Question: Did Joseph Smith identify any elements of Facsimile 2 that are in agreement with what Egyptologists say they represent?

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Question: Did Joseph Smith identify any elements of Facsimile 2 that are in agreement with what Egyptologists say they represent?


Kolob...nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.

Pearl of Great Price Central, Insight #17: Kolob, The Governing One

Pearl of Great Price Central:

Latter-day Saints have long been interested in Kolob for its doctrinal and potential cosmological significance. The opening words to the beloved Latter-day Saint hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob” written by W. W. Phelps was, of course, inspired by Kolob in the Book of Abraham.

In recent years, spurred on by promising discoveries in Egyptology and Near Eastern archaeology, some Latter-day Saint scholars have sought to situate Kolob in the ancient world. Although there are still many uncertainties, a few points in favor of Kolob being authentically ancient can be affirmed with reasonable plausibility.

signifying the first creation...First in government, the last pertaining to measurement of time

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Figure one is the God Amun. As Peter L. Renouf saw, "the great God, Lord of Heaven, the giver of light, lighting up the Heavens and earth with his rays . . . to give life to the universe."[1].. . .The staff held by figure 1, Amun, is a combination of the djed-column, signifying abiding firmness and stability, the was-scepter of power and authority, and he ankh-staff of life --the three things on which all certainty depends. But before all else we are dealing with creation and birth. So, it is enlightening to note that the Prophet Joseph begins his explanation of this figure as "the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to measurement of time," etc. It is not the celestial residence, but it is near to it, as the center of one great system, the large system known to Abraham, and though he is aware of the existence of worlds without number, he sees only a particular segment. Indeed, Moses was sharply rebuked when he asked to see it all: "Worlds without number have I created . . . for mine own purpose; . . . here is wisdom and it remaineth in me" (Moses 1:33,31). Moses is informed that he has all that he can handle in his own earthly mission and meekly apologizes, "Be merciful unto they servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, . . . and then they servant will be content" (Moses 1:36).

The most sublime aspect of Amun is the way he brings all things together in one, just as science today looks for the Grand Unifying Theory (GUT). That is what Amun gives us and we should bear in mind that all the owners of hypocephali were priests and priestesses of Amun-RE, along with their associates. Abraham, viewing the tarry heavens, fund that he "could not see the end thereof" (Abraham 3:12); while Moses, who is given "only an account of this earth," is assured that worlds that now stand are "innumerable. . . unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them (Moses 1:35). As the doctrine of Min-Amun-Re, etc. proclaims, all the universe is full of life, sustained and rejuvenated in and by the One at the Center.

[. . .]

The central figure of most hypocephali has four rams' heads on one neck. Herodotus was intrigued by the representation of Amun with the head of a ram, as in our figures 1 and 2. First of all, he makes it clear that the Egyptians did not for a moment "think that is th way he really was."[2] And he proceeds to explain that Zeus was determined that not even Hercules should see his true appearance, but he at least granted him the indulgence of "displaying himself wearing the fleece of a ram which he had skinned and beheaded." And that is why the Egyptian images of Zeus have a ram's head. They got the idea from the Ammonite Egyptian colonists, whose name for Zeus was Amun. The center of his cult in Egypt was in Mendes.[3] Because the Egyptian word for ram, ba, is the same as the wod for soul, the Ram at Mendes also became assocated with both Osiris and Re.[4] There are also a four-headed ram-god was thought to combine the attributeds of Re, Shu, Geb, and Osiris, and thenw as extended to include "the ba of every god."[5]

Turning to the famous Mendes Stela, we view "the great god Mendes, the life of Re, the male potency of gods and mankind, who appears in the region of light (or as an akh), the divine issue of the Ran . . . elest son of the Creator of All, who sits on the throne of the first of the gods . . . a prince in the womb, a ruler at the breast whom the potency of his father, the Ram of Mendes, made strong as a king, victorious, etc."[6] This fulsome description is well summed up in Joseph Smith's economical explanation as "the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or residence of God. First in government." (Fac. 2, fig. 1 explanation).

We all know thathe ram is the bellwheter who leads out the flock. Aries the Ram leads out the year in the Zodiac--the god Janus (after whom the month January is named) has the horns of Aries the Ram (see p. 397, fig. 48). As Min he always has got's horns and as Min-Amun he is the rejuvenanted prowess of ram, got, and lion . . . he with the four faces on one neck, the 777 ears, millions of eyes, and hundreds of thousands of horns.[7] As to the horns, Amun shares two types with Khnum as primal king and creator. There are the long, twisted horizontal horns of figure 2 and the new breed which appeared in the New Kingdom of he well-known curly horned beast associated with Amun. And yet the god continues to wear both types of horns together as he does on most of the hypocephali (fig. 28).[8][9]

The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit.[10]

Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "One Day to a Cubit"

Hollis R. Johnson,  Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (2013)
An investigation of ancient astronomy shows that a cubit was used not only as the metric of length (elbow to fingertip) but also as a metric of angle in the sky. That suggested a new interpretation that fits naturally: the brightest celestial object—the sun—moves eastward around the sky, relative to the stars, during the course of a year, by one cubit per day!.

