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Joseph Smith:

“Represents this earth in its four quarters.”

“The four quarters of the earth.”

Sons Of Horus

Earth’s Four Quarters – These four figures are the four sons of Horus, which represent the earth’s four quarters. Of course, nobody knew it in Joseph Smith’s day, yet he correctly interpreted these figures as “earth in its four quarters.” Due to the brevity of Joseph Smith’s explanation for this figure, skeptics have a hard time spinning the fact that he got it 100% correct, and when you bring it up they which usually shift the issue to some other Figure to nit-pick. If they talk about it at all, they shift words around to make it sound as different as they can.

Association With Facsimile 1 – I don’t see how Joseph Smith or anyone could have overlooked the similarity of these four figures and the funeral vases in Facsimile 1. There is a hawk, ape, jackal, and man all standing in the exact same order as in Facsimile 1, facing the same direction in the same line. Joseph Smith clearly was aware that they represent directions as he explained Facsimile 1, and yet with Facsimile 1 Joseph Smith explained them to be idolatrous gods of various places. As I pointed out, each name Joseph Smith associated with them was located at a different quarter of the earth–north, south, east, and west. And each name described the character of that particular son of Horus. For example, he called the jackal god “the idolatrous god of Libnah”, which translates to “white,” which fits because the jackal god was lord of the “white lands” to the east.

In fact, the four sons of Horus show up in each of the three facsimiles. In Facsimile 3, they are referenced in the hieroglyphs at the bottom, which Joseph Smith made sure to include: “O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west, and east…”

In Facsimile 1 the sons of Horus play a unique role as “powerful protectors” for the dead, which is probably why Joseph Smith talked about each one individually instead of all-together like in Facsimile 2. In Facsimile 2 they act altogether as a unit, but in Facsimile 1 they each have a unique aspect. They supported the king in his effort to regain life and kingship in the Sed Festival resurrection ritual. The Egyptians associated the four sons of Horus with four specific earthly kingdoms and four races of mankind. These four kingdoms were located in their respective general directions, under the authority of Egypt. Four priests representing the four sons of Horus carried the king on his bed to the temple, “in their aspects as the Souls of Nekhen and Pe.” Nekheny is likely the basis for the name “El-Kenah” which Joseph Smith named as the priest officiating the ritual.

This shows that the four kingdoms under Egypt’s authority were considered to be supportive of the king’s revivification. In the later derivative funeral ritual, “pallbearers at funerals played the roles of the Sons of Horus carrying the corpse of Osiris.” This is why Facsimile 1 shows them below the bedstead–to suggest their role in physically supporting the dead king on the couch.

In the later ritual Opening of the Mouth: “the Sem priest dressed himself in the skin of a cow, and lying down upon a kind of couch pretended to be asleep; but he was roused up by the Am-asi priest… and when the Sem priest had seated himself upon a seat, the four men together represented the four children of Horus, or the gods with the heads of a hawk, an ape, a jackal, and a man respectively. The Sem priest then said, ‘I have seen my father in all his forms,’ which the other men in turn repeat.” (EA Wallis Budge) This shows how these figures in Facsimile 1 relate to Facsimile 2. The sacred cow can be seen as Figure 5 in Facsimile 2, which delivers the governing power needed to revive. The organs which are placed in the four jars come together to form the individual’s revived body, as the four sons of Horus lift their father up to be exalted. The father is created in all his forms.

The three figures to the right of the four sons of Horus represent the god srpt-m3i-sr. They are a lion, ram, and lotus flower, and they represent the sun evolving from one manifestation to the other. These three figures represent the rising, midday, and setting sun, which relates this figure back to the previous Figure of the Sun. The solar boat on the right hand of Facsimile 2 is the eastern sun rising and meeting Figure 2 at noon. The solar boat on the left hand of Facsimile 2 is the western sun setting after noon and meeting Figure 2 at midnight. Facsimile 2 is the midday sun. The presence of these three figures here next to the sacred cow Figure 5 therefore relates the cow back to Figures 2, 3, and 4, and invokes them to glorify and restore the deceased to life.

