Resurrection 3000-4000 B.C. And The Old Testament -- By: Howard Osgood
BSac 59:235 (July 1902) p. 409
Resurrection 3000-4000 B.C. And The Old Testament1
Old as the history of man is the outstanding, clear, indubitable belief in resurrection, in a life beyond death, where man does not lose his identity, but, body and soul reunited, lives forever in happiness or pain. Every tomb in Egypt from the first bears witness to it. That belief was the main topic of their largest writings. It was the chief doctrine of their religion and the absorbing thought of men. They were ready with lavish wealth to build for a single person tombs of dimensions unheard of to-day in
BSac 59:235 (July 1902) p. 410
any land and to hide the body a hundred and more feet beneath the earth, or to raise, as with arms of giants, the numerous pyramids and seal them to endure as long as the earth. They preserved the body with a care that called to its aid all the skill of the physicians and priests, and adorned the coverings of the body as well as the rooms and halls of the tombs with a refined art that is the astonishment of the present day. Tender care, and skill, and art, and learning, and uncounted wealth,—all tell one clear story, the belief in the future eternal life with their gods. Egyptian priests and people of the earliest history would join heartily with the Christian Latin poet in his English form: —
“Here brief is the sighing,
And brief is the crying;
For brief is the life.
The life there is endless,
The joy there is endless,
And ended the strife.”
These facts are too well known from the monuments and from the numerous writings of the foremost Egyptologists of many lands to need more than mention. They are
BSac 59:235 (July 1902) p. 411
indisputable for rational observers. But the security of the facts incites a search for their basis,—the ideas, the doctrines, which held imperial sway over this enlightened people from the dawn of human history.
The Book of the Dead is not a funeral service on earth for the dead. Not a word of it is to be spoken on earth. It is a collection of word-charms, of magic incantations and prayers, to be used after death by the departed. The first death was the separation of soul from body, to which all men were subject. The second death was the terror, to be devoured by the serpent, the ruler of the lower world of darkness, or cut to pieces by angry gods or cast into lakes of fire. These word-charms will enable the deceased to escape all these terrors, to be reunited body and soul, to gain the fields of the blessed, to be made like to the gods, to eat of the tree of life, to live eternally.
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