Click here to view the complete article

One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Another statement of time--"one day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years" (Fac. 2, fig. 1)--demonstrates different times in different systems. That is the great year of the ancients. They worked out all sorts of cycles. The whole Kolob concept suggests that "archaic order: which today is being retrieved through the serious study of the oldest myths, monuments, and idols of the race. "As we follow the clues--stars, numbers," write de Santillana and von Dechend, "a huge framework of connections is revealed at many levels. One is inside an echoing manifold, where everything responds and everything has a place and a time assigned to it. This is a true edifice. . . a World-Image that first the many levels, and all of it kept in order by strict measure."[11]

The concept of unity and identity so prominent in the Egyptian text is well expressed in the Pearl of Great Price: "And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things which are in the heavens above and things which are of earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me" (Moses 6:63). Such is the "echoing manifold," with Kolob in control

In this huge framework of connections, the unit of measurement is, according to de Santillana and von Dechend, "always some form of time."[12] And it is the same in the Prophet's explanation of the multileveled "firmament of the heavens" which "answers to the measurement of time"--that is, of the revolutions or orbits of the heavenly bodies.[13]

….this earth which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh.

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

The Lord used this earth as the basis in the explanation of his creations to both Abraham and Moses (Abraham 3:4-7,9; Moses 1:35-36), "according to the measurement of the earth which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh" (Fac. 2, figs. 1,4, explanation). This, of course, suggests Jaoel, the angel who visits Abraham in the Apocalypse of Abraham who is easily identified by George H. Box as Jehovah.[14]

What is that mysterious name, Jehovah, and its form?

[. . .]

The form we all know in common use, Jehovah or Yahweh, is held by the Jewish scholars to be "only meant for the masses" and not the true or real Tetragrammaton at al.[15]

[. . .]

"The original letters of the Tetragrammaton," Phineas Mordell concludes, "were [Hebrew word] instead of [Hebrew word],"[16] which corresponds to Joseph Smith's j-a-o-e (yod, ayin, waw, aleph).[17]

Regarding all of Fac 2 Fig 1, Michael Rhodes writes:

A seated deity with two (or in most hypocephali, four) ram's heads. He is holding in his hand the symbols of life (onu), dominion (was) and stability (jd). On either side of the god are two apes (numbers 22 and 23) with horned moon-disks on their heads, in an attitude of adoration. There are also two serpents, one on either side of the seated deity. The god is sitting at the center of the hypocephalus, which, as was mentioned above, represents the world. This seated figure represents god as the creator, either Amon-Re or Khnum. When thus depicted with four heads, this god united within himself the attributes of the gods Re (the sun), Shu (light), Geb (the earth), and Osiris (god of the next world and the resurrection), and represented the primeval creative force. Joseph Smith says that this is “Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.” This agrees well with the Egyptian symbolism of god endowed with the primeval creative force seated at the center of the universe. The name Kolob is right at home in this context. The word most likely derives from the common Semitic root QLB, which has the basic meaning of “heart, center, middle” (Arabic قِلب (qalb) “heart, center”; Hebrew קֶרֶב (qereb) “middle, midst”, קָרַב (qārab) “to draw near”; Egyptian m-qab “in the midst of”). In fact, قِلب forms part of the Arabic names of several of the brightest stars in the sky, including Antares, Regulus, and Canopus. The apes can represent Thoth, the god of writing and wisdom, as well as the moon, but due to their curious habit of holding up their hands to receive the first warming rays of the sun after the cold desert night as if worshiping the sun at its rising, they are often found in connection with the sun. Besides these solar and lunar associations, apes are also found associated with stars and constellations. Joseph Smith says they are stars receiving light from Kolob, which is in harmony with our understanding of their symbolism in Egyptian.

In his explanation of figure 1, Joseph Smith says that the earth is called Jah-oh-eh by the Egyptians. In the Times and Seasons he defined Jah-oh-eh as “O the Earth.” This would be reasonable rendering of the Egyptian i ae.t, “O Earth” (assuming that Joseph used the biblical convention of rendering a Semitic Yod with an english J).[18]

Stands next to Kolob...the next grand governing creation near to...the place where God resides; holding the key of power (figure 2)

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

This figure, as Joseph Smith explains it, "stands next to Kolob . . . the next grand governing creation near to . . . the place where God resides" (Fac 2, fig. 2, explanation). Compare this to figure 1, which is "Kolob. . .the first creation, nearest to . . . the residence of God" (Fac 2, fig. 1 explanation). With this gradation of glory goes precedence in time, figure 1 "the first creation." and beyond that, steps in degrees of authority, with figure 2, "te next grand governing creation." Neither one is the center of everything. Figure 1, to be sure, is the center facing in all directions around whom all else revolves. Abraham is told that "Kolob is set. . . to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest" (Abraham 3:9). Moses was rebuked for wanting an immediate view of what the ancients and Paul called [Greek script] (pleroma)--absolutely everything (see Colossians 2:9); the Lord told him to hold on and be satisfied with this world, the only world which concerned him at present (Moses 1:30-36).

Note also that figure 2, the second in order, is "holding the key of power also pertaining to other planets." On some hypocephali this figure is labeled both Re and Amun-Re, the same power at different levels. He stands at the zenith of the year and the moon of the day at his greatest moment of power--the sun, the ruler of the solar system, but everything about him reminds us that he is motion. What about the rest of his journey, passing through the underworld from west to east? WE are referred to the ley, the Wepwawet, "Opener of the Ways," which lets us out of the underworld.

