of Revelation when the four angels control the four directional winds of the earth at the four corners thereof (Rev 7:1).

 

 

EGYPTOLOGY PROVES JOSEPH SMITH'S INTERPRETATION

 

 

"In the panel nearest the head end on the left side of the box the painted eyes look out over the bolted doors of the dead man's eternal dwellings…the house coffin and its deceased occupant were thought of as ringed about and protected by a special set of tutelary divinities, whose individual stations and responsibilities had already been established by ancient tradition...The four corners of the coffin are watched over by the so-called Genii of the dead, Imsety and Hapy paired on either side of the shoulders of the mummy, Dewau-mautef and Kebeh-snewef flanking the legs" (The Scepter of Egypt; Egyptologist William C. Hays, former Egyptian Curator of NY Metropolitan Museum; p. 314)

 

Some Middle Kingdom coffins demonstrate the religious four cardinal points of the four sons of Horus that take their place at the four corners of the coffin.

 

"A further strip of text usually extended along the (coffin) lid. This invoked the goddess Nut, the sky-deity whose body spanned the heavens, and who swallowed the sun at evening, giving birth to it again at dawn. It was significant for the conceptual interpretation of the coffin, which came to be regarded as a microcosm of the world, its lid symbolizing the heavens." (The Mummy in Ancient Egypt; Egyptologist Salima Ikram & Aidan Dodson & Illustration; p197)

 

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"Connected with one of the forms of Horus, originally, were the four gods of the cardinal points, or the 'four spirits of Horus,' who supported heaven at its four corners; their names were Hapi, Tuamutef, Amset, and Qebhsennuf, and they represented the north, east, south, and west respectively." (Egyptian Ideas of the Afterlife; E.A. Wallis Budge p. 107)

 

"The four pillars of the sky in still later times represented the Four Cardinal Points, and the pillars were thought to be kept in position by the four gods who stood by them. These four gods were the Children of Horus, who were called Amset, Hap, Tuamutef, and Qebhsenuf. Each god ruled over one quarter of the world". (The Book of the Dead; E.A. Wallis Budge, p. 130,131)

 

"In one passage they are called the four Khu's of Horus and originally they represented the Four Horus gods, who held up the four pillars which supported the sky, or their father Horus. Each was suppose to be lord of one of the quarters of the world, and finally become the god of one of the cardinal points, Hap represented the north, Tuamutef the east, Amset the south, and Qebhsenuf the west." (E.A Wallis Budge; The Book of the Dead, p. 192)

 

Crown of Light

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 3, EXPLANATION

 

"...Is made to represent God...with a crown of eternal light upon his head" (Joseph Smith)

 

The fact that Joseph Smith recognized the sun disk above the falcon-god's head, although crudely represented on the papyrus, is a major indication that the prophet knew what he was talking about. Below this paragraph is a tomb painting of the same god with a better depiction of the solar disk which is wrapped by the protecting cobra (uraeus).

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QUESTION

 

Why is the solar disk (Aten) drawn above the head of an Egyptian god considered to be a crown of eternal light in the Joseph Smith papyrus?

 

PAUL'S ANSWER

 

The crown of celestial light belongs to the God of Abraham. Joseph Smith was deciphering principles had by Abraham as he taught the Egyptian court that the Creator was indeed crowned by the light of the sun. The Sun-god is also the Lord of the cosmos. His life giving rays emanate from the circular sun disk which gives light to all the world. The light bearing god provides life, both temporally and spiritually to all mankind. The Book of Abraham preserves genuine Egyptian wordplay for the SUN in Abr 3:13 ..."This is Shinehah, which is the sun"...

 

The crown of light upon God's head represents the glory of the celestial kingdom which is likened to the glory of the sun.  I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the real Sun-God whose wings are stretched out flying through the midst of heaven.  He is the resurrected Falcon of the Ascension.  The Sun-God ascends above all things in that he might fill all things by his own power. Herein we see that Christ rides the heavens in glory filling the immensity of space.  Through the spirit of representationalism this Falcon-headed god is really Jesus Christ, the same who descended into the lower parts of the earth as a sacrificial Lamb and also ascended to heaven after his resurrection. This majestic imagery of the Egyptian religion is simply beautiful!

 

Further doctrine of the crown of light was given by revelation of the Lord to Joseph Smith:

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"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world"  D&C 11:28

"Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and power thereof by which it was made"  D&C 88:7

"Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space"  D&C 88:12

"The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon the throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things."  D&C 88:13

__________________________

[1]  The sketch image of Re is from E.A. Wallis Budge--The Mummy p270

Lunar Crown

FACSIMILE No. 2 NUMBERS 22 & 23, EXPLANATION 5

 

"...the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob"

(Joseph Smith)

 

The baboon was a visible manifestation of the deity known as Thoth. Although the physical form or theophany of Thoth was the baboon, he is usually depicted as a human with the head of an ibis bird.  Thoth is the moon god whose crown is the lunar crescent and disk, and he is credited with inventing hieroglyphs, the lunar calendar, the measurement of time, and mathematics.

QUESTION

Why is the moon on Thoth's head called "stars" by Joseph Smith and how do they receive light from the revolutions of Kolob?

PAUL'S ANSWER

Obviously to the Egyptians the moon was part of the star system but appeared to be much larger than the distant stars. The Egyptians did not make a distinction between planets and stars but considered them to be astral bodies set in the great sky-ocean where the sun-god rode upon his bark across the sky. The moon was simply part of the starry heavens.

The revolutions of Kolob are associated with the powers of gravity and repulsion that exists in our galaxy as it spins through time and space. There are relationships that follow mathematical laws regarding the orbit of stars, planets, and moons. All this is brought to pass by Thoth who governs the moon as it receives light from Kolob in some way that we cannot understand at this time. This much we do know, that the God of Abraham is both the true Sun-god and Moon-god, and moreover:

"He also is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which they were made" (D&C 88:8)

The following image is part of a beautiful pectoral that was found in Tutankhamun's tomb. The king is flanked by two Thoth gods and all three figures are wearing the moon crown which combines the lunar crescent with the disk to show that Thoth is in control of the lunar cycles.

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EGYPTOLOGY GIVES PLAUSIBILITY TO JOSEPH SMITH

"The Egyptians did deify the moon under various names, the most widespread of which was Thoth. Thoth was represented as an ibis or baboon, crowned with the crescent moon and lunar disk; since the moon provides a basis for calculating time and fractions."  (The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt; 1992)

 

"Certain priests, designated as the Keepers of Time, watched the nightly movement of the stars. They were required to memorize the order of the fixed stars, the movements of the moon and the sun, as well as their setting times, and the orbits of the various celestial bodies." (Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt; Margaret Bunson)

 

Composite Scepter

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 1, EXPLANATION

"Kolob, signifying the first creation...First in government" (Joseph Smith)

 

The sacred composite scepter held in the hand of the creator god called Khnum is a representation of three specific icons of the Egyptian religion. They are most sacred in the which these symbols combined together summarize the power of the Egyptian gods by formulating three sacred hieroglyphs into the scepter of God. These symbols are:

1. Was scepter

2. Ankh sandal strap

3. Djed column of stalks

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  1. The was scepter is the staff of dominion, lordship, and power.
  2. The ankh is the germ of life by which all living things are sustained.
  3. The djed column is a sign of endurance and stability through resurrection.
  4.  

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 1

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Joseph Smith Papyri             Similar Papyrus Scene

 

QUESTION

How does the representation of the above figure of a creator god in the Egyptian pantheon who bears the composite scepter signify "first creation" and "first government" of Kolob?

PAUL'S ANSWER

I think that the above definitions of the three symbols being combined together to create a divine scepter give the general idea. The conceptual idea of combining life, dominion, and stability to both creation and government is exactly what Joseph Smith was expressing. The interpretation of the prophet is right on!

