01 September 2012

Review: Who or What was the Ancient of Days


Who or What was the Ancient of Days
Who or What was the Ancient of Days by Jerry Wayne Bernard

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



Okay, before getting to the meat of the review of the writing, I'd like to discuss the actual manufacturing of the book. It is self published, with a cover price of $29.95, with 264 pages on a fairly thick stock paper, with the width of the pages being only a tad over 5" wide. This makes for a tougher than average read, since the page width makes the pages stiff and harder to open the book wide enough for comfortable reading. It really should have been printed on a standard 6" width. On top of the that, the font size is way to large (unless a large print book was intended), and a reduction to a more standard sized font, as well as increased page width, would have made this book probably half as many pages, with a great reduction in list price and better readability. Okay, enough criticism on that, now to the meat of the book.

I was a bit taken back to find the content from this Christian author. He attempts to glean understanding of the Hebrew Scripture stories using the Zohar (a foundational work of writings from the Jewish mystical Kabbalah teachings). The Zohar is said to have been written by a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution who, according to Jewish legend, hid in a cave for thirteen years studying the Torah and was inspired by the Prophet Elijah to write the Zohar. So, a man, in a cave, being spoken to by a supposed spiritual being - how is this different from the book of Mormon (I think to myself)?

The whole first few chapters of the book shockingly seem to attack the early biblical stories, claiming they are in fact just a echoing of the older Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian writings, and that many of their understandings and names of gods crossed over and became "the sum and substance for the Genesis account of the creation story" (pg. 27) as well as other parts of the Hebrew teachings. This is not a fairly uncommon view, but many good books have been written on this topic, such as Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible by John H. Walton which I read a year or so ago.

He sets forth a story of how each nation of the ancient world had a ruling, real living deity that was in a temple and consumed food. In time "one arose above the pantheon of all other gods and chose Abram and his descendents as the people to worship him alone, forsaking all other gods" (pg. 46). From there is goes on explaining certain Scripture ideas in light of the Zohar and these ancient writings.

For the most part, Bernard is echoing the understanding he has read in the book [b:The Manna Machine|966258|The Manna Machine|George Sassoon|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nocover/60x80.png|951155]. This books sets forth the teaching that, based on a close examination of the Zohar, they feel the "Ancient of days" is not "an ominous god-figure, but rather a machine," being "probably of extraterrestrial origin" (pg. 218). Now, while Bernard never seems to cross the line and speak of space aliens, he refers to these other word beings as angels. The machine, which was supposedly actually built by the authors of the aforementioned book by following the Zohar description, is one that receives in dew, and through a process fueled by a nuclear core, turns that into a life giving algae based food that sustained the Israelites for the 40 years in the wilderness. The machine bellowed forth smoke all day (cloud by day) and a bright light from it's nuclear core (fire by night) that led the people during their trek.

It was because of the high levels of radiation that this machine put off, that it was required to be kept at a safe distance from the people and camp at all times, as well as a reason why some people died when they got too close or touched it (deadly radiation). The machines did not produce manna on the Sabbath, because that was the day the priests had to clean and lubricate the machine. The priests had a special secret knowledge of the machine, and because this secret knowledge was lost over the years, that is why in later years - David's era - when David tried to bring the workings of the Ancient of Days (also known as an ark) back to unite the people, it did not work, and instead, he received radiation poisoning (Psalms 38 through 41, but specifically 38:5-7).

Unfortunately, Bernard makes many wild and assumptive statements followed by large jumps in reasoning and thought, causing many odd conclusions throughout this book. In the end, if believed, this would do much damage to the orthodox historical understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. Now, while I fully understand and agree that many false understandings exist in modern theology camps in regards to Hebrew thoughts and teachings, I do not believe that Bernard makes his case for this being an accurate or acceptable biblical view; and I doubt any other Christian scholars would come to his conclusions on this matter.



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