In the small Nash hypocephalus (see appendix 7A), figures 1 and 2 are combined and their identify clearly established: In the top panel, wearing the two tall feathers of Amun, the two-headed figure, but here he is situated on the throne, holding the scepters exactly like the four-headed Amun on other hypocephali.[19] In this case proximity is the main idea; we are near the center but moving out from it. Among the ancients and moderns, proximity to Divinity both in place and time was a direct measure of blessedness. This "Kolob" ideas is set forth vividly in the Book of Abraham: "the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me." (Abraham 3:3). It is "nearest to the celestial, or residence of God" (Fac 2. fig 1, explanation). A most significant feature of figure 2 is the crown the god-figure is wearing combining both ram's horns and the two tall features. It is the Ta-Tjenen crown (see Fac. 3 fig. 1) with the ram's horns that bring Re and Osiris together in a symbol of eternal beginning.[20]

Striding forth boldly on his eternal rounds, figure 2 is designated on a bronze hypocephalus as "Amun Lord of Heaven in his aspect of coming forth."[21] You will notice that our figure 2 is not "residing" anywhere--he is on the move, right at the top of the circle. His feathers usually touch and often protrude above the confining edge to show him, as one scholar puts it, "here at the vertex of the universe, the Ram comes first of al in order, appearing at the head of the universe and the beginning of light."[22] He is by all accounts a true two-faced Janus figure; classical writers, as we have seen, associated Amun's ram horns with the constellation Aries the Ram, the Opener of the Year.[23] Let us recall further that some Egyptian inscriptions label our figure 2 as past and future, "I know," and "I shall know," explaining that "the one is Osiris who is Yesterday, and the other is Re who is Tomorrow."[24]

The holy Egyptian feather which Shu wears signifies light traversing the space between heaven and earth and is represented by the god of that name;[25] "Its filaments symbolized the rays of the sun."[26] It is the famous atef-crown, designated by Joseph Smith as "emblematical of the grand presidency in heaven," and indeed the two feathers are the prime emblems of celestial light and spirit. Significantly, the shw-feather is not a theological but an astronomical symbol, as Rudolf Anthes sees it; the god's name is never written with the familiar divinity sign; rather it represents the actual sunshine or light and energy that traverses and fills the space between heaven and earth,[27] a light (to quote Joseph Smith) "pertaining to other planets." The sign of the two feathers enjoyed a very wide range of interpretation among the Egyptian scribes.[28]

As to the staff and or scepter, which god carries as his staff of office and the emblem of his power, it is of the utmost importance. It signifies specifically the power to move or progress. It is the standard of the dog Wepwawet, whose image appears on it--the faithful dog who leads his majesty into the realm of the unknown. "The true character of Wepwawet is still far from being clearly defined, by the Pyramid texts show him intimately related to the mystery of the rising sun and the resurrection of the king. . . that is why he is in the prow of the solar bark and always leads the parade."[29] All these ideas come together in the figure on the staff of the character who bears it.

Staff and Key

Joseph Smith calls the staff a key, "the key of power". The Hebrew word for key [Hebrew script] (miptah), means literally "opener," while the Egyptian name of the god who bears this staff is Wp-w3.wt = Opener of the Ways. The Egyptian obsession with "the Way" as the course of life here and hereafter, eloquently expressed in the First Psalm and in the preaching of the great high priest Petosiris--"I will show you the Way of Life"--has been discussed at length by scholars such as Oswald Spengler and Gerturd Thausing.[30] Peter is one who has the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). Janus also is the god "who holds a staff in his left and a key in his right,"[31] "the one who holds the key (clavigerus),"[32] and the one who is "the gatekeeper of the heavenly courts (coelestins ianitor aulae)."[33] The Egyptian is constantly concerned with being checked or blocked (h.sf) in his career. Only real power, the power of the key, can overcome his determined opponents. It shall become apparent that the key plays a major role both in the hypocephalus and in the Prophet's interpretation of it.[34]

Michael Rhodes regarding all of Fac 2 Fig 2:

A two-headed deity wearing the double-plumed crown of Amon, with ram's horns mounted on it. On his shoulders are jackal heads, and he is holding the jackal standard of the god Wepwawet. To his right is an altar with offerings on and around it. In most hypocephali, he is holding the ankh, or symbol of life, in his right hand. Also to his right is a line of hieroglyphs reading: “The name of this Mighty God.”

This is Amon-Re, the chief god of the Egyptian pantheon; the two heads illustrate the hidden and mysterious power of Amon (his name in Egyptian means “the Hidden One”) combined with the visible and luminous power of Re. This is clearly the god mentioned in chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead (the chapter describing the construction and use of the hypocephalus), who wears the double plumed crown. The jackals on his shoulders as well as the jackal standard he holds are symbols of the god Wepwawet, the Opener of the Way, i.e. of the year, of the king in his conquests, of the dead through the dangers of hereafter to the throne of Osiris where they would be judged, or any other way that needs opening. Joseph Smith says, “Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides: holding the key of power.” The symbol of life held by this god was considered as a symbol of a god's power. A good example is the god Aton, who is represented by a sun disk with numerous rays emanating from it that all end in a hand holding the symbol of life. I can find no obvious word in Egyptian that matches with Oliblish, but this puts it in the same category as many of the strange names found in the 162nd chapter of the Book of the Dead, which seem not to be Egyptian but some foreign language.

