Restoration EvidencesDead Sea Scroll

Restoration Evidences is a multidenominational and multicultural educational project to build a database of ancient manuscript quotes that provide evidence that we are all children of God and that he has given us a wonderful gift. Kokena is gathering books by ancient-document scholars and creating video summaries of these books and related topics.

Please visit the website of this project RestorationEvidences.com for more information.  We plan to continue adding more quotes and providing document and video summaries.

Here is some information to give you a brief introduction:



Common Principles

The quotes from ancient-document scholars on the Restoration Evidences website center around the common theme of “God's Gift”.  These quotes provide evidence for common principles that are found among many ancient manuscripts and historical cultures.  For example, we see these common themes:

1. A war occurred in heaven between the children of God and continues on this earth.
2. We can choose to be on God's side of the war.
3. A Redeemer was chosen before the earth was formed.
4. Eternal life involves an enlightenment of the knowledge of God.
5. Eternal life was promised to us before the world began.
6. Eternal life is enabled by a Redeemer.
7. God has repeatedly revealed this gift to His children at various times and places.

 

Ancient Manuscript SourcesNag Hammadi

As if destined to be discovered around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, several major manuscript discoveries occurred in the 1940s.  The Dead Sea Scrolls (ancient Jewish manuscripts) and the Nag Hammadi Library (early Christian books) had a dramatic impact on the historical perspective of the principles taught around  the time of Christ.  Even Lady Drower was working with the Mandaeans in Iraq at that time.  We present here some links to more information on these sources as well as other primary sources used in this database.

 

Summaries

Various scholars have summarized general principles found common among many ancient manuscripts and historical cultures.  These principles can help us restore "God's Gift". Here is a summary from Frederick Borsch who was the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles from 1988 to 2002.

 

 

Borsch (The Son of Man in Myth and History)

When studying the “Son of Man” concept, Frederick Borsch discovers that he is “dealing with a powerful and persistent idea which seemed capable of manifesting itself in various ways and strongly affecting the hopes and beliefs of men in different cultures and times.” (p. 87) 

Borsch states that, “we find ourselves increasingly appreciative of the work of a number of scholars who have sought to find certain degrees of commensuration between the kingship ideologies of several Near Eastern cultures over a period of many centuries.  Although these scholars are never in perfect agreement with one another, they do tend to point to many of the same themes and practices, and, in many cases , even to the same patterns for these beliefs and rites.” (p. 91)

Here is a list of the beliefs and patterns that he found (proceeded by page number):

59   Sethians:  Father of All, produced a son – a second Man; from a feminine spirit was born the Christ

60   Poimandre::  Father gave birth to a man like himself; we need to recognize our essential divine nature

62   Bruce Codex: creator, image of the father, wears crowns, his followers wear crowns, 12 surround him

64   Nag Hammadi:  immortal Man unites with Sophia and begets the Son of Man, image reflected in waters

65   Nag Hammadi, Manichaenism, Mandeanism had common ideas indicating prior general influence

66   Manichaenism:  begotten by the King of Lights, battles Satan, becomes savior so we can ascend

68   China, Scandanavia: figures bearing resemblance to Son of Man myth located in distant places and times

74   Widengen summary:  tracing Manichaenism, Mandeanism, Gnostism to even older Babylonian myths

85   Mowinckel summary:  compiles lengthy lists comparing Athropos (from Iran) to Son of Man, common roots

86   Moulton summary: did Jesus have access to a public library in Nazareth containing these myths?

87   Borsch summary:  a persistent idea, affecting hopes and beliefs in different cultures at different times

95   Near eastern rites:  temple upon a mountain, anointed, holy garment, crown, initiated, secrets

96   Near eastern rites:  given wisdom, sit on throne of the god, sacred marriage, tree of life, cycle repeats itself

149   I Enoch:  description of God the Father and the Son, with white hair and appearance of a man

150   I Enoch:  young god coming to the throne of the old god, named before creation, light of the Gentiles

164   Testament of Levi:  white raiment, robe of priesthood, garment, anointed, washed, server as priest to God

184   Naaseans:  Adam like God, ceremony takes place in heavenly realms, a rite to become a royal god

186   Valentinianism:  baptisms, anointed with oil, bridal hut, initiation, secrets revealed, become kings

210   Mandaeans: baptism, the terrestrial ceremony involves a celestial reality, washed and anointed

211   Mandaeans: signed with name of divinity, sacred meal, invested, crowned, hands laid on, ritual handclasp

212   Mandaeans: symbol of creation, heavenly temple, crowning of kings, spiritual sacred marriages

213   Mandaeans: Adam crowned and anointed, father of all other kings and priests, story of creation

217   Syrian church: ascent of soul, purifications, immersion, bridal chamber, anointing, partaking of tree of life

220   Dead Sea Scrolls: white robe, crown of glory, priesthood everlasting, holy of holies, glory of His name

407   Borsch:  sharp challenge to Christian orthodoxy, Son of Man (Jesus) not an incarnation

408   Borsch:  testimony of a personal relationship with God by understanding his human-likeness

 

 

To get a feeling for some of the details in these related principles, consider the following quotes associated with some of the pages listed above.

