Sunday, January 25, 2015

Into that Quarter Where Never Had Man Been – Part II

Continuing from the last post regarding the two important issues involved in the Lord’s statement: “that quarter where there never  had man been.” These are: 1) An understanding of the word “quarter” (see last post), and 2) an understanding of the term “where there never had man been.” 
Anciently there were four quarters of the Earth, made up of the four continents: 1) Africa, 2) America, 3) Asia, and 4) Europe. Before the Western Hemisphere was discovered, maps referred to the three parts of the Earth, but afterward, America was the fourth part or quarter
    The quarter where people have never been had nothing to do with where the Jaredites traveled, but where they ended up—in the Land of Promise. To understand this, we need to look at the territory surrounding Mesopotamia and the Jaredite homeland.
    First of all, history and biblical writing both show that people after the Flood “filled the earth.” Hebrew “mala” means to fill, not replenish—therefore, Noah and his sons were commanded to “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth: (Genesis 9:1). Secondly, with the Earth “divided,” and oceans “divided the lands” (Ether 2:13), that “quarter” of the land (a term used anciently to mean the four quarters of the earth), that no one had occupied since the Flood was the Western Hemisphere—the Land of Promise. Thirdly, in the direction north and east of Mesopotamia, along the Theorists eastern route, nearly all the sons of Japheth settled long before the Jaredite period.
    When Noah and his family stepped out of the Ark, they were the only people on Earth. It fell to Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives, to repopulate, or “fill” the Earth through their children and grandchildren. Of Noah’s grandchildren, 16 grandsons are named in Genesis chapter 10.
    Since the Bible provides their exact names, we can follow their expansion and that of their children and grandchildren as they established the various regions of the ancient world between the time of the Flood and the Jaredites.
    It should also be understood that the first generations after the Flood lived to be very old, with some outliving their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, which set them apart. The sixteen grandsons of Noah were the heads of their family clans, which became large populations in their respective areas, and as time passed, three things happened that help us trace their movements and settlement areas:
1. People often called themselves by the name of the man who was their common ancestor.
2. People called their land, and often their major city and major river, by his name.
3. People sometimes fell into ancestor worship, resulting in naming their pagan gods after their ancestor(s).
All of this means that the evidence of these people and their locations have been preserved in a way that can never be lost, and all the ingenuity of man cannot erase. As an example, looking at Noah’s grandsons through Japheth:
    Gomer. Ezekiel locates the early descendants of Gomer, along with his son, (Noah’s great-grandson) Togarmah, in the north quarters (Ezekiel 38:6). Gomer settled to the north of Mesopotamia, from the southern shores to the northern shores of the Black Sea. Togarmah settled between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. During New Testament times in the area of modern Turkey was an region called Galatia. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records that the people who were called Galatians or Gauls in his day (93 A.D.) were previously called Gomerites. Their descendants migrated westward to what are now France and Spain. For many centuries France was called Gaul, after the descendants of Gomer, and Northwest Spain is called Galicia to this day. Some of the Gomerites migrated further to what is now called Wales, which has an ancient belief that the descendants of Gomer ‘landed on the Isle of Britain from France, about three hundred years after the flood,’ and the Welsh language was called Gomeraeg (after their ancestor Gomer). Other members of their clan settled along the way, including in Armenia, which claimes descendancy from Gomer’s sons Ashkenaz, and Riphath. Ancient Armenia reached into Turkey, which name probably comes from Togarmah. Others of them migrated to Germany, as Ashkenaz is the Hebrew word for Germany.
Magog. Japheth’s son Magog lived in the north parts (Ezekiel 38:15; 39:2). Josephus records that those whom he called Magogites, the Greeks called Scythians, and the ancient name for the region, which now includes part of Romania and the Ukraine, was Scythia.
    Madai. Along with Shem’s son Elam, Madai is the ancestor of our modern-day Iranians. Josephus says that the descendants of Madai were called Medes by the Greeks—every time the Medes are mentioned in the Old Testament, the word used is the Hebrew name Madai. After the time of Cyrus, the Medes are, with one exception, always mentioned along with the Persians. They became one kingdom with one law—‘the law of the Medes and Persians’ (Daniel 6:8,12,15). Later they were simply called Persians. Since 1935 they have called their country Iran.
    Javan. The name of the next grandson, Javan, is the Hebrew word for Greece, with Grecia, or Grecians appearing five times in the Old Testament as Javan. Daniel refers to the king of Grecia (Daniel 8:21), literally the king of Javan. His sons were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim (Genesis 10:4), all of whom have connections with the Greek people. The Elysians (an ancient Greek people) received their name from Elishah. Tarshish or Tarsus was located in the region of Cilicia (modern Turkey), and Kittim is the biblical name for Cyprus. The people who initially settled around the area of Troy worshipped Jupiter under the name of Jupiter Dodonaeus, an obvious reference to the fourth son of Javan, with Jupiter a derivative of Japheth. His oracle was at Dodena (The Greeks also worshipped this god under the name Zeus).
    Tubal. Ezekiel mentions Tubal along with Gog and Meshech (Ezekiel 39:1). Tiglath-pileser I, king of Assyria in about 1100 B.C., refers to the descendants of Tubal as the Tabali, and Josephus recorded their name as the Thobelites, who were later known as Iberes.
Josephus said their land was called Iberia, by the Romans, and covered what is now Georgia, whose capital Tbilisi (Tubal). They also gave their tribal name in the northeast to the river Tobol, and to the famous city of Tobolsk.
    Meshech. The next grandson is the ancient name of both the capital and surrounding city of Moscow. To this day, one section is still called the Meshchera Lowland. According to Josephus, the descendants of the grandson Tiras were called Thirasians, which the Greeks changed to Thracians. Anciently, Thrace reached from Macedonia on the south to the Danube River on the north, and to the Black Sea on the east, taking in much of what became Yugoslavia. The people of Thrace were known as savage Indo-Europeans, who liked warfare and looting, and Tiras was worshipped by his descendants as Thuras, or Thor, the god of thunder.
    Certainly, none of these areas around Mesopotamia in any direction could have been called a "quarter where never had man been" during the time of the Jaredites.
(See the next post, “Into that Quarter Where Never Had Man Been – Part III,” for a continuation of the spread of Noah’s grandchildren and its meaning to the Jaredites)

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