Joseph also says this figure pertains to the plan of God's creations as revealed to Abraham as he was making a sacrifice. This agrees exactly with the Apocalypse of Abraham account as described above, as well as with the Egyptian concept of the hypocephalus representing all that the sun encircles.[35]

Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed (figure 3)

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Joseph Smith's critics have pointed out that his explanation of figure 3 so far--the throne, the sun-crown--would be an easy guess.[36] "Clothed with power," however, is a palpable hit; for the big was-scepter that the king holds stands for "dominion," according to Raymond Faulkner[37] and for "dominion, lordship," according to Alan H. Gardiner;[38][39]

[. . .]

The main activity in this panel on most hypocephali is the handing around of the wedjat-eye. Thus we find the ape presenting the eye to the sun-god;[40] or the ape in a shrine wearing the solar disk receiving the wedjat from another ape who also wears upon his head yet another solar disk containing another wedjat-eye;[41] or an ape in the shrine receiving the wedjat-eye;[42] or a giant wedjat-eye held by an ibis-headed Thoth and worshipped by two apes;[43] or an ape presenting the eye to the sun-god—facing to the right as in our figure 3—between them a scarab labeled Khepri;[44] or a large ape in a shrine receives the eye from another ape—the infant rides up in the bow;[45] or the sun-god and the apes flank a Khepri-scarab to whom the ape is offering the eye.[46] Quite often the ape offers the eye to the crowned ape in the shrine;[47] the ape and the eye alone in the boat;[48] or the ape in a shrine faced by an ape with two wedjat-eyes.[49] Thus Khepri, the scarab, changes his position from hypocephalus to hypocephalus with the greatest freedom—he moves all over the place, as is proper for one who is the very embodiment of change. We go on with these seemingly endless permutations to indicate what a hive of activity figure 3 represents, a lively exchange of position and powers with a full display of “power and authority, . . . the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood” being passed around, here represented as visual symbols, as we know it descended to “Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed.”

The cast of characters is very limited in the Joseph Smith version, but the idea is fully represented by the presence of the most potent symbol of all, the two wedjat-eyes flanking Horus-Re. They must be considered in the context of figure 7...[50]

Michael Rhodes:

A hawk-headed god Re with the sun disk on his head, seated on the solar bark. On either side of him is a Wedjat-eye. In his hand he holds the was-scepter, symbol of dominion, and in front of him is an altar with a lotus blossom on it.

Re seated in his bark represents the sun in its daily journey across the sky and symbolizes resurrection and rebirth, since the sun was thought to die and be reborn each day. The lotus on the altar in front of him is also symbolic of rebirth and the rising sun. The Wedjat-eye was symbolic of light and protection (among other things) and is thus not out of place in this context.

Joseph Smith said this represented God, sitting upon his throne clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light on his head. The was-scepter, as I mentioned above, represents power and authority, and the sun certainly qualifies as a crown of eternal light. He also said that it represented the grand key words of the priesthood. The Greek writer Plutarch explained that the Wedjat-eye of Osiris represented pro/noia “divine providence” (literally “foreknowledge”), the divine wisdom by which God oversees and cares for all of his creations. It is not unreasonable to see in this “the grand key words of the priesthood” (“The glory of God is intelligence,” D&C 93:36).[51]

Answers to the Hebrew word Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens; also a numerical figure, in Egyptian signifying one thousand; answering to the measuring of time of Oliblish, which is equal to Kolob in its revolution and in its measuring of time (Figure 4)

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Our figure 4 goes back to the earliest Egyptian iconography, found on an ivory tomb belonging to King Djet (serpent) from the First Dynasty; on it has been drawn "a boat beneath which two wings representing the sky are spread."[52] It is "the sun-sip on the wings of the sky, . . . the two outstretched wings above the earth, the sheltering wings of the sky-god, from which was later derived the idea of the hawk as the sky-god."[53]The inscription with the relief from Edfu adds: "the expanse [circumference] of the heavens is beneath his wings; . . . your body . . . is the sky which is adorned with its stars.[54] The bird in the boat is sometimes exchanged for the sky-goddess Nut, whose outstretched wings are the symbol of protection,[55] their purpose being to enfold and embrace everything (fig. 30)...for Hans Bonnet the wings show that the woman is the bird "which is usually put in place of her." The best-known Egyptian symbol of the sky, she controls not only the cycle of the stars but also that of the sun.[56][57]

[. . .]

So far so good for Smith; all that seems quite obvious, but what about the next statement: "Also a numerical figure in Egyptian signifying 1000"? Professional Egyptologists have protested to the author that there is nothing known to them to justify attributing the number 1000 to figure 4. Yet here, if ever, the Joseph Smith explanation is right on target. The woman Nu, the sky-goddess of the outspread wings, has a peculiar epithet, and it is the same name as that given to the ship in figure 4, which means literally "a Thousand Are Her Souls," or "The One with a Thousand Souls,"[58] The Thousand Souls are stars, and she is so called because the stars are her children; a Pyramid Text says, "You (Nut) have taken to yourself ever god who has his own ship ([Egyptian script] hb3) and have instructed them in the starry sky ([Egyptian script] h3-b3=s) so that they will not depart from you as stars. Do not let NN be moved far from you in your name of 'Heaven' ([Egyptian script] hr.t)

