Ezekiel 48 – The Division of the Land & Ancient Man’s Cults, Sects, and Religions:Hinduism

It is said that “Love conquers all.”  Jesus proved that to be true.

I can’t even imagine how hard life must of been for Jesus, not only because he was the only person that didn’t sin, but also with all those different Hindu deities, let alone all those false gods like Baal, Asherah and the rest. 

How He must have felt since He came down as Your son for the purpose of saving the world; letting everyone know of You, the only true God.

Since Jesus was a person just like us, He had the same feelings and emotions.  He wasn’t doing a great job of convincing people of the truth, well He was, but people are ignorant.  

I try and imagine how He must have felt?  Because even though He is who He is, while He was here He was one of us and probably felt like a failure, that He had let You down.

Aside from that, He was not looking forward to being crucified, who in their right mind would?  Jesus even told You He didn’t want to do it, but He did it.  He did it for You and mainly for us:

“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk 24:41-44).

I think most people that are into Hinduism, Buddhism, or whatever are involved with that cult there is no threat.  You are the only one that threatens to destroy us if we don’t walk with You.

Therefore, I think they have this idea that if they don’t believe in You then You can’t hurt them.  It’s kind of like when we were kids, if we couldn’t see something we didn’t believe it was there.

I know You are there and I thank You daily for all that You do, but I mostly thank You for forgiving my sins.  And I know my friend Curt does too because he was a horrible person until You answered the phone when he called.

This is the last chapter of Ezekiel so…

Ezekiel 48
The Division of the Land

1 Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazar-enan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east and west; a portion for Dan.

Krishna displays his Vishvarupa (Universal Form) to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

“Dan” – occupies its historical location as the northernmost tribe.  Dan was born to Rachel’s maidservant Bilhaha (Gen 35:25).

2 And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Asher.

“Asher” – born to Leah’s maidservant Zilpah (Gen 35:26).  The tribes descended from maidservants were placed farthest from the sanctuary.

3 And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Naphtali.

“Naphtali” – born to Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah.

4 And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Manasseh.

“Manasseh” – see note on 47:13.

5 And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Ephraim.

“Ephraim” – see note on 47:13.

6 And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Reuben.

Detail of the Phra Prang, the central tower of the Wat Arun (“Temple of Dawn”) in Bangkok, Thailand – showing Indra on his three-headed elephant Erawan (Airavata)

“Reuben” – Leah’s firstborn (Gen 29:31).

7 And by the border of Reuben, from he east side unto the west side, a portion for Judah.

“Judah” – son of Leah (Gen 35:23) he had the most prestigious place, bordering the central holy portion, because his robe was given the Messianic promise (Gen 49:8-12).

8 And by the border of Judah, from the east side unto the west side, shall be the offering which ye shall offer of five and twenty thousand reeds in breadth, and in length as one of the other parts, from the east side unto the west side: and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it.

9 The oblation that ye shall offer unto the LORD shall be of five and twenty thousand in length, and of ten thousand in breadth.

10 And for them, even for the priests, shall be this holy oblation; toward the north five and twenty thousand in length, and toward the west ten thousand in breadth, and toward the east ten thousand in breadth, and toward the south five and twenty thousand in length: and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the midst thereof.

11 It shall be for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge, which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray.

12 And this oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.

13 And over against the border of the priests the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth: all the length shall be five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand.

14 And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the first fruits of the land: for it is holy unto the LORD.

Krishna, the eighth incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu or Svayam bhagavan, worshiped across a number of traditions

15 And the five thousand, that are left in the breadth over against the five and twenty thousand, shall be a profane place for the city, for dwelling, and for suburbs: and the city shall be in the midst thereof.

16 And these shall be the measures thereof; the north side four thousand and five hundred, and the south side four thousand and five hundred, and on the east side four thousand and five hundred, and the west side four thousand and five hundred.

17 And the suburbs of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, and toward the south two hundred and fifty, and toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty.

18 And the residue in length over against the oblation of the holy portion shall be ten thousand eastward, and ten thousand westward: and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy portion; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city.

19 And they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel.

20 All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city.

21 And the residue shall be for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof.

A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation.

22 Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city, being in the midst of that which is the prince’s, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.

23 As for the rest of the tribes, from the east side unto the west side, Benjamin shall have a portion.

“Benjamin” – Rachel’s son (Gen 35:24).