 

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Tutankhamun

 

Eyes of God

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 3, EXPLANATION

 

"Is made to represent God...clothed with power...representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood..." (Joseph Smith)

 

The beautiful sacred eyes in the familiar Egyptian motif of the gods Re & Horus are appropriately placed above the seated figure and flank the sun-crown in a display of awesome power and majesty which is the intelligence of God. These eyes are called "udjat" and are among the most powerful symbols of the Egyptian religion. Often an udjat eye was painted on the prow of boats as a symbol of God's ever ability to detect evil, forge forward, and ward off the evil ones that lurk in the way.  There are faint traces that an udjat eye is painted on the prow of God's bark in the Joseph Smith papyrus.

Another important aspect that pertains to the udjat eyes of the Egyptian religion is in the symbolic concept that the right eye is the sun and the left eye is the moon. This imagery is spelled out very clearly in the so-called Egyptian Book of the Dead.

 

QUESTION

How does the Eye of Horus relate to the power of God and his ability to reveal sacred things to his prophets beginning with Adam?

PAUL'S ANSWER

God knows everything and his omniscience is universal. We are taught in the scriptures that light is truth and knowledge is power. God has in times past as well as today revealed many important things to his prophets who are in tune with the Eye of Horus, which is nothing less than revelation from Jesus Christ. The Creator of the udjat eyes is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who made the world, the sun, the moon, and governs all things by his all seeing power.

 

MORE TESTIMONY

"The mighty One appears, the horizon shines, Atum (Creator) appears on the smell of his censing, the Sunshine-god has risen in the sky...The Majesty of the Sacred Eye is in front of the Ennead (nine gods of creation), His majesty shines as on the First Occasion, and the Sacred Eye is in His head." (Egyptian Book of the Dead--Going Forth by Day; chapter 140; translated by Raymond Faulkner)

 

"And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things." (D&C 88:67)

 

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The Sacred Eye of the necropolis

"I arrive at the island of the Horizon-dwellers, I go out from the holy gate...It is the door through which my father Atum (Creator)  passed when he proceeded to the eastern horizon of the sky" (Book of the Dead; translated by Faulkner)

 

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FACSIMILE No. 2 NUMBER 4, EXPLANATION

 

"...signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens; also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying one thousand; answering to the measure of the time of Oliblish, which is equal with Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time." (Joseph Smith)

 

This vignette of a divine hawk in the theophany of the god Ptah-Sokar sailing on the sacred bark is a manifestation of the god's mission. The flying bark rode upon the great sky-ocean within the dark cosmos of night as it journeyed across the starry sky, hence traversing the universe. The basic voyage and cycle of space traveling Egyptian gods involved encircling the earth which includes a trip around the universe among the stars of the firmament. This of course is directly related to the times and revolutions of Kolob in the great "expanse" as revealed by Joseph Smith.

 

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EGYPTOLOGY CONFIRMS JOSEPH SMITH'S REVELATION

"In keeping with their view of the sky as the surface where the waters of the universal ocean met the atmosphere of the world, the ancient Egyptians envisaged the motion of celestial bodies as a journey by boat.  During the day, the sun sailed across the sky, and at night the stars did the same. The text accompanying one scene of the solar journey describes it as follows: 'When this god (the sun) sails to the limits of the sky-basin, she (Nut, the sky) causes him to enter again into night, into the middle of the night, and as he sails inside the dark these stars are behind him. When the incarnation of this god enters...inside the Duat, it stays open after he sails inside it, so that these sailing stars may enter after him and come forth after him'."   (Ancient Egypt, edited by David P. Silverman; authored by James P. Allen, the Egyptian Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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QUESTION

How does this figure into Joseph Smith's revelation of the number "1,000" when every Egyptologist knows that the lotus plant (leaf, stalk, and root) is the hieroglyphic sign for one thousand?

PAUL'S ANSWER

The number 1,000 was in a sense a lucky number or one of good fortune. In the tombs of many of the ancient Egyptians there are painted or carved scenes of what is called "invocation offerings" in which the blessed dead are symbolically provided with sufficient provisions and sustenance for their afterlife. The standard list includes 1,000 of each of the following: Bread, beer, oxen, fowl, alabaster, and linen cloth.

When considering the stars in the expanse of heaven we can justly apply the figure 1,000 to it because on a clear night one may be able to see well over a thousand stars at night. The Egyptian language bears this out as fact. The following word for "starry sky" in the Faulkner Middle Egyptian Dictionary is called "kha-bas" wherein the "kha" (first sign below) signifies the number 1,000:

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I will now show by the Faulkner Dictionary that my assertion of the starry sky (kha-bas) with the lotus plant at front position does indeed signify 1,000 as the starry sky. First, be it known that out of 36 other words which begin with the lotus "kha", only 5 of them do not have an accompanying phonetic compliment which would be used to denote the lotus plant as a pronunciation sign only and not a sign for the numerical 1,000 figure. Let's take a look at these and see if they rightly use the number 1,000 in describing quantity as does starry sky, kha-bas:

kha-ta = land measure of 10 arouras (which is equal to 1,000 square cubits)

kha-yt = slaughter/massacre (1,000 dead?)

kha-nenet = variety of date palm (1,000 dates?)

Kha-rw = a bound Khorian man from Palestine/Syria (1,000 prisoners?)

kha-ty = office? (??)

THE BIBLE AND THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM ARE AGREED

The Egyptian concept of the day bark & night bark that sailed across the heavens in a single 24 hour period was a major part of Egyptian religion. There were 12 hours granted for the day bark and another 12 for the night bark. Hence, the gods made the journey around the universe in one day. But, can we say that one day of celestial time near Kolob is equal to one 24 hour period of earth time? Absolutely NOT!

"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3:8 &9)

"And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord's time, according to the reckoning of Kolob." (Abr 3:4)

 

FURTHER PROOF

"Some such space travel (often indicated in the Coptic Gnostic writings) is indicated in C.T. 162 (II, 403f): 'He takes the ship of 1000 cubits from end to end, and he sails in it to the stairway of fire'. All of which most cogently brings to mind Joseph Smith's interpretation of the ship-figure (fig. 4) in Facsimile II of the Book of Abraham: 'A numerical figure in Egyptian signifying one thousand; answering to the measuring of time'...".  (Hugh Nibley; The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyrus)

 

Key of Power

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 2, EXPLANATION

 

"...where God resides; holding the key of power..." (Joseph Smith)

 

The two-faced portrait of God in figure 2 holds the "key of power" which is associated with the celestial realm as well as other planets that make up the vast creations of God. We may well note that this key is a representation of the power of God to perform a work.

 

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QUESTION

 

What is the "key of power" and how is it associated with other planets that exist throughout the cosmos?

 

PAUL'S ANSWER

 

God is connecting Egyptian imagery to the true teachings of Abraham who taught the Egyptian royal court about things of God. The "key of power" held by God is directly associated with the ability of Jesus Christ to gain victory over death and to bring to pass the universal resurrection of the dead for all the worlds created by Christ.

 

The key held in the hand of God is actually a totem or a standard whereon the animal-god Anubis (black jackal) stands proudly atop the wooden framework of the pole.

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The role of Anubis was chiefly that of a mortuary god who ritually embalmed the dead in funerary mummy wrappings, guarded the tombs, and bore the title, 'Lord of the Necropolis'. It appears in the Joseph Smith papyri that the mummy is under the protective care under the standard of Anubis awaiting the promise of the resurrection by the key of power.

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Mummy Mummy & Anubis

 

It is by the power of Anubis that the road to resurrection in the afterlife was opened and the deceased was ushered into the presence of Osiris for resurrection and eternal life. All of this of course points to Jesus Christ who fills all the roles that the Egyptian gods aspired to perform.

 

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FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 7, EXPLANATION

 

"...as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove" (Joseph Smith)

 

The form of a dove in the Joseph Smith hypocephalus is at variance to other similar papyri which feature an ithyphallic serpent-god with legs standing before the throne of God.  This section of the original papyrus is thought by many to have been damaged as only the head of the inked image survived through the centuries. This figure in the Joseph Smith hypocephalus is indeed unique.