And this takes us to Abraham. Not only was he asked to count the stars as a metaphorical measure of his progeny, but he meets us in Genesis 15:5 as both an observer ([Hebrew script] habbet) and counter ([Hebrew script] li-spor) of the stars. We also see him, according to Facsimile 3, "reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king's court" (Fac. 3, fig 1, explanation). Reasoning and counting are the same word in the famous stele of a great princess, a daughter of Psameticus II, which reads, "Behold ye Khabasu of Heliopolis . . . the God is born. . . one who can take the helm. Osiris Anchnesneferibre (the princess) will reckon (calculate, reason, w3d) with you concerning the secret which is in the Great Hall (w3s.t, of the palace) of the gods and will take along Osiris in his Ship of a Thousand, even with the two heads, so that by it he can mount to heaven and to the counter heaven."[59] This is our figure 4. Even more impressive is the way the Joseph Smith explanation seems to parrot everything the Worterbuch says about the Khabasu. According to the Worterbuch, h3-b3. s means: "Literally, 'a thousand-fold is her [the goddess of heaven] souls,' as a collective designation for the host of stars."[60][61]

[. . .]

The third most significant thing about figure 4, according to Joseph Smith, is its office in "answering to the measure of time," namely by the cycles and revolutions of the heavens. Since all these figures mark both the completion and initiation of various life cycles, time is of the essence and the figure of the Sokar-ship is the most important agent of coordination. It was at the sed-festival or jubilee that the bird was borne forth in procession on his ship. It is specifically figure 4 that coordinates the funereal with the astral them by virtue by its "calendrical" significance--that is, as the primordial measurement of time.[62][63]

Michael Rhodes:

A hawk in mummy wrappings with outspread wings, seated upon a boat. This can represent either Horus-Soped or Sokar, both hawk gods, which are symbolized by a mummiform hawk. One outstanding feature of this figure is its outspread wings, which are not normally found in representations of these two gods. The wings show a clear connection with Horus, the personification of the sky, as well as emphasizing the emerging of the the hawk from his mummy bindings in the resurrection. The association with Sokar, the ancient god of Memphis, is even more interesting. In the festival of Sokar, which was celebrated in many parts of Egypt, a procession was held in which the high priest would place the Sokar-boat on a sledge and pull it around the sanctuary. This procession symbolized the revolution of the sun and other celestial bodies. Joseph Smith sees here symbolism for the expanse or firmament of the heavens, which concept, as stated above, the Egyptians often represent by the hawk-god Horus. Joseph's explanation that this figure represents the revolutions of Kolob and Obilish agrees favorably with what we know of the use of the Sokar-boat in the festival of Sokar to represent the revolutions of the sun and other celestial bodies. Joseph also says that it is a numerical figure in Egyptian signifying one thousand. While this is not the standard hieroglyph for one thousand, there is a clear connection between the number one thousand and the ship of the dead. For example, in the Coffin Texts we read, “He takes the ship of 1000 cubits from end to end and sails it to the stairway of fire.” On the sarcophagus of the princess Anchenneferibre is found a description of the “Khabas in Heliopolis” and “Osiris in his ship of a thousand.” The term Khabas means “A Thousand is her souls” and refers to the starry hosts of the sky, confirming again Joseph Smith's explanation that it represents the expanse of the heavens.[64]

...and is said by the Egyptians to represent the Sun (Fig 5)

Pearl of Great Price Central, Insight #31: The Hathor Cow (Facsimile 2, Figure 5)

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

But Joseph Smith tells us that figure 5 is the Sun. No problem. From being the mother of the Sun with the new born disk rising between her horns--a design in evidence in prehistoric times--it was an easy step to becoming the Sun itself.[65] As early as the Old Kingdom, the cow appears "as the female equivalent of Re."[66] At Opet in Luxor, where the Mother-Cow was worshiped as Hathor of Coptus, she was called the Sun of the Two Worlds--that is, both of Horus the son of Osiris and Amun-Re the Sun of Thebes.[67] Her horns, flanked by the same two feathers that our figure 2 wears as the Sun at the zenith, showing that the cow resurrects the Sun as well as the human race.[68][69]

...which governs fifteen other fixed planes or stars...

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

In his discussion of the Book of the Cow in the royal tombs, Charles Maystre pays special attention to the Tutankhamun version, the most carefully executed of the Heavenly Cow pictures (see p. 324, fig. 38): “Along the belly of the cow are stars.”[70] These are set in a line; at the front end is the familiar solar-bark bearing the symbol of Shemsu, the following or entourage, and at the rear end of the line is another ship bearing the same emblem. Both boats are sailing in the same direction through the heavens. The number of stars varies among the cows; in the instructions contained in the tomb of Seti I, it is specified that there should be nine, though the three groups of three strokes each can, and often do, signify an innumerable host.[71]