These three figures as represented by srpt-m3i-sr are associated with Abraham in the Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden: “Abraham, the apple (?) of the Eye of the Uzat… srpt-m3i-sr is thy name”. Yet another clear connection to Abraham.

Clear Relationship To Abraham – The central Figure 1 of Facsimile 2 is always shown with four heads (and very well could have had four heads on the original papyrus) instead of the two we see there, to represent the four quarters of the earth that will be affected by its power. There, they are the four quarters, lands, and peoples who support and help in the ritual Sed-festival revivification of the king.

In Facsimile 2, they appear to be represent the delivering of the power, authority, and governance of god to the four quarters, lands, and peoples–as seen with the four heads of the River Eden that the Book of Abraham talks about: “There was a river running out of Eden, to water the garden, and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.” (Abraham 5:10) They also symbolize the “four directions” in God’s covenant with Abraham, for him to “walk the land” that he and his posterity would inherit. Abraham walked around his land of inheritance to signify that it was his. This is similar to another part of the Sed festival ritual called the Dedication of the Field, in which the king marked out a field representing the world and “walked across it four times, successively the four points of the compass.” Abraham likewise walked around the borders of his land Canaan four times to gain ownership. God gave Abraham his covenant promise four times that his posterity would spread throughout the world. This covenant was carried out through four main patriarchs in Genesis: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Four appears to be the symbol of the king’s authority and posterity spreading through the universe for eternity, along each cardinal point line.

We know also, “Abraham’s tent was open in four directions to allow strangers to enter freely into his home.” This is why it is so important that the four quarters of the earth play such a prominent role in these Facsimiles, suggesting their universal significance to the entire world: “Abraham is at a crossroads… people come from the four points of the compass. Similarly in T. Job 8:6-7, they come from all regions, ‘and the four doors of my house were open’… presents Abraham as suprassing Job: the patriarch went looking for wayfarers.”(Dale Allison)

If you look at Facsimile 1 orthographically,the king’s death and rebirth is consistently compared to the setting and rising of the sun in the Sed festival and lion couch context. What is this priest doing over on the west side? Causing death, like the setting of the sun in the west. The priest of Elkenah assumes appropriate characteristics for this direction, protecting the child Osiris (the king for whom Abraham was proxy sacrifice) for rebirth. The knife north smites down the king’s enemies like the son of Horus for the north. The Horus bird east rises like the sun from the horizon like the son of Horus for the east. And the crocodile south devours as the son of Horus for the South which represents human emotion. Each figure acts to support the king’s rebirth in the same fashion as the son of Horus that represents that direction. The figures in Facsimile 2 likewise are located east, west, north, and south in accordance with their role, only this time it is according to the rise, midday, and setting of the kairoinfo4u, creative commons license

The Book of Abraham text tells us that the four idols stood “before” the altar, not under it. As one of the discrepancies between the Book of Abraham text and Facsimile 1, this leads me to believe that Facsimile 1 was not drawn specifically regarding Abraham’s sacrifice; it was created later in history for a different funeral context. Placement of these idols in front of the altar rather than under it would actually make more sense for a Sed-festival context, as they represented the four directions emanating from a center: “the four sons of Horus represent the four cardinal directions as they extend out from the center of Horus, represented as a circle.” The Sed festival altar at the Abu Ghurab Sun Temple of Niuserre symbolizes exactly this. It is shaped as “a mandala depicting the four directions” emanating from a circular center. Each son of Horus extended throughout the entire world as an increase of the king’s glory. The idols were likely standing on each of the four sides of the sacrificial altar. The central circular stone of the altar represented the universe in the same way as the circular form of the Facsimile 2 hypocephalus.