QUESTION

Was the original image of the papyri an  ithyphallic serpent or did Joseph Smith pencil in the belly of a dove as critics so smugly point out?

PAUL'S ANSWER

It doesn't matter. God so ordered the form of a dove to be represented on the papyri and the interpretation thereof through the revelation and instrumentality of the prophet Joseph Smith. Therefore, we are obliged to focus on the DOVE who is the Third Member of the Godhead, the Spirit of God, and a witness of the New Testament rather than the image of a serpent-deity of the Egyptian pantheon in Old Testament times. Nevertheless, we know that the image of a serpent can represent the healing and protective power of God as was used by Moses when he lifted up the brazen serpent as a type of Christ. Therefore, whether it be a brazen serpent on Moses' pole or a dove like that at Jesus' baptism, or a Lamb standing before a throne in the Book of Revelation, we know that God can manifest himself to his people through animal symbolism according to his divine will.

 

Abraham's Altar

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 2, EXPLANATION

 

"...as he (Abraham) offered sacrifice upon an altar, which he had built unto the Lord."  (Joseph Smith)

 

The sketchy temple altar displayed to the left is not easily recognizable in the midst of the papyrus except for one who has a trained eye for things Egyptian. To demonstrate this go to Hypocephalus No. 2 and see how difficult it is to find and identify the altar.

 

The offering altar is flanked by two libation vases and topped by lotus flowers which appears fragmentary due to the poor sketch. It lacks the bundles of food items that a generous table of offerings might provide in a typical offering scene. Nevertheless, the lotus bouquets and vases are offered for the benefit of the two-faced god who stands prominently at the left side of the altar. The ritual cult offerings performed in the temples of Egypt were primarily the responsibility of the king who delegated the priests to also make consecrations to the gods. This act of devotion was required in order for the gods to bless the land of Egypt and those who lived therein. It was in a sense a trade off as the gods were nourished by the sustenance of the offering and the people were blessed with the bounty of the Nile.

 

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Twin temple altars topped with lotus flowers

 

QUESTION

 

What does an offering for an Egyptian god have to do with Abraham sacrificing his son as explained by Joseph Smith?

 

PAUL'S ANSWER

 

There are religious parallels that may be drawn from this comparison that have significant meaning to all the world.

 

First and foremost, the offering of Isaac was a type of Christ wherein the Father would later sacrifice his Only Begotten Son. In other words it was this act that brought life and salvation to all those who embrace the divine performance thereof. We learn in the New Testament that Abraham was justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. Therefore, what Abraham did by his faith was a blessing for all mankind in which his seed would multiply and Christ would come forth out of his loins and save the world.

 

We may justly assume that the very altar before Re who rides upon his throne in  figure 3 is made to represent the footstool of God, which is the earth wherein the Lamb came to perform the atonement.

 

Jesus Christ the Lamb of God placed himself upon the altar of eternal sacrifice.  He is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world because he was foreordained in the preexistence to come to earth and perform a spiritual atonement and physical sacrifice.  He is the Lamb who descended below all things by giving his life for us in the lower parts of the earth.  The Lamb came to suffer and experience condescension on earth through his mission and atonement. Therefore, he descended below all things as the sacrificial Lamb of God.

 

Likewise, he is the Lamb of God, having his hoofs (hands and feet) pierced, for he is the sacrifice of the atonement.  Therefore, the Falcon ascended up on high, as also the Lamb descended below all things in that he comprehended all things.

 

As Christ is able to save all the world by his grace to all those who offer up their faith and works, likewise the gods of Egypt theoretically were able to bless and sustain the lives of all those under the care of Pharaoh.

 

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Osiris upon his throne receiving an offering

 

Oliblish

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 2, EXPLANATION

 

"Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides..."  (Joseph Smith)

 

QUESTION

What in the world does this Egyptian god have to do with creation's realm in yonder heavens?

PAUL'S ANSWER

We have already noted that the two-faced cosmic creator god who stands in figure No. 2 is associated with the celestial realm and other planets throughout the universe that make up the vast creations of God. This god has a crown of ram horns topped with plumes and is identified as Amen-Re who was one of the supreme gods of Egypt. Perhaps his two-faced appearance may be likened unto God's ability to see everything-- past, present, and future. The vertical hieroglyphs to the left of the image are translated as:

"The name of that god is great" (transliterated as: rn n nTr pf aA)

This certainly compliments the concept that God is involved with a "grand governing creation" as revealed by the prophet Joseph Smith.

God walks along the skies and oversees the planets that are governed by the light of Kolob. He strides along the path of divinity with power and authority and personally cares for each world in his domain. Christ saves the worlds upon the altar of sacrifice and prepares all things to come forth in their glory

QUESTION

 

What does the name "Oliblish" imply and where did it originate?

PAUL'S ANSWER

I don't know.

I speculate it could be a star or a glorified world, but I wouldn't think it too amiss to identify Oliblish with the lower heaven called the "terrestrial kingdom" as described in Section 76 of the D&C.  It appears that the god Amen-Re has taken leave from Kolob and stands upon the place of Oliblish which is the "next grand governing creation" nearest to the place where God resides. We may however safely admit that in the grand scheme of things the terrestrial world is the next grand governing creation that is nearest to the celestial kingdom.

 

"And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or lesser kingdom". (D&C 88:37)

 

Kolob

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 1, EXPLANATION

 

"Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh."  (Joseph Smith)

 

QUESTION

How does this Egyptian God represent the first creation?

PAUL'S ANSWER

In similar papyrus scenes as well as this one, the multi-faced god is the ram-headed god called Khnum. He is one of the creator gods of the pantheon, the same who sometimes holds a potter wheel as he fashions mankind with his own hands as if a man were a clay pot being brought to life for the first time. A sketch drawing of the original Joseph Smith papyri does not have any head(s) on the body of the kneeling god. Apparently the original papyrus was damaged and Joseph Smith penciled in the two-faced head with ram horns similar to the god in the figure directly above. Nevertheless, a multi-headed Khnum is the typical god shown in this central position on other hypocephalus papyri which demonstrates Joseph Smith's keen ability for things Egyptian.

The account of the Book of Abraham reveals that mankind first existed in the preexistence wherein the spirit children of God were spiritually created before they were physically born on the earth. This doctrine may well be an elucidation to the "first creation" (preexistence) of Kolob as depicted by the Egyptian creator god, Khnum.

QUESTION

How is one day in Kolob equal to 1,000 years of earth time as is also explained in Abraham 3:4?

PAUL'S ANSWER

Not only is this subject extremely difficult to analyze, but is very mysterious, indeed. It seems safe to compare the earth revolving around the sun in orbit while the sun revolves around Kolob. I get the impression from Joseph Smith's explanations that everything in God's universe revolves around his heavenly throne in orbit.

The circular hypocephalus may be a symbolic figure of the principle that everything revolves around the Lord in a course of one eternal round. Note well that the creator Khnum is centered in the middle of the hypocephalus and that the writings and vignettes seem to rotate around the center picture as if they were in orbit.

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Around and around we go!

This is God manifesting himself to all creation in power, dominion, and justice in a life that endures for ever. He sits upon the throne of glory from eternity to eternity and is the Creator of worlds which spin upon their revolutions in the midst of the stars. God created the heaven and the earth and by his power light shined upon each of the worlds he organized among the starry skies. God organized this world within the jurisdiction of the mightiest star of all, Kolob.

May the glory be to God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ who sit upon the blazing throne in the celestial kingdom and have made an everlasting afterlife possible for us. May we  live forever with them in everlasting burnings which are as circling flames of fire, like "wheels" (Ezek 1) that roll forth in glorious majesty, high and lifted up, wheels within wheels turning for eternity.