The number here plainly belongs to the cow, but what about the fifteen stars? “The number fifteen cannot be derived from any holy number of the Egyptians,” writes Hermann Kees, and yet it presents “a surprising analogy” with the fifteen false doors in the great wall of the Djoser complex at Saqqara, which was designed by the great Imhotep himself, with the Festival of the Heavens of Heliopolis in mind, following the older pattern of the White Wall of the Thinite palace of Memphis.[72] Strangely enough this number fifteen keeps turning up all along, and nobody knows why, though it always represents passing from one gate or door to another. Long after Djoser, Amenophis III built a wall for his royal circumambulation at the sed-festival, marking the inauguration of a new age of the world; it also had fifteen gates.[73] In the funeral papyrus of Amonemsaf, in a scene in which the hawk comes from the starry heavens to minister to the mummy, “the illustration . . . is separated into two halves by the sign of the sky ” —the heaven above and the tomb below (fig. 31). Between the mummy and the depths and the hawk in the heaven, there are twelve red dots and fifteen stars.[74] Again, twelve is the best-known astral number, but why fifteen? One Egyptologist wrote years ago that “[t]he author’s impression is that these [the fifteen stars] are purely theological features without astronomical significance.”[75] “The ‘great Ennead which resides in Karnak’ swelled to fifteen members.”[76] It was structured in three phases: one became two, two became four, four became eight, which is fifteen altogether. Étienne Drioton associates this with the dividing of eternity in the drama of Edfu into years, years into months, and months into fifteen units, these units into hours, and they into minutes.[77] Furthermore the idea of fifteen mediums or conveyors may be represented on the fifteen limestone tablets of the Book of the Underworld found by Theodore Davies and Howard Carter in the tomb of Hatshepsut.[78] Let us recall that the basic idea, as Joseph Smith explains it, is that “fifteen other fixed planets or stars” act as a medium for conveying “the governing power.” Coming down to a later time of the Egyptian gnostics, we find the fifteen helpers (παραστάται, parastatai) of the seven virgins of light in the Coptic Pistis Sophia, who “expanded themselves in the regions of the twelve saviors and the rest of the angels of the midst; each according to its glory will rule with me in an inheritance of light.”[79] In an equally interesting Coptic text, 2 Jeu, there are also fifteen parastatai who serve with “the seven virgins of the light” who are with the “father of all fatherhoods, . . . in the Treasury of the Light.”[80] They are the light virgins who are “in the middle or the midst (μέσος, mesos),” meaning that they are go-betweens.[81] Parastatai are those who conduct one through a series of ordinances, just as the fifteen stars receive and convey light.

In all this we never get away from cosmology and astronomy. In the Old Slavonic Secrets of Enoch, “four great stars, each having one thousand stars under it,” go with “fifteen myriads of angels,”[82] all moving, to quote Joseph Smith, together with “the Moon, the Earth, and the Sun in their annual revolutions.” In the Book of Gates, one of those mystery texts reserved for the most secret rites of the greatest kings, we see, as Gustave Jéquier describes it, “a long horizontal bar with a bull’s head at either end, supported by eight mummiform personages, and carrying seven other genies” (fig. 32).[83]These fifteen figures are designated as carriers or bearers (f.w), and the bar is the body of the bull extended to give them all room. A rope enters the bull’s mouth at one end and exits at the other, and on the end of this rope there is a sun-bark being towed by a total of eight personages designated as stars.[84] Just as the ship travels through the fifteen conveyor stars on the underside of the cow, the two heads of the bull make him interchangeable with the two-headed lion Aker, or Ruty, who guards the gate. “Aker,” writes Jéquier, “is a personification of the gates of the earth by which the sun must pass in the evening and in the morning.”[85] He is the same as the two-headed Janus, the gate-god, whom we have already met.[86]

Michael Rhodes regarding all of Fig 5:

A cow wearing a sun disk and double plumes with a menit-necklace (symbol of Hathor, Ihet, etc.). This is the cow Ihet mentioned in chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead, which should be drawn on a piece of new papyrus to make a hypocephalus. Hence this picture of a cow is common to almost all hypocephali. Ihet is a form of Hathor, a personification of the original waters from which the whole of creation arose and the one who gave birth to the sun. She is also connected with Mehweret (Greek methyr), another cow goddess who symbolized the sky and is the celestial mother by whom the sun is reborn each day. The name Mehweret (Me-wr.t) means, “Great fullness,” i.e., the primeval waters from which Re, the Sun, first arose. Standing behind the cow is the goddess Wedjat who is holding a lotus blossom, the symbol of rebirth, here indicating the daily and annual renewal of the sun. Joseph Smith's explanation that this is the sun is in agreement with the Egyptian symbolism. Of various names used here by Joseph, I can find an equivalent only for Hah-ko-kau-beam, which is recognizable as the Hebrew הַכּוֹכָבִים (hakôkābîm) “the stars.” But again as stated above, strange, incomprehensible names are typical of this class of Egyptian religious documents.[87]

Earth in its four quarters (Fig 6)

Pearl of Great Price Central, Insight #32: The Four Sons of Horus (Facsimile 2, Figure 6)

Joseph correctly identified the four canopic jars in figure 6 as the earth in its four quarters. Non-LDS Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge has translated it in the same way. As he wrote:

The four children of Horus played a very important role in the funeral works of the early dynasties; they originally represented the four supports of heaven, but very soon each was regarded as the god of one of the four quarters of the earth, and also of that quarter of the heavens which was above it.[88]

LDS Scholars have also cited the work of Maarten Raven, a non-LDS Egyptologist, to support Joseph's explanation.[89]

Michael Rhodes:

These four standing, mummy-like figures are the four Sons of Horus. They were the gods of the four quarters of the earth and later came to be regarded as presiding over the four cardinal points. They also were guardians of the viscera of the dead, and their images were carved on the four canopic jars into which the internal organs of the dead were placed.

Joseph Smith is right again describing these figures as representing “this earth in its four quarters.”

