|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
|7 Tishrei 5766 / October 10, 2005 |
on Isleta Reservation
Predates U.S. Document
by 2000 years
There exists a Divine Constitution engraved in stone here in the U.S. that most authorities agree, predates the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution by about two millenia. It is a document first discovered by the Isleta Native Americans when they were moved onto their reservation lands south of Albuquerque, N.M. It is a version of the Ten Commandments written in ancient, Paleolithic Hebrew.
I recently visited the site of this sacred stone, first hearing of it's existence in 1987 while studying about the ancient Essene (Qumran) calendar based on a lunar cycle at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Professor Joseph Naveh at Hebrew University had laboriously translated the stone inscription, a picture of which was prominently displayed at the university.
Mention of it surfaced again in a book called "America B.C." by Barry Fell, which was a gift from my good friend and Jerusalem Torah Voice co-conspirator, the late "Cam" Woolverton of most blessed memory. Cam gave me this valuable addition to my library in 1990 after learning that I had been responsible for publishing an article about an inscription in ancient Hebrew found at Bat Creek, Tenn., and its possible connection to Cherokee Native Americans on the front page of the Jerusalem Post, while I was a layout editor there in 1989. Originally, the 8 letters etched into the stone was thought to be in Cherokee, but it was later learned that it was Paleolithic Hebrew or Phoenician script and read simply "a comet for the Jews." The Post article was about a team of archaeologists who had excavated a Cherokee mound nearby and found a burial "in the manner of the Hebrews."
This was the first documented archaeological evidence I was aware of at the time connecting the Cherokee nation to Hebrew origins. It had been the contention of Dr. George Mamoshima Lamsa, a translator of a popular version of the Aramaic Peshita New Testament, who I had independently studied in seminary in the early 1980s, that the vocabulary of several southeastern Native American tribes was Semitic in origin. (I also did not know at the time of James Adair's monumental "History of the American Indians," published in 1775 or the History of the Cherokees published by Emett Star. Adair and Star proved beyond any doubt, a Hebrew link to the Cherokee nation and language including their reverance for the "unutterable name," which both were able to document. It was pronounced (when their priests allowed its pronunciation only in holy precincts), "Yo-Hee-Wah" or in accordance with the beliefs of early Torah sages as the "shem ha-meforash" or "Name by its letters.") The interested reader can read the 23 similarities from the Hebrew Torah recorded by Adair in a recent reprint of his History, called "Out of the Flame."
A woman with a great love for all Native Americans and their Hebrew origins who was present at a Return of the House of Joseph teaching accreditation seminar in Houston in 2003 mentioned the stone to me again and has periodically prodded me to visit it. A fourth prompting came from an Anusim living in Pueblo, CO., (a Jew whose family was forced to convert to Catholicism). He showed up at one of our weekly Torah studies for several weeks with a line drawing of the text from the stone dating its script to at least the late 2nd Century B.C.E. -- according to a "star map" also located at the site. The star map records a known eclipse that coincided with Rosh Hashanah (during a particular Jewish new year). My Anusim guest said the star map was located near the stone atop the "Mystery Mountain" along with some other petroglyphs. During a recent visit to the Hopi Native Americans living on the 3rd Mesa at Old Oraibi, Arizona -- to verify from the family of their chief the Hopi tribe's ancient link to Jerusalem and according to Mormon beliefs, the Lamanite branch of the House of Joseph -- I received a fourth witness. This time, the Lady in White of the Cherokee who made the introductions to the Hopi for me told me of Rabbi Red Hat John Duke, a Cherokee who had been taught Hebrew and mentored by a Levite who lived in the Tulsa area. Red Hat had visited the stone many times before his death a few years ago.
So, during a recent trip to visit my elderly father in another state, I made a side trip to hunt for this Stone of Stones, located in a range of small mountains immediately to the north of a top-secret military installation that included a landing pad for "black helicopters" which were flying overhead. I don't want to detail the exact location at this point for security reasons but because of the unusual circumstance that led to my locating this stone, I felt this Divine Constitution -- which some have dated as early as 1800 BCE -- deserves mention in the ongoing Ten Commandments debate.
I set out looking for this stone with directions provided by Red Hat as given to the Cherokee Lady in White. They were scant at best: "Ascend the mystery mountain halfway. The stone is in one of the ravines below as you look toward the setting sun" That was it.
But as I started my trek up the mountainside and noticed several gullies, ravines and small canyons that fit the general description, a small, single cloud came into view. There had apparently been a rain earlier and wearing sunglasses the spectrum of the rainbow could be faintly observed in this cloud. But no rainbow arms could be seen anywhere. Not in any direction or up or down or around the cloud!
I began walking straight toward this unusual cloud and it led me to the base of a large clump of lava. Here:
Whomever is responsible for the engraving made a few mistakes. For one thing, they left out a complete line of the text and went back and inserted it between the first and second lines. But if you read the first three lines in the order 1, 3 ( to an insertion point), 2, back to 3 (after the insertion point) and then the other six lines and assume a few missing and indelible letters here and there, and a koph instead of a caph a rough literal translation reads:
I am (Unutterable Name) your God who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from (the) house of slaves. There be no other gods before my face. You shall not make (an) idol, not take (Unutterable Name) in vain. Remember the day of the Shabbat to keep holy. Honor your father and your mother so that your days will be long upon that ground (Unutterable Name) your God gives to you. You must not murder. You (must) not (do) adultery. You must not steal. (You) must not testify against (your) neighbor (as a) false witness. You must not desire (the) wife of your neighbor and all that is your neighbors.
Despite the penmanship, spelling and rough grammar, it is recognizable as a quotation from Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments.
If there is a last word -- or perhaps I should say "First Ten Words" on whether the Ten Commandments should be permitted on public lands, in public buildings and in public view, let this ancient stone, which holds "squatter's rights" in the land we call America, speak for itself. And then maybe our nation's leaders will give ear to the wisdom of the Native Americans who were here long before them.
Their wisdom: If I may paraphrase from Tenrivers, a spiritual leader of the Membreno Apache, elders and fire-watchers of the Cherokee Keetoowah and Nighthawk societies, Arapaho and many, many other tribal leaders across America.
"A curse has come on our land because of the fog of the mind and the soul), the Black Road ... ingratitude toward the Creator and His Creation, technology that has out-paced spirituality, fear and spiritual blindness that has led to forsaking the ancient paths." To which I would add my own two-cents, "THIS rock -- an ancient Torah Voice -- cries out as a witness and a testimony against us."
Maggid ben Yoseif / Tohokwahu (Lion-Eagle)