 

Throne of God

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 7, EXPLANATION

 

Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the priesthood..." (Joseph Smith)

 

Once again, Joseph Smith knew about Egyptian iconography. Indeed this is God sitting on his throne!

QUESTION

Which Egyptian god is enthroned this time?

PAUL'S ANSWER

The answer does not allude us but the question raises new concerns: "Does it matter"?  The fact is that this Person is God sitting upon his throne as confirmed by the prophet Joseph Smith. It's not a courtier of the king and is not a member of the royal family, nor is it a high official or the king himself for that matter; It is GOD!  All the gods including the Ennead of Egyptian mythology are rolled up into one Godhead as modern Egyptology is now just beginning to understand. The Leiden papyrus says:

"The Ennead is combined in your body: Your image is every god, joined in your person...Original one who begot the original ones."

 

"All the gods are three: Amun, Re, and Ptah, without their second. His identify is hidden in Amun, his face is as Re, his body is Ptah."

World famous Egyptologist James P. Allen (author of "Middle Egyptian" and Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of New York City) said:

"Ultimately, the notion that every god could be seen as an aspect of Amun led to a kind of Egyptian monotheism: that is, the idea that all the gods are really one. This is different from the monotheism of Judaism and Islam, which accepts only one God, but is similar to the notion of Christian Trinity, which recognizes the existence of three different 'persons' (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in a single God. The Leiden hymn to Amun, in fact, anticipated the Christian idea of a triune god."

 

Now let us consider the second part of Joseph Smith's explanation which says:

 

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"Revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the priesthood..."

Before we examine the details of the above picture it would be helpful to introduce a few points taught by Joseph Smith concerning "keys" as taught in "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith".

"Every principle proceeding from God is eternal and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil.  The sun has no beginning or end; the rays which proceed from himself have no bounds, consequently are eternal."

"Knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven."

"There are certain key words and signs belonging to the Priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessing.  The sign of Peter was to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost; and no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained."

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A royal or divine pointed beard on the chin of God is a sure sign of divinity.

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The Holy Ghost embraces the Eye of Re in the face of God. (Refer to "Eyes of God" for a spiritual explanation.)

 

 

This appears to be three long necked jackal heads that stem out from each other with each head having two upward pointed ears and a snout. The Egyptian word for this prestigious icon is "wsrw" which signifies strength & power. (Refer to "Key of Power" for more symbolism regarding the jackal god)

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God with his arm raised to the square with a nekhakha (flail) suspended above his left hand. This scepter is an insignia held only by gods and kings.  

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This appears to be the wing and tail of a falcon attached to the body of God. This union is to show that the gods Min and Horus are united as one God in purpose.

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It is generally believed that this is the phallus of the God Min as depicted in other portraitures of Min with uplifted left hand and erect phallus. If so, it is merely a symbol of God's ability to bear children via the sacred phallus from which creation is made possible. It is by this power Jesus was conceived and is had by all those who become gods (exaltation) as taught in Mormonism.

 

Star Cow

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 5, EXPLANATION

 

Is called in Egyptian Ensih-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the earth and the Sun in its annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam. the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob." (Joseph Smith)

 

According to Joseph Smith's revelation we are dealing strictly with astronomy and principles that govern astral bodies in yonder space. The above explanation is quite daring to say the least when considering that Egyptology was in it's infancy during the time of Joseph Smith. The understanding of some simple hieroglyphic signs in the 1830's was just beginning to be properly ascertained on account of new breakthroughs by European scholars who pioneered this challenging work. Let us now examine the cow figure reviewed by the Mormon prophet and briefly see how his interpretation compares with Egyptology today.

 

We see in the imagery of figure 5 a divine cow (Hathor) decked with a crown and followed by a female attendant holding forth a lotus (symbol of rebirth or creation) as an offering to Hathor, the Cow goddess. Although the crown is poorly drawn, it consists of two plumes and a solar disk resting between the horns. The following drawing below is taken from a similar hypocephalus depicting the same scene but distinctively shows the sun disk upon the head:

 

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Joseph Smith began his interpretation of the figure by stating that it "is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun", thus the cow bears the sun disk upon her head. The prophet Joseph Smith declared this in spite of the fact that his papyri did not show a little circle in-between the horns to represent the sun in Egyptian imagery. Was this a lucky guess or was the prophet being inspired?

 

Modern Egyptology bears witness of the truthfulness to the general idea of Joseph Smith's interpretation in which the SUN is a key issue with the celestial cow goddess, Hathor, who is also transformed into a beautiful woman having cow horns and a solar disk upon her head, especially in tomb scenes in Thebes. Either way, it is still Hathor, the sky goddess and daughter of Re, being involved with the cosmos in yonder heavens as the "Lady of Heaven". We also note that Joseph Smith's explanation also refers to planets and stars which are under the cow's domain. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson said:

 

"She was called the mother of Re in some rites because she carried the sun between her horns. She was called the daughter of Re because she assimilated with the stars, which were Re's children." (The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt; p 107)

 

Further connections between Joseph Smith's cosmogony of stars and planets being linked with Hathor and modern Egyptology is nicely put by Egyptologist Barbara Watterson who said:

 

"The Egyptians thought of her as a gigantic cow which straddled the earth, her legs, marking the four cardinal points. Between her horns she carried the sun's disk; her belly was the sky, her hide and udders were the stars and planets." (Gods of Ancient Egypt; p. 113)

 

Notice how the cow straddled the earth and the legs marked the four cardinal points of earth? Again, this iconography is exactly what Joseph Smith was talking about when relating the celestial cow with the four figures to the right of the cow.

 

 

Celestial Cow &  Four Sons of Horus

 

There is another cow goddess called Mehet-weret who was fused with Hathor and is directly associated with the cosmos just as Joseph Smith explained. Again, Egyptologist Barbara Watterson has this to say regarding Mehet-weret:

 

"whose name means the 'The Great Flood', a reference both to the primeval ocean and also to the celestial ocean across which Re was thought to sail in his Barque every day, had been the local cow goddess, second only to Hathor in importance; but at an early date, the two were merged so that she became another form of the great Hathor." (Gods of Ancient Egypt; p. 121)

 

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Hathor in Stars

 

Power of God

 

FACSIMILE No. 2 FIGURE 3, EXPLANATION

 

"Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority" (Joseph Smith)

 

There is no room to question the answer Joseph Smith gave because it is so obviously correct that it could never be refuted by anyone including every Egyptologist. It's a direct Bull's-eye in the heart of Egyptian iconography! The seated Sun-god in this section of the Hypocephalus is the celestial falcon-headed god known as Re, a great ruler of both earth and sky.

 

The throne he sits on is reserved for deity and kings only. So also is the was (w3s) scepter held in the hand of the god. According to Dr. Raymond Faulker's Egyptian Dictionary the was scepter is the staff of dominion. Generally, Egyptologists interpret this royal icon to represent dominion, power, and authority as originally explained by Joseph Smith. The imagery contained in this figure was extremely sacred to the Egyptian priesthood and Joseph Smith was aware of this by the power of revelation. The prophet goes on to say:

 

 

"representing also the grand  Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the garden of Eden..." (Joseph Smith)

 

 

Everything about this portrait signifies priesthood authority and Joseph Smith like the Egyptians taught that the priesthood originated with God. According to the Egyptian religion it was given to the primordial kings of Egypt and according to the Biblical religion it was given to the prophets starting with Adam, "which was the son of God" (Luke 3:38).

 

Further, the symbolic amulet clasped in the right hand of Re pointing towards the staff of power is the ankh, the sign of life in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thus, we see God and the power of the priesthood--life eternal, which is key doctrine taught in the Mormon temple today as revealed in the explanation of figure No. 8.

 

 

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God with ankh and was scepter in hands

 

 

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JOSEPH SMITH EXPLANATION

 

Fig. 1. Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king, with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven; with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand.

Fig. 2. King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head.