To the right of these four figures is the name of a god written with a lotus blossom, a lion, and a ram (Egyptian srpt-mai-sr). These three signs are thought to symbolize the gods of the rising, midday, and setting sun, i.e. Re, Khepri, and Atum. This same god is found in several different passages of the late Egyptian demotic papyrus, which refers to Abraham. Joseph Smith gives no explanation of this hieroglyphic name, but it is clearly associated with Abraham in this ancient document.[90]

Represents god sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove (Figure 7)

Pearl of Great Price Central, Insight #33: God Sitting Upon This Throne (Facsimile 2, Figure 7)

The God "Min" appears to have been "made to represent God sitting upon his throne" while the wedjat eye was used to represent the power of the Priesthood, and Nehebkau, the bird-like/serpent-like God being made to represent the Holy Ghost. See John Gee's discussion above for the adaptation of birds to represent angels or other heavenly messengers:

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

The epithet of Min is "He of the upraised hand," and his identification is the flail and the erect phallus with which he appears in the oldest known Egyptian statue--he is always in human form.[91] They are also signs of procreation. Min was intimately related to the god Amun, and Amun was probably derived from him.[92] "Amun is the other self of Min; . . . his high priest was called 'The Opener of the Gates of Heaven,' while the high priest of Min at Letopolis was the 'Opener of the Mouth upon the Earth,' i.e., the mortals here on earth upon whom the heavenly power was conferred."[93] The Greeks and Romans associated him with Pan and Priapus.[94] Min is the "Creator god who made the heaven and brought forth the gods, who made the earth and created men . . . and who keeps all things alive."[95]

[. . .]

But most especially the eye belongs to the king and to kingship. Osiris gets the eye back after Horus has rescued it for him; he needs it to rule the kingdom below as Horus and Re need it to rule on earth and in heaven.[96] The eye was, according to Griffiths, the Eye of Horus.[97]

The eye fills the king completely;[98] it purifies him,[99] it gives him special knowledge, visionary power.[100] It exalts the king and places him at the head of the Greater and Lesser Councils.[101] [. . .] In the Pyramid Texts the fusion of his king's nature with God of heaven takes place when his statue is crowned with the moon-eye of Upper Egypt and the sun-eye of Lower Egypt, and then is anointed, passing through the middle chamber of stars into a room in which heaven was scenically depicted."[102] It is the ultimate supreme power over men and gods.[103] Its power is especially protective, encircling the king.[104] [. . .] With all its power, the wedjat is an important element in the ordinances. The functions of the wedjat-eye are combined in the anointing oil, both as the oil of heating that revives the smitten hero,[105] and as the very precious oil used in the ordinances of anointing the brow or breast, specifically to bestow authority and power.[106] It is the anointing which transforms the nature of the individual.[107] All this is in the wedjat eye itself, which by anointing imparts soul and body, restoration, joy, and thankfulness with its obligation of obedience.[108]

In other ordinances it is the food of the sacrament, the wedjat-eye is the power of the bread which fills, revives, and strengthens the king.[109] It is the strength given by sacramental food.[110] [. . .]

By now it should be clear to any Latter-day Saint reader that the elusive wedjat-eye, intimately familiar yet strangely elusive, is a symbol of that equally common all-but-indefinable power called the priesthood.[111]

Michael Rhodes:

A seated ithyphallic god with a hawk's tail, holding aloft a flail. This is a form of Min, the god of the regenerative, procreative forces of nature, perhaps combined with Horus, as the hawk's tail would seem to indicate. Before the god is what appears to be a bird presenting him with a Wedjat-eye, the symbol of all good gifts. In other hypocephali it can also be an ape, a snake, or a hawk-headed snake that is presenting the eye. This figure represents Nehebka, a snake god and one of the judges of the dead in the 125th chapter of the Book of the Dead. Nehebka was considered to be a provider of life and nourishment and as such was often shown presenting a pair of jars or a Wedjat-eye. As for the bird found in Facsimile 2, this could symbolize the Ba or soul (which the Egyptians often represented as a bird) presenting the Wedjat-eye to the seated god.

Joseph Smith said this figure represented God sitting upon his throne revealing the grand key-words of the priesthood. The connection of the Wedjat-eye with “the grand key-words of the priesthood” was discussed above. Joseph also explained there was a representation of the sign of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove. The Egyptians commonly portrayed the soul or spirit as a bird, so a bird is an appropriate symbol for the Holy Ghost.

[The wedjat eye can also symbolize] healing, light, totality, protection, glory, and even riches.[112]

Contains writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God; Ought not to be revealed at the present time; Also; Also. If the world can find out these numbers, so let it be. Amen (Figures 8-11)

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Joseph Smith explained that the three lines of text, figures 8-11, contain "writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God" and "ought not to be revealed at the present time." These lines contain a prayer to Osiris, the god of the dead, to grant life to the owner of this hypocephalus. A common theme of all Egyptian funerary literature is the resurrection of the dead and their glorification and deification in the afterlife, which is certainly a central element of our own temple ceremony.

There follows a transcription, transliteration, and translation of figures 8-11. (11) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 11] (10) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 10] (9) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 9] (8) [Series of Egyptian hieroglyphs from figure 8] (11) I ntr sdr. m sp (10) tpy, ntr '3 nb p.t, t3, (9) dw3.t, mw=f '3, (8) d3 'nh b3 Wsir Ssq. (11) O God of the Sleeping Ones[113] from the time of (10) the creation.[114] O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, (9) of the hereafter, and of his great waters,[115] (8) may the soul of Osiris[116] Shishaq[117] be granted life.