Twelve Pointed Star – Not only did Abraham make himself the center of the four quarters of the earth, he went out and actively sought for people in need. The four-quartered hypocephalus is a perfect symbol for Abraham. Abraham’s blessing passed down among four patriarchs, and then once the covenant of Abraham reached the fourth patriarch–Joseph–his posterity then divided into twelve branches. The twelve tribes of Israel, represented by the twelve-sided star of David. This follows the geometry of the Sed festival altar at the Abu Ghurab Sun Temple of Niuserre, with its twelve sides emanating outside the four-sided blocks. This multiplication of four and three to get twelve was also part of the Sed festival ceremony. Before achieving rebirth, “the king, alone in the ‘tomb'” found himself “in the presence of the twelve major deities of the Egyptian pantheon.” He went from the four sons of Horus to twelve gods to help him along. These mathematics are also seen in the Field ritual. Each side of the four-sided field was marked by three seals: “At Saqqara these markers are arranged in paris; on other Early Dynastic representations, such as the Narmer macehead and the ebony label of Den, they appear in sets of three. Oriented on a north-south axis, they clearly symbolise the territorial limits of the king’s realm, the ‘field’ between them representing the whole of Egypt… Clad in the tight-fitting Sed-festival robe, wearing the red, white, or double crown, and carrying a flail in one hand and baton-like object in the other, the king ran or strode between the two sets of markers, reasserting his claim to the land of Egypt.” (Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection)

In Egypt, this Sed festival symbolism appears to be based on cosmology of the star Sirius: “every fourth celebration was distinguished from the rest by a higher degree of solemnity, since it marked the completion of a twelfth part of the star’s journey through twelve months.” (Sir James Frazer) They went by intervals of four until they reached twelve. There was also the ceremonial shooting of arrows during the Sed Festival in each cardinal direction to symbolize the king’s conquering of those lands: “…in some sculptures at Carnac the queen is portrayed shooting arrows towards the four quarters of the world, while the king does the same with rings.” (Sir James Frazer) Guess how many arrows were shot in each direction?

In Facsimile 2, the four sons of Horus standing beside three characters which “symbolize the gods of the rising, midday, and setting sun” is four times three: twelve.

This number symbolism shows up repeatedly in the scriptures as well. At the very beginning of the Book of Mormon, Lehi saw a vision of “One descending out of” heaven, and “twelve others following him” to the “face of the earth, “and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.” In Revelation, John saw a vision of an angel standing on each side of the earth’s four corners. He saw an angel ascending in the east like the sun (like the Horus bird on the right/east side of Facsimile 1) holding the seal of the living God (king Hezekiah’s royal seal looked exactly like the Facsimile 1 sun-bird). The angel instructed the four angels to not hurt the kingdoms of the earth until the angel has spread his seal to the servants of God abroad. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1 -3)

And then we are told a number of servants to be sealed for each of the twelve tribes of Israel: twelve times twelve thousand. The Horus bird in Facsimile 1 likewise rises in the east to bring rebirth to the deceased person on the lion couch as the Lord does in each of these scriptures for the earth. The sokar bird in Facsimile 2 rises from the east and meets at noon in the same way. The four angels in these bible verses match the Egyptian role of these four canopic jars: they protect Osiris on the lion couch at the behest of Horus, lifting him up so that Horus can seal Osiris in his heaven.

Jacob’s Ladder To Heaven

Chapter 3 in the Book of Abraham describes Abraham’s vision of the hierarchy of souls and angels going up and down from heaven to the earth like the sun arcing in the sky, with Jehovah ruling at the top and Lucifer at the bottom. He saw that each soul was like a star with varying degrees of intensity.

Abraham’s grandson Jacob experienced a vision very similar to what we read in the Book of Abraham, of a heavenly “stairway,” with the same covenants being given and the same blessings being received. This vision is commonly known today as Jacob’s ladder or stairway to heaven. Jacob had taken the altar Abraham had used to try to sacrifice Isaac, arranged it with twelve sides like the the Niuserre Sed festival altar, and laid upon it like Abraham had laid on the Sed festival altar in Marad. Jacob then fell into a sleep which symbolized death and saw a scene similar to what we see in the Facsimiles and read about in the Book of Abraham. “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14)

The Legends of the Jews adds a few specifics: “He also saw the angels of the four kingdoms ascending the ladder. The angel of Babylon mounted seventy rounds, the angel of Media, fifty-two, that of Greece, one hundred and eighty, and that of Edom mounted very high, saying ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High,’ and Jacob heard a voice remonstrated, ‘Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the uttermost parts of the pit.’” (Legends Of The Jews)

We get a kingdom of the earth for each cardinal direction. This list of kingdoms sounds similar to the four kingdoms in Daniel’s prophecies, and is similar to the kingdoms which Egypt associated with the four quarters of the earth as well. Each kingdom represents a direction on the compass, and each kingdom is represented by an angel as well. In the Egyptian context, each son of Horus has a protector god representing them. And so the similarities become to many and too compelling to ignore. There are four directions at the earth level under the ladder in Jacob’s vision, like the four sons of Horus at the earth level in Facsimile 1, and Jacob is standing in the middle between heaven and earth, and Jehovah is blessing him from on high–exactly like in Facsimile 1. But this time it diagrammatically represents a societal level of hierarchy, with Israel’s dominion over the earth.