Fig. 3. Signifies Abraham in Egypt as given also in Figure 10 of Facsimile No. 1.

Fig. 4. Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand.

Fig. 5. Shulem, one of the king's principal waiters, as represented by the characters above the hand.

Fig. 6. Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince.

 

Abraham is reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king’s court

 

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An Egyptian goddess adorned in the garb of Hathor

 

The Joseph Smith explanation says that this is, "King Pharaoh, whose name is given in the characters above his head."

 

How can this be? The undeterminable hieroglyphs above the hand do not resemble that of a king's name and are not contained in a royal cartouche! Therefore; what was Joseph Smith talking about?

 

The negative facts are:

 

 

 

 

The female goddess was NOT the king of Egypt in Abraham's day.

 

 

 

 

The papyrus was NOT a production of Abraham's day, but long after.

 

 

 

 

The garbled hieroglyphs do NOT represent any known king.

 

 

The answer to this puzzling dilemma stems back to the process by which the revelation was founded—REPRESENTATIONALISM!

 

Simply put—the image of the goddess was made to represent the Egyptian king of Abraham's day. The Lord gave the prophet Joseph Smith inspiration through Egyptian iconography in order to open his mind up to the story of Abraham. In a sense, the Facsimile may simply be referred to as a prop or visual aid to idealize an ancient setting after the manner of the Egyptians. Therefore, to Joseph Smith the goddess was nothing more and nothing less than the king of Egypt.

 

 

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Lord Osiris balances the Crook & Flail in his hands

 

 

The Joseph Smith explanation of Fig. 1, says, "Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king... with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand."

 

The image of Osiris is hereby made to represent Abraham through the principle of representationalism (Revelation 5:6). This was the vision given to the mind of Joseph Smith as he restored the Book of Abraham.

 

With regard to the sacred symbols held in the hands of the god Osiris which were likewise held by the pharaohs who sought to imitate the patriarchal order of Adam (Abraham 1:26), I am happy to give my interpretation of symbolic representationalism. The symbols are all powerful and in themselves infinite, seeing that I love to touch upon things that are eternal, for it catches my mind's eye and I love to ponder these things.

 

The Egyptian god of the resurrection is Osiris (as called in the Greek) but Ausar in the Egyptian. Osiris in Egyptian mythology is the first man to have been resurrected. All Egypt looked to him to receive resurrection in his likeness and glory. I look to Osiris to be the resurrection and the life because he symbolically is really Jesus Christ (John 11:25). The two sacred symbols which I mentioned earlier are held in the hands of Osiris (Christ) and are a representation of the atonement and the very power of the universe. Now I shall begin to explain these concepts.

 

First, the shepherd's crook, used to gather the sheep (Isaiah 40:11). This royal scepter is usually held in one hand at a 45 degree angle across the front of the body. This symbolizes the mercy of God.

 

Second, the flail, the instrument or whip (Proverbs 26:3) used by the herdsman to drive the cattle away. This royal scepter is held in the other hand at a 45 degree angle (running perpendicular with the crook) across the front of the body. This symbolizes the justice of God.

 

These two instruments held in the hands of the herdsman are used to either drive or attract the animals. The crook gathers the sheep and the flail drives the cattle to go wheresoever they are compelled to go. Thus we see that there is opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:10,11). We know that the crook symbolizes mercy for it brings the lambs lovingly to the shepherd for protection and care (Psalms 23:1,4). We also know the herdsman will drive the cattle where they must go for he is lord of the herd (John 2:15). Therefore, the symbol of mercy in one hand and the symbol of justice in the other. This is the reason why Osiris held these scepters in his hands and so also did the kings who were appointed to rule in righteousness for they sought to imitate the order of God. It is a great calling to be the one who must settle mercy and justice among all the people. We know that king Solomon was great in wisdom and justice.

 

More importantly, Christ holds them in his hands for it was he who worked out the atonement. It was Jesus who balanced mercy and justice in his arms by the power of the atonement. It may be likened to scales or a balance whereon justice hangs on one side and mercy on the other. When both are equal or satisfied the scales become balanced. This is another example of opposition in all things. The scales are balanced upon a "nail in a sure place" (Isa 22:23) for the two arms which hold the scales are balanced by the pivoting action of the arms that hang on the nail. It is in the power of the nail by which the scales are balanced. Likewise it is by Christ who is the "nail in the holy place" (Ezra 9:8) whose mercy is able to save mankind from the judgment.

 

Let us consider what Christ did for us with his atonement seeing that it was he who balanced the scales of justice and mercy by the nail in the sure place upon the scale. The word atonement when broken down signifies at-one-ment, which being interpreted means that man may become one with Christ as he is with the Father. This is partially correct but does not carry the full weight of the meaning. I again refer to the scales or the crook and flail held in the hands of Christ by the power of the nail. What did Christ do to the scales? He balanced them. How did he do this? He satisfied the demands of justice (Mosiah 15:9). Why did justice make it's claim? Man sinned and became fallen and justice therefore demands that man pay the price. What is the price for breaking the laws of he who is eternal and Endless is his name? The penalty is everlasting punishment for the principle of justice is an everlasting principle.

 

We see now that in order to satisfy the demands of eternal justice it becomes expedient that mercy be meted out in eternal weight (Alma 34:14). This was the suffering and sacrifice of the Lamb of God. This is fundamental to our religion for it is the saving power which is able to bring mankind back into the presence of God.

 

It was the Lamb that balanced the scales through his infinite sacrifice for it must needs be an infinite sacrifice in order to satisfy everlasting justice. Therefore we see that infinite mercy was paid by Jesus Christ. What man could comprehend such things? Only God can comprehend the eternal weight of these things and not man. It was the power and mercy of Jesus Christ that caused the scales to tip into a balanced position. Thereby we may know that the atonement was caused by the balancing of the scales as Jesus satisfied the required weight of mercy making it equal to the weight of justice.

 

At this point I endeavor to transcend another level regarding the imagery and principles I have discussed. First, let us remember that there is indeed opposition in all things, the very laws of the universe teach us this basic principle. We see light and darkness, sweet and bitter, pleasure and pain, truth and error, good and evil, etc.

 

There is also opposition in the very physical powers that drive the universe. We know that Abraham reasoned with the Egyptians concerning astronomy and the powers by which the worlds are governed. We have the Book of Abraham and the mysterious interpretations of the Facsimiles given by Joseph Smith which few people seriously study, let alone comprehend. Again I bring to mind the crook and flail which symbolize two eternal principles which I have discussed. How do they apply to the powers of astronomy? Abraham sat upon the throne of pharaoh in Facsimile No. 3 figure 1 and reasoned about the principles of astronomy in the kings court while he was balancing the crook and flail in his hands. He taught the Egyptians about the creation of stars and planets and the forces that drive the universe as detailed in the Explanation of Facsimile No. 2.

 

Let us first consider the crook. What does the crook have to do with astronomy? First we learned that it represents the mercy of Christ, the power to bring in, the power of attraction, thus to bring man back into the presence of God. This may be likened to the very physical power of gravity which causes the planets to orbit in their set revolutions and the stars to move in their destined courses. Thus we see as the Creator Jesus Christ (via the image of Osiris) holds the crook across his body, it is a representation of his power to govern the planets and stars by the power of gravity.

 

Let us secondly consider the flail. We learned that it represents the justice of God, the power to force out, the power to compel, thus to drive man away from the presence of God. This is the opposite of attraction, even as the earth has two opposing magnetic poles, one which attracts and another which repels. This physical force is operative throughout the universe as the planets and stars move in their courses being repulsed by invisible forces. We know that the forces of attraction and repulsion are present on planet earth and are likewise the governing forces that move the universe where God desires. Further, the Lord holds the flail across his body because he has in his hand the power to move the elements (Matthew 24:29) .