24 And by the border of Benjamin, from the east side unto the west side, Simeon shall have a portion.

“Simeon” – Leah’s son (Gen 35:23).

25 And by the border of Simeon, from the east side unto the west side, Issachar a portion.

“Issachar” – Leah’s son (Gen 35:23).

26 And by the border of Issachar, from the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a portion.

The sacred Tulsi.

“Zebulun” – Leah’s son (Gen 35:23).

27 And by the border of Zebulun, from the east side unto the west side, Gad a portion.

“Gad” – son of Ziplah, Leah’s maid.

28 And by the border of Gad, at the south side southward, the border shall be even from Tamar unto the waters of strife in Kadesh, and to the river toward the great sea.

Gad was a son of Zilpah, a handmaiden of Jacob’s wife, Leah. In the Torah, Leah presents Zilpah to Jacob so that he may have more children, and then she raises those children as her own

29 This is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these are their portions, saith the Lord GOD.

30 And these are the goings out of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures.

31 And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.

“Reuben…Judah…Levi” – the three most influential tribes – Reuben, the firstborn; Judah, the Messianic tribe; Levi, the tribe of the priesthood – had gates together on the north side.  Since Levi was included in this list, Joseph represented Ephraim and Manasseh if order to keep the number at 12.  For the gates cf. Rev 21:12-14.

32 And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan.

33 And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun.

34 At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali.

35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

Ancient Man’s Cults, Sects, and Religions:
Hinduism

Among the oldest religions of the world, Hinduism provides an important theological background for many cults and sects that have arisen in the West in the recent past.  These include the Vedanta Society, Iskcon, Transcendental Meditation, the New Age Movement, individual personality cults like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and so on.

Mangal Mahadev, 108 feet statue of Lord Shiva at Ganga Talao, Mauritius

History

Philosophically and foundationally, the essence of Hinduism is that all reality is one and that all of the diversity in the cosmos is ultimately reduced to a monism.

Hinduism in present-day India and the diaspora is traced back to three influences. The first is the Indo- European, dating from c. 1500 B.C.-500 B.C. These Aryan peoples, coming from the steppes of Russia and Central Asia, swept the Indian peninsula, bringing with them their religion known as Vedism.

The second influence came from neighboring Iranian tribes, whose native languages were mingled with the Sanskrit language of the Aryan invaders.

The third influence came from the religious ideas endemic to India itself.

Hindu history is generally divided into four periods. A pre-Vedic period dating back as far as 3000 B.C.- 1500 B.C. featured animism, practiced by the natives of the Indus Valley. Here, the Harappa culture developed the cult of the goddess and the bull.

The greatest contribution of this period is the many artifacts left behind that have enabled archaeologists to piece together its basic history.

The second period, the Vedic, was marked, as already stated, by the Aryan invasions. But unlike the pre-Vedic period, the Vedic did not produce a vast storehouse of material artifacts. Its greatest treasure was its literary contribution, the Rigveda.

Its 1,028 hymns were composed over several centuries. This period is the one in which the intense polytheism of Hinduism underwent its greatest development. Another important aspect of modem Hindu life, the caste system, emerged during this period.

The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Delhi, according the Guinness World Records is the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple

This system of classifying individuals into castes is vocational and related to skin color. The Rigveda speaks of five social castes:

(1) The brahmins—the priestly-scholarly caste;

(2) The ksha- triyas—the warrior-soldier caste;

(3) The vaishyas— the agricultural and merchant caste;

(4) The sudras— the peasant and servant caste;

(5) The hariyan—the outcasts or “untouchables.

Over time these castes underwent thousands of subdivisions. The top of the social scale remains the brahmins, while the very bottom is still the “untouchables.” Untouchables were regarded as less than human and were treated as such.

Even though Mahatma Gandhi succeeded in enacting social reform to outlaw “untouchability” in 1949, psychologically and spiritually it is still embraced in villages in India, especially in southern India.

The third period of Hindu history is called Upanishad period, which began around 700 B.C. Upanishad means literally “to sit at the feet of.” It was during this phase that Hinduism underwent its greatest transformation toward what it is today.

The “this-worldly” character of the Vedic period with its superhuman deities was transformed into an “other-worldly” orientation. Asceticism and the doctrine of reincarnation were developed in this period, as was the rise of the teacher/student or guru/disciple relationship on an intensely spiritual level.