Four Mayan Earth GodsEarlier, I offered the possibility that Abraham’s altar which Jacob laid upon during this vision sailed with the Mulekites to the New World, and that the imagery of Abraham’s sacrifice as shown in Facsimile 1 thus passed on to Mayan altars and thrones. That is quite a claim to make, but at the very least there are remarkable parallels between the Facsimiles and Mayan altars, both in looks and utility. One of these similarities is four gods representing the four quarters of the earth, supporting the king in his revivification.

The Mayans believed in four gods for the four quarters of the earth, exactly like the Egyptians. The Mayan god of the west, Cauac, bears interesting similarity to Qebehsenuef. Each of the earth’s four quarters were associated with a year of the calendar by the Mayans, and the Cauac year was considered “a very evil year” full of darkness. Elkenah was obviously the most evil of the four idols. The first European to document Mayan customs, Diego de Landa, noted how the Mayans would offer sacrifices in a New Year ritual for the Cauac year, which is interesting enough considering Elkenah being associated with the priest and altar, but Landa further described how they “cut off the head of a fowl” and placed on the idol for Cauac “on top a carnivorous bird called kuch ‘vulture’, as a sign of great mortality.” The Qebehsenuef canopic jar has the head of a carnivorous bird on top. Landa said the Mayans then danced “various dances” (which we see happening in the Sed Festival sacrifice) among which was “the dance of the devil.” The location of the Elkenah altar was Marad–“Lucifer.” Landa tells us they brought drink to the chiefs in cups, again shown in the Sed Festival, and then made “offerings, the incense, and the prayers, while many drew blood from many parts of the body, to anoint the stone of the demon.” This was the function of Abraham on the altar, to provide blood for the altar, except in Abraham’s case the Lord provided “pleasant dew,” according to the Christian Chronicle. In Jacob’s case, he anointed the altar with oil after waking up.

Diego Landa described another ritual for Cauac where the priests constructed “a great vault of wood, filling it aloft and on the sides with firewood.” At night they lit the wood “which burned high and quickly,” and then walked on the coals–which is where we get the folk story of Natives “coal walking” from. Some “came off with no lesions whatsoever,” while others came away burned but considered this restitution for the evils of that year. Considering all of the Abraham stories tell of the attempted sacrifice as a “furnace” that Abraham was to be burned in, this ritual would be a perfect way to honor Abraham’s attempted sacrifice by the god of the West, upon the altar of the West. Like Abraham, you would place faith in the Lord to come away from the fire unharmed.

In the Egyptian sun festival we see the same kind of dragon architecture that ordains the Mayan temple. They located stelea in each direction like in Egypt, like the Djoser stelae placed on each cardinal directions of heb-sed court: “Wildung’s suggestion that stelae of this type came in pairs is worth attention. Furthermore, he believes that the Schlangensteine [stones of snakes] were instruments for the rejuvenation of the king during the Sed Festival.” (Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 80)

The Mayan gods of the four directions often were placed below the altar of sacrifice, “figures with upraised arms supporting many altars constructed by the Olmecs.” At Piedras Negras, the site which I earlier matched up as a possible site of Zarahemla, altar 4 is a rectangular stone slab supported by four legs with imagery of a god of a cardinal direction on each. Unfortunately, this intricately carved altar had the stones removed in the 1930s by explorers, and they “left the large upper stab to decay on the forest floor.” But we can see this kind of imagery across Central America. These four gods of the earth physically supported the sacrificial altar and performed a role similar to the Egyptian context of the Facsimiles.

Categories: Apologetics