 

Great and marvelous are the mysteries of God and his ways are past finding out until we are exalted at his right hand. Only then, in a state of exaltation can we fully comprehend the glorious nature of eternal life. The glory be to God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ who sit upon the blazing throne in the celestial kingdom and have made everlasting life possible for us. We may live forever with them in everlasting burnings which are as circling flames of fire like wheels that roll forth in glorious majesty, high and lifted up, wheels within wheels (Ezekiel 10:10) turning for eternity. I greatly appreciate the prophet Joseph Smith. I have read his teachings carefully with enormous interest. I find his revelations and teachings indispensable in formulating my own understanding of eternal things. Joseph knew something of the language of the Egyptians, seeing he was especially knowledgeable of reformed hieroglyphs and learned them by seeing into Urim, for Joseph was truly a seer (one who sees), a visionary, a foreteller of future events, and a prophet of this dispensation.

 

I try to learn from the seers and formulate my understanding on what they reveal. The scriptures are the standard truth, but must be interpreted correctly. I know that Gordon B. Hinkley is a seer, a successor of Joseph Smith who was the first seer. I believe that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are prophets, seers, and revelators.

 

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The Egyptian goddess of Truth and Right

 

The Joseph Smith explanation says that this is, "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written above the hand."

 

The garbled hieroglyphs above the hand do not seem to have any of the necessary emblems to denote a prince of Egypt. There is no question that this elegant woman is none other than the Egyptian goddess called Ma'at.

 

This beautiful simulacrum given by the Lord reminds us of fantastic imagery found within the covers of the Bible. For instance: the vision of both a golden head and a lion (Dan 2:32; 7:4) being likened to the king of Babylon. Still yet--we advance further in God's symbolism who likened the church of God as a bride who is "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Rev 12:1). There is nothing amiss to the revelation of transposing a female representation into what could also be a male interpretation.

 

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An Egyptian presented before Osiris

 

The Joseph Smith explanation says that this is, "Shulem, one of the king’s principal waiters, as represented by the characters above his hand."

 

Well, needless to say; the characters above the hand do NOT signify this information in conventional hieroglyphs. But, at this point, we were not expecting this either. Here we see a blessed man of peace come forth in the resurrection, being ushered in by Ma'at who represents the principles of righteousness and is greeted by Osiris, the Lord of life!

 

Again, we are taken into the world of representationalism whereby the Lord has used an Egyptian stage prop to illustrate the story of Abraham. Here we also see that this supposed pagan scene is used by the Lord to further his own purposes. The Lord works in mysterious ways

 

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Egyptian form of the god Anubis

 

The Joseph Smith explanation says that this is, "Olimlah, a slave belonging to the prince."

 

Guess what?  Joseph Smith's explanation is exactly what Anubis looks like! All's well, ends well.

 

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Lord Osiris wearing the Atef Crown

 

The Joseph Smith explanation says, "with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven."


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The Lord has used this crown as a symbol of the grand Presidency in heaven or in other words, the Godhead. The tall bulbous white crown at center position is flanked by two feathers--needless to say it is worn by Deity--the very source and power of the holy priesthood.

 

"And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen."  (The Testimony of the Three Witnesses)

 

For sure, the most well known crowns of ancient Egypt, worn by both kings and gods are called:

 

 

White Crown of Upper Egypt--South

 

Red Crown of Lower Egypt--North

 

 

Double Crown of United Egypt combines both Red & White crowns

 

"The crowns, not surprisingly, were themselves divine. They were members, in the early periods, of the personal retinue of divinities which attended the King; their role was the protection of the King and the destruction of his enemies. Special chapels were built for the housing of the crowns, so sacred were they." (Egypt's Making, p. 112; Michael Rice)

 

It is reasonable to continue with Joseph Smith's iconographic interpretation and apply it to the main crowns worn by the kings of Egypt as mentioned above. Let us start with the principle that the royal regalia upon the head of the king spiritually represents the power of the priesthood which originated from God and not man. Hence, either crown is a representation of the power of God upon the head of the king. The following wall relief depicts Pharaoh Senusret III wearing both red and white crowns in a back to back setting.

 

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Red & White Crowns

 

The uniting of the two crowns form the Double Crown:

 

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Double Crown

 

Additional elaboration on what may include deep significant roots about the origins and symbolism of these divine crowns further illustrates representationalism:

 

 

The White Crown is an exalted symbol of the power of God.

 

 

The Red Crown is a symbol of God's throne and the influence of the Spirit of God shown as a curl extending out of the crown.

 

 

The Double Crown shows all three elements of the Christian Godhead which consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

 

12 Answers by

Critics of the Hypocephalus

(Rebuttals by Paul Osborne)

QUESTION NO. 1

Critic's Answer: He wasn't on the mark when he explained that the figures in Facsimile No. 2 Figure 6 represents this earth in it's four quarters. Egyptological explanation: The four funerary genii, the sons of Osiris, Amset, Hapi, Tioumautow, and Kebhsoniw.

My Rebuttal: I'm glad you were able name the Four Sons of Horus but that doesn't in any way negate what Joseph Smith said about the four cardinal positions of the gods as shown on coffins in Egypt. Egyptology has shown that the directions of north, east, south, and west (four quarters of the earth) are associated with the Four Sons of Horus just as Joseph Smith revealed. Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge said, "The four pillars of the sky in still later times represented the Four Cardinal Points, and the pillars were thought to be kept in position by the four gods who stood by them. These four gods were the Children of Horus, who were called Amset, Hap, Tuamutef, and Qebhsenuf. Each god ruled over one quarter of the world". (The Book of the Dead; E.A. Wallis Budge, p. 130,131)

 

QUESTION NO. 2

Critic's Answer:  It's the sun above the head of the Egyptian God, Ra. Not a "crown of eternal light" as a crown on the head of the Mormon god.

My Rebuttal: The critic makes a serious mistake by denying the nature of the crown of Re. The sun disk above the head of Re is indeed a headdress just as it is for Hathor and Isis whose crown is a sun resting in between cow horns. There isn't any reason why a headdress of light over Re's head can't be called a crown because it is the divine regalia above the head of this sovereign god in Egyptian iconography. The sun disc is a hieroglyphic determinative for the Egyptian word "heh" which signifies eternal or forever. The three elements revealed by Joseph Smith: crown, eternal, and light, come together and agree well with spiritual symbolism found in the Bible's Book of Revelation:

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars"  Rev 12:1

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle."  Rev 14:14

Now we turn our attention to the Book of the Dead elegantly translated by E.A. Wallis Budge and find that the sun disc above the head of Re truly is a crown of eternal light just as Joseph Smith said it was:

 

A HYMN OF PRAISE TO RA WHEN HE RISETH IN THE EASTERN PART OF HEAVEN

"The gods rejoice when they see Ra crowned upon his throne, and when his beams flood the world with light."

QUESTION NO. 3

Critic's Answer: Spheres in almost every culture have been associated with stars, moons, planets, etc. A child will often draw a sphere (circle) to represent the sun or the moon, yet we should believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet because he could associate spheres as "stars"? I don't think so.

My Rebuttal: But the facts are that Joseph Smith did point out those unidentified funny looking spheres on top of baboon heads and put them in their rightful place according to Egyptian cosmology. Decipherment of Egyptian imagery in the 1830's was not child's play and was challenging even for the world's greatest scholars. I think the images in the Joseph Smith Hypocephalus were difficult for anyone to interpret in the days of Joseph Smith, especially for someone who did not have parallels to compare with. Egyptology was in its infancy in those days and the circle above the figure sitting on a boat  (Facsimile No. 2 Figure 3) in a cluttered foreign picture with little detail would not be easily construed as a solar disc by someone who was unfamiliar with Egyptian art. There are a lot of things Joseph Smith could have called the oval figure above the seated figure of Re--yet he called it the sun! There just isn't anything in the crude Facsimile to indicate that these circles represented the cosmos in yonder space, therefore, the prophet Joseph Smith hit a direct bull's-eye.