Those released from the cycle of rebirth (moksha) instructed others in the disciplines necessary to undergo good karma in order to receive total enlightenment themselves.

The Upanishad period was a time of rebellion against the rituals of the Vedic era. Devotees willingly forsook the authority of the brahmins to follow a guru who could show the way out of rebirth (Isamsara).

Sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet is regarded as the spiritual abode of Lord Shiva.

Gautama Buddha is a prime example of a nonorthodox ascetic who could instruct one in the path of enlightenment. His path led to the major world religion of Buddhism. The third century B.C. saw the spread of Buddhism in India through the influence of the Mauryan ruler Asoka, who also maintained a favorable attitude toward Hinduism.

The fourth era of Hindu history began approximately in the 2nd century B.C. and went on through the 2nd century A.D. During this time, the Vedanic texts underwent a revival. The god, Brahma, rose to a place of hegemony over the lesser gods.

However, a more significant god, Lord Krishna, one of 10 incarnations of Vishnu, becomes the dominant deity of Hinduism. Also, the god Siva—the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe—became the third important deity referred to in Hindu lore at this time.

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most popular of all Hindu texts. The poem is a prolonged discourse between the warrior Arjuna and his charioteer, Krishna. 

Arjuna decides not to kill his own kinsmen in battle, whereon Krishna proceeds to exhort him to forsake personal feelings and do what is right (dharma).  The overarching motif in the Bhagavad Gita is intense spiritual devotion, an idea most prevalent in Hinduism to this day.

Hinduism and its counterpart, Buddhism, went on to make a tremendous impact in Asia, while Christianity transformed the West. In the 4th through the 8th centuries A.D., a popularization of Hinduism took place in the writings known as the Puranas.

The Rigveda is one of the oldest religious texts. This Rigveda manuscript is in Devanagari

They comprise an anthology of Hindu literature, summarizing the three gods of the Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, as well as all of the major ideas of the religion. The Puranas became the text of the common people.

The 1st centuries A.D. also saw the development of multiplicity of cults and sects exalting various deities, including Shakti, the mother goddess; Skanda, the son of Sava; Surya, the sun god; Lakshmi, goddess of fortune and consort of Vishnu; and hundreds of others.

The paradox of Hinduism was its ability to adapt itself to a mass polytheism while simultaneously advancing monotheistic tendencies.

Teachings

A brief examination of key facets of Hindu doctrine accompanied by comparisons to Christianity.

God

The heart of Hinduism lies in its conception of God, reality, and humankind’s relationship and affinity to that reality. Its fundamental conception is that Brahman is the all-encompassing principle of intimacy. It is a manifested in all creation, both animate and inanimate, as a lower vibration of the ultimate higher spirit Brahman.

Creation

Christianity teaches that God created the world ex nihilo (“out of nothing”).  An oft-repeated aphorism from the Sanskrit captures the contrast of Hinduism: navastuno vastusiddhih (“out of nothing nothing can come”). A helpful illustration of how the Hindu views God’s involvement in creation was provided by a Christian missionary to India, S. H. Kellogg.

If I go into a dark room and see a rope which I mistake for a snake, the rope is the cause of the appearance of that snake; even so, when I see the world, which seems to everyone to be other than God, yet is really That One, I must say that God is the cause of what appears to me to be a world.

Karma, Reincarnation, and Salvation

Temple carving at Hoysaleswara temple representing the Trimurti: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

The central loci of Hindu thought are the doctrines of atman, Brahman, and karma. Karma is the law of retributive justice, whereby one’s actions and deeds result in release (moksha) from a previous birth to a higher or lower rebirth in the cycle of reincarnation, depending on deeds done in a previous existence.

The soul (atman) is caught up in this wandering process (samsara), the end of which results in atman and Brahman becoming identified. Continuous bad karma results in rebirth into lower life-forms.

The devout Hindu works toward the escape from rebirth, while the Christian seeks the rebirth.

Conclusion

Eighty percent of the Hindu population in the world are Vaishvavites, while the remainder are members of Hindu reform movements or neo-Hindu sects, the most important of them being the arya-samaj.

The influence of Hinduism in the West, particularly in America, was far-reaching during the 20th century and on into the 21st.  Americans continue to explore and embrace the ideals of this fascinating religion in a variety of expressions especially adapted to the West. 

…we’ll go into the Book of Daniel, which talks a lot about the end of the world.