 

“There follows the enthronement of the king, emulating the enthronement of the king-god in heaven.  (Usually this was, of course, performed in the temple of the city-state either built like or actually set upon a mountain or hill….)  The king is anointed.  The holy garment is put on him together with the crown and other royal regalia.  He is said to be radiant, to shine like the sun just as does the king-god.  His is initiated into heavenly secrets and given wisdom (p. 95) 

 

“The final stage is one of great rejoicing … the sacred marriage with a woman who  was herself regarded as a representative  of the goddess, wife of the king-god. …  It is the beginning of creation all over again, and the king is the First Man and ruler restored, the father of his people.  The cycle is ready to repeat itself. … During the course of these rites the … creation story was twice recited. (p.96)

 

And  “other Mesopotamian royal texts … tell of the king or the god being washed by that which is evidently regarded as the water of life.” (p. 99)   

 

These Near Eastern texts go back before the time of Christ.  After the time of Christ, we find that “Mandaeanism, Manichaeanism and several forms of gnostic religion are related to one another and do have some roots which in one way or another reach back into common conceptions and beliefs.” (p.75) 

 

Borsch also points out that in "several of his books G. Widengren has attempted to trace the Man myth and other related ideas back to more primitive forms.  Behind Manicheanism, Mandeanism and Christian gnosis we find a common religious language based on old Babylonian myths.  From this source issues the picture of the defeated saviour who yet becomes the victor over the powers of evil.  (p. 74)

 

One of the summaries of the Son of Man myth was extracted by Borsch from the Enoch literature (I Enoch 46) as:

And there I saw One who had a head of days,

And His head was white like wool,

And with Him was another being whose countenance had the appearance of a man.

And his face was full of graciousness, …

This is that Son of Man who hath righteousness,

With whom righteousness dwelleth,

And who revealeth all the treasures that are hidden,

Because the Lord of Spirits hath chosen him,   (p 149)

 

Furthermore, the Son of Man (the Elect One) was “also a judge who sits on a throne, and his throne is identified as the very throne of God himself.  This last idea is hard to account for unless, perhaps, we reach back to the ancient conception of the young  god coming to the throne of the old god. “ (p 150)

 

“Next we may read in I Enoch 48.2ff.:

And at that hour that Son of Man was named

In the presence of the Lord of Spirits,

And his name before the Head of Days,

Yea, before the sun and the signs were created,

Before the stars of heaven were made,

His name was named before the Lord of Spirits.

He shall be the staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall,

 

Borsch submits the following hypothesis:  “On the basis of this evidence and these interpretations our general conclusion and hypothesis cannot come as a surprise.  We hold that there are now many good reasons for believing that there were extant during the first century AD and probably for some time earlier a number of Jewish-oriented sects which practiced forms of baptism as an ordination/coronation rite and which were likely open to at least a measure of foreign (or simple indigenous but non-Jewish) influences.  Even our evidence from the second century or later points consistently back to this area and this time.  It is also our contention that for a number of these groups, and often in connection with their baptismal rites, speculation about or belief in the Man (in one or more of his guises) had a significant role to play.” (p. 218)

 

At the end of his book, Borsch concludes that “embedded in this story, there would seem to be a sharp challenge for Christian orthodoxy, for the myth of the Man, as we believe it was understood by Jesus, does not concern itself with one who comes down from heaven to incarnate himself as the Man upon earth.  The divine Man is a heavenly figure, and the Man on earth only himself becomes divine in a qualified sense through his adoption.  …   There is little doubt but that it puts us back into the circumstances of the early Christian communities with their astounding experiences of this Jesus as one still living and with their adoptionist faith that God had exalted him to be the heavenly Lord."  (p 407)

 

Borsch then concludes his book with his witness of our relationship with Heavenly Father:

While this remains a matter for experience and faith and the subject of a mystery whose meaning we are only beginning to fathom in this life, there may be a semblance of its truth which ancient myth forms can even now be made to reveal.    They tell us that men were made in the Image of God, that men were created so that they bore a degree of likeness to the intelligent, creative and loving Being who caused them to come into existence.  If this be so, there must be a way it which it is true to say, however guardedly, that an aspect of the infinite and well-nigh unknowable God is human-like.  It would be that aspect of his Being through which he created us and in terms of which he relates to us. (p. 408)