QUESTION NO. 4

Critic's Answer: He did so incorrectly. Egyptological explanation:

The spirit of four elements (according to Champollion), or rather of the four winds, or the four cardinal points; the soul of the terrestrial world. This god is always represented with four ram's heads, and his image has certainly been altered here. - They have also evidently made a very clumsy attempt at copying the double human head of the god figured below, fig. 2, instead of the four ram's heads. The word Jah-oh-eh has nothing Egyptian in it ; it resembles a Hebrew word badly transcribed.

My Rebuttal: The critic completely ignored the symbolism of the staff held in the hand of the god as well as other main attributes known about the creator god Khnum and with all the implications that go with this power. Also, it seems that the critic is convinced that we already know all there is to know about symbolism pertaining to Khnum and is in a snit about how Joseph Smith recreated the missing ram heads which were missing on the broken papyrus as if they have to be restored exactly as they originally were drawn in order to validate Joseph Smith's handiwork--assuming of course the original had four heads and not two. I have seen a similar Hypocephalus showing Khnum having two heads as depicted in the LDS Facsimile. The critic seems to be under the impression that Joseph Smith's interpretation is incorrect because the prophet didn't mention some things that are known by modern Egyptology and then goes on to reveal things that are not known by modern Egyptology. Where is the logic in that?

Finally, the critic points out that the word Jah-oh-eh has Hebrew roots to it and I will admit that it is not in any Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionary that I know of, but this absence of evidence does not dismiss Joseph Smith's case out of hand. We just don't know all the verbal connections that were used between Abraham and the Egyptian priests as they communicated about things pertaining to astronomy. According to Josephus Abraham was an auditor of Egyptian priests and reasoned with the Egyptians about religion and discussed the science of arithmetic and astronomy. The Genesis Apocryphon tells us that Abraham was in Egypt for seven years. I think it is outright foolish to reject the word Jah-oh-eh as not having been in Egyptian circles.

QUESTION NO. 5

Critic's Answer: He did so incorrectly. Egyptological explanation: The Hebrew word Roki'a, expansuna, solidum, ecalum, firmamentum, besides being badly described, has no relation whatever to this figure, which represents a mummified hawk, called in Egyptian Ah'em. It is the symbol of the divine repose of death; its extended wings have reference to the resurrection.

My Rebuttal: The critic ignored the original question, went out on a tangent, and failed to acknowledge the connection between the flying bark and the expanse of heaven as explained by Joseph Smith and retold by Egyptologists. The explanation of the numerical value of 1,000 stands firm and has been positively confirmed in the Egyptian language. The critic can't refute this startling revelation given by the prophet Joseph Smith so the question was completely ignored.

QUESTION NO. 6

Critic's Answer: Joseph Smith's explanation of Facsimile No. 2, Figure 3 are incorrect. Joseph Smith failed to even correctly identify the Egyptian God Ra. In Figure 3, Egyptologists immediately recognize the well-known scene of the hawk-headed god Ra (or Re) with a sun disk on his head. A sun god, Ra is sitting in his solar bark. In Egyptian idolatry, the sun was thought to die and be reborn each day. Ra represents the sun in its daily journey across the firmament, a death, rebirth and resurrection cycle.

 

My Rebuttal: I appreciated the critic's description of Re's journey through space and his direct affiliation with the sun. But, how on earth the critic ignores that Joseph Smith identified the person as Re is beyond me. The prophet Joseph Smith revealed that the man-figure on the solar bark, "IS MADE TO REPRESENT GOD SITTING UPON HIS THRONE" and Joseph Smith correctly identifies this god as Re by noting the crown of eternal light upon his head. The critic seems to suggest that just because Joseph Smith didn't spell out the name RE, this somehow makes his answer incorrect. We can plainly see that the prophet revealed the figure to be GOD and that the SUN is his crown. Furthermore, the only god in the Egyptian pantheon to ride the divine solar bark with a crown above his head is Re himself. That's another bull's-eye for Joseph Smith!

The critic completely ignored the original question. Joseph Smith demonstrated that Re is indeed associated with the words: God, power, authority, and that the Sacred Eye is in his head by which all things are revealed. Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!

QUESTION NO. 7

Critic's Answer: He did so incorrectly. Egyptological explanation: Ammon-Ra, with two human heads, meant probably to represent both the invisible or mysterious principle of Ammon, and the visible or luminous principle of Ra, the sun; or else the double and simultaneous principle of father and son; which characterizes divinity in the religion of ancient Egypt. - The word Oliblish is no more Egyptian than those already met with, nor than those which are to be found in the Mormon  explanation.

My Rebuttal: Again, I appreciate the critic's additional insight about the gods of ancient Egypt but noticed that the critic again ignored the original question and this is beginning to be a habit. Just because Joseph Smith didn't define all the parameters of what is in the picture is no reason to discount what has been given in the inspired interpretation. The explanation given by Joseph Smith about the key of power as it relates to Anubis and the resurrection is as much a part of the Egyptian religion as is the explanation given by the critic about Amen-Re. Joseph Smith did in fact recognize the figure of Amen-Re when he said in the explanation of figure 2, "where GOD resides; holding the key of power"; and this most certainly describes Amen-Re.

With regard to the Egyptian language it can't be proved that the word Oliblish was not used by the Egyptians in ancient times. There certainly is reason to believe it was when considering how accurate Joseph Smith was with the rest of  his explanations.

QUESTION NO. 8

Critic's Answer: No self-respecting Egyptologist would concede that the altar was "Abraham's altar". The claim is simply false

 

My Rebuttal: The critic is being less than honest by ignoring content in the original question and then appealing to authority to bolster a denial. The original question said that the prophet, figuratively included Abraham's altar in the explanation, thus the altar on the papyrus is a representation of the altar  in the story of the Book of Abraham (Abr 2:17,20). The critic made no concession whatsoever in recognizing that it might be more than coincidental that there was an altar of any kind in the figure which hardly an untrained eye would catch, let alone Joseph Smith's.

QUESTION NO. 9

Critic's Answer: He did so incorrectly. Here is what Randy Jordan has to say on the subject: Facsimile No. 2, figure 7, depicts the Egyptian god Min as an ithyphallic (erect penis) figure. Even Mormon scholar Michael Rhodes identified Min and his erect penis: "(Figure) 7: A seated ithyphallic god with a hawk's tail.....The seated god  is clearly a form of Min, the god of the regenerative, procreative forces of nature.....The procreative forces, receiving unusual accentuation throughout the representation, may stand for many divine regenerative powers....." (BYU Studies, Spring 1977, p. 273).

The infamous Mormon-paid apologist "R. C. Webb", (who for some reason declined to use his real name J. C. Homans), interpreted figure 7 as did Rhodes, in his book "Joseph Smith As A Translator," in 1936:

"The group shown in the common run of hypocephali is evidently entirely phallic, the seated figure being usually identified with the dual god, Horus-Min......he becomes identified with the creative principle of nature, or the universal generative power typified in phallic symbols.....To the Egyptian artist, the symbol of creative power is the phallic symbol."

Hugh Nibley also wrote of the god Min: "As the supreme sex symbol of gods and men, Min behaves with shocking promiscuity....he is everywhere represented as indulging in incestuous relationships with those of his immediate family....(he was) literally the Bull of his mother." (Abraham in Egypt, 1981, pp. 210- 211).

To repeat, Joseph Smith identified this same Egyptian pagan god Min as "God" sitting upon His throne," which is laughable. The LDS Church's 'Times and Seasons' of 1842 printed Facsimile No. 2, clearly showing the erect penis of Min, and the facsimile was published in England in 1851 intact. However, in the LDS Church's 1878 publication of that facsimile, the erect penis suddenly disappeared---then it reappeared in an 1891 edition---then in its 1907 edition, the penis was again gone! It seems that the LDS Church alternately inserted and removed Min's penis from edition to edition. Various Mormons responsible for the publications probably were embarrassed at having an obvious erect penis in their book of 'scripture', so they apparently removed it in several editions. In the church's latest 1982 edition of the Book of Abraham, Min's penis is restored----for which I'm sure he is eternally grateful.