As stated above, this is a prayer or plea of Shishaq, the owner of the hypocephalus, to Osiris, the god of the dead, who is the Lord of all things, to grant him eternal life.[118]

Michael Rhodes:

Joseph Smith explained that the remaining figures contained writings that cannot be revealed to the world. Stressing the secrecy of these things is entirely in harmony with Egyptian religious documents such as the hypocephalus and the 162nd chapter of the Book of the Dead. For example, we read in the 162nd chapter of the Book of the Dead, “This is a great and secret book. Do not allow anyone's eyes to see it!” Joseph also says line 8 “is to be had in the Holy Temple of God.” Line 8 reads, “Grant that the soul of the Osiris, Shishaq, may live (eternally).” Since the designated purpose of the hypocephalus was to make the deceased divine, it is not unreasonable to see here a reference to the sacred ordinances performed in our Latter-day temples. [Figures 8-11 should actually be read from Figure 11 to Figure 8. Altogether it reads, "(Fig.11) O God of the Sleeping Ones from the time of the creation. (Fig.10) O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, (Fig.9) of the hereafter, and of his great waters, (Fig.8) may the soul of the Osiris Shishaq be granted life."][119]

Figures 16, 17...will be given in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

There are other such sentiments, but none of them at all like that in the Joseph Smith hypocephalus. These two passages take the form of half a dozen formulae in the various hypocephali consistent with their position at the very bottom of the world: (1) The theme of light coming into the darkness, the best known of all; (2) a warning to one in danger; (3) the assurance “you are secure” (written with the djed-column); (4) the stock flame-under-the-head statement; (5) snatches from conventional statements found in hypocephali in general such as “you go where you want,” etc. (6) But the Joseph Smith readings are the most interesting, backed up as they are by the carefully composed Leiden and Ashmolean hypocephali.

The clue to these two lines is a recent study by Hans Goedicke. Most of line 17 is taken up by the significant expression b pn ḥnʿ nb=f. This particular formula, as Goedicke points out, citing examples, emphasizes “the continuous company between man and his ba . . . [and] reflects a continuous link.”[120] For example: “When I hurry to the caves, may my ba be still with me”[121]and “While I sleep my ba watches over my body.”[122] Just so Re watches over the sleeping Osiris. The idea of course is that the ba continues after death “to remain in contact with its former lord.” To achieve that unbroken contact between spirit and body against the moment of resurrection is of course the main purpose of the hypocephalus; or as Goedicke puts it, “the implicit motive for the desired contact between ba and corpse is the hope for a reunification of the disintegrated person in a physical rebirth.”[123] The subject of Goedicke’s special study is the famous “Lebensmüde,” or as Goedicke renders it, “The Report about the Dispute of the Man with his Ba” —perhaps the most impressive of all Egyptian theological compositions. Though the idea here treated “occurs repeatedly in all periods of Egyptian culture,” the “Lebensmüde” is the earliest and most moving exposition.[124] But the Joseph Smith version carries the theme farther. The whole inscription reads:

(17) [Egyptian hieroglyphs] (16) [Egyptian hieroglyphs]
(17) ḥ.t th.t, n, (16) nn tḥ.tw b pn ḥnʿ nbf m dw.t ḏ.t
(17) May this tomb never be desecrated,[125] (16) and may this soul and its owner never be desecrated in the hereafter.

The word ḥ.t refers to the tomb[126] or, more precisely, the tomb shaft.[127] Most hypocephali bear the name of their owner at least once, and it is his tomb that this passage is supposed to protect. The next word is "thἰ," to overstep, transgress; desecrate.[128] The concern here is that the deceased body which is in the tomb as well as his spirit (ba) which is in the netherworld, not be disturbed or desecrated, which would prevent their ultimate reuniting in a resurrection. As [the] Coffin Texts explain, all the parts of the physical body will be brought together with the soul, and the person will be “reestablished” in his original form.[129] The eternity motif means that the person is not stuck in the netherworld forever, but rather the body and spirit are reunited, and the person can “live forever.”[130][131]

Figure...18...will be given in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Another tradition suggested by the rim is the significance of the solar circle as the year-circle or shenen, the course of the sun in his rounds. Alan H. Gardiner explains, “Strictly speaking, the loop would be round. . . . The Egyptians called the cartouche šnw from a verb-stem šnἰ, ‘encircle,’ and it seems not unlikely that the idea was to represent the king as ‘ruler of all that which is encircled by the sun,’ a frequently expressed notion.”[132]

The commonest Egyptian sign for eternity is read nḥḥ , a solar disk between two twisted hanks of hemp. ḥḥ is the common root for “many,” “very many,” “a million”; with the sun-disk (the time element) added it means eternal and eternally in the end formula of countless inscriptions, nḥḥ ḥnʿ ḏ.t, “for time and eternity.”[133] The point of all this is that the combination of šn and ḥḥ with vowels supplied can be read as Shinehah, which according to Joseph Smith designates “Shinehah, which is the sun,” with reference to its motion relative to that of the other heavenly bodies (Abraham 3:13) and signifies “one eternal round.”

The