My Rebuttal: First of all, I want to point out that the critic totally ignored the original question and than blatantly digressed by going off on a tangent that had nothing to do with the point of the original question which said, "If Joseph Smith was NOT inspired; how do you explain away the fact that the prophet said the figure in Facsimile No. 2 Figure 7, REPRESENTS GOD sitting upon his throne when any non-specialist could easily guess and say the figure was a king or perhaps a high official, or even a seated farmer taking a rest on a square box behind the animals?"

Yes, the god in the picture is the Egyptian Min and Joseph Smith used him to represent the true and living God. I have no problem with God having a penis and if anyone in the LDS church has a problem with that, all I can say is that is their problem and not mine. The point of my question was that the figure was an image of God (Egyptian god) and not a king or some other lesser person. It is readily apparent to me that the critic's answer is a ploy and a coward's attempt to cover up Joseph Smith's success!

The fact that this Person is God sitting upon his throne as confirmed by the prophet Joseph Smith is a direct bull's-eye! It's not a courtier of the king and is not a member of the royal family, nor is it a high official or the king himself for that matter; It is GOD! All the gods including the Ennead of Egyptian mythology are rolled up into one Godhead as modern Egyptology is now just beginning to understand.

Mormons believe in a God that sees, hears, walks, talks, and is able to create new life by way of a heavenly Mother. Man is made in the image of God. We believe this exactly as taught in the Bible. God is able to do his own work and we do not deny that he has a body of flesh and bones as the apostles saw in Jesus when he showed himself to them. Jesus is in the image of God and so also is man.

The critic brings up Min's penis as if it was so easy to recognize that it might even make the cover of Playgirl! How could Joseph Smith or any other westerner in the 1830's recognize this misaligned extension as a penis? The critic probably didn't even know it was a penis until after reading anti-Mormon garbage; so why all the fuss?

The representation is spiritual in nature and whether it be the Bible's John the Revelator or Joseph Smith who said the image "Represents God sitting upon his throne", it is the same. John the Revelator saw Christ as a Lamb and Joseph Smith as a Man. Who was more accurate?  The Egyptian god is a fair representation of the true God of the Bible who sees, walks, talks, and eats--all these attributes are clearly expressed in the Old Testament of the Bible. Then comes the New Testament--we see Jesus!  He is a Man; and Guess what?  I'll bet all the gold in Fort Knox that he too had a penis! Therefore, the resurrected Jesus is Min.

I'm not going to deny Dr Nibley's research about dastardly legends, myths, and folklore respecting Egypt's fertility god, par excellence. Min was an ithyphallic god who marked the sphere of potent fertility. Egyptians who spoiled Min's reputation by making up stories were an utter shame. Those stories of ancient pornography have nothing to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--there is no grace or virtue in abominations. Nevertheless, Min was the standing figure of male potency--supreme--a creator God who is in the very image of the anthropomorphic God of the Bible!

The title Ka-mut-ef (bull of thy mother) is not necessarily a bad thing and the god Amen-Re also had this title even though we don't see his phallus in Egyptian iconography. However, sick minds, whether ancient or modern, can make simple innocent things less than desirable. Jesus is nothing like the corrupt version of Min made up in the myths of Egyptian history. I believe that Jesus when he came to earth had a physical body. I believe the mortal Jesus was undoubtedly fertile and capable of fathering children. I assert that the resurrected Lord Jesus has a glorified body of flesh and bone--including a penis. Finally, I assert that the Lord is fertile today and that he is able to procreate with a woman and bear children forever.

Also to note, the western world back in the 1830's could hardly have recognized the square stool as a royal/divine throne! Today, people might take this knowledge for granted because there is so much Egyptian artwork, statuary, and expert commentary on the subject available to the general public. There is nothing in the framework of figure 7 that would give anyone in the 1830's who is untrained in Egyptian art the idea that this was a divine throne. I stress that point very hard and my original Question No. 9 still remains unanswered by the critic.

QUESTION NO. 10

Critic's Answer: He didn't correctly identify the mystic cow. Egyptological explanation: The mystic cow, the great cow, symbolizing the inferior hemisphere of the heavens. It is called the virgin cow at ch. 162 of the funerary ritual, which, particularly enjoins that its image be painted on the hypocephalus, and another image of it in gold on the throat of the defunct. It is the form of Hathor, who figures on several monuments under the name of noub, gold. Behind the cow is a goddess, whose head, represented by a mystic eye in a disk, is incorrectly copied.

My Rebuttal: I appreciate the critic's note about the Hathor Cow but I can see that my original question as well as the Egyptian religion as a whole is way over the critic's head. The critic should find it absolutely amazing if not a sign from God that Joseph Smith rightly identified the Star Cow with that of the sun and the cosmos in yonder heavens. Chapter 17 of the Papyrus of Ani (Book of the Dead) says, "I have seen the sun-god who was born yesterday from the buttocks of the Celestial Cow...It is the image of the Eye of Re on the morning of its daily birth. As for the Celestial Cow, she is the Sacred Eye of Re" (Translate by Dr. Faulkner).

Had Joseph Smith said the cow was a simple barnyard animal that belonged to the dead owner of the Hypocephalus to provide milk and meat in the netherworld, then the critic would have reason to complain about the interpretation of Joseph Smith which included information about the  revolutions of planets and stars in the universe-- which are somehow tied to the power of the Cow seen in the picture. Egyptologist Barbara Watterson in her book Gods of Ancient Egypt; p. 113 said:

"The Egyptians thought of her as a gigantic cow which straddled the earth, her legs, marking the four cardinal points. Between her horns she carried the sun's disk; her belly was the sky, her hide and udders were the stars and planets."

QUESTION NO. 11

Critic's Answer: He failed to correctly identify the God Ra. Scepters are symbols of dominion and power in many cultures. It's no shock to think that Joseph Smith was aware of this. Also note that the Egyptian God, Ra, has nothing to do with Adam, Seth, Noah, or Abraham. They are from a very separate and distinct theology.

My Rebuttal: It is astonishing that the critic refuses to give Joseph Smith any credit even though he accurately identified the seated figure as God. I'm sure had the prophet wrote the name of Re in the explanation the critic would still not give the prophet his just due and would complain about the rest of the explanation that is currently unknown to Egyptologists today. The critic seems to think that the absence of evidence is proof that something never existed in ancient times. Frankly, I see the things Joseph Smith got right as evidence of true underpinning for the complete explanation  given by the prophet.

The critic wants us to think it was easy for Joseph Smith to conclude that the figure sitting on a box-like seat holding a staff in his hand was an Egyptian god. How hardly! It's not reasonable to even think that Joseph Smith or any of his companions in the 1830's would have knowledge of what Egyptian gods looked like on sketchy papyrus while all the while European scholars were just starting to decipher the written language. At most, the critic could call it a lucky guess and would be justified in raising concerns only if the figure had been identified as anyone less than a god.

QUESTION NO. 12

Critic's Answer: Joseph Smith DIDN'T get his "translation" right. The fact of the matter is that Joseph Smith completely botched his translation of the Facsimiles. The only "explaining away" that has been done, is by Mormon apologists. And they haven't done a very good job of it. Unless you consider "speculating their way out of it" to be a valid argument.

My Rebuttal: Joseph Smith got many things right on a conventional level as I have demonstrated on my web site and that is a miraculous sign to all the world that a farmer from New York was inspired by God. Had the Hypocephalus been interpreted by any other farmer or unschooled person they would not have been able to pass the test as Joseph Smith did and the Book of Abraham would never have been restored.

Mormon apologetics of the so-called controversies of the Joseph Smith Papyrus is an ongoing process and I am all too glad to make my contribution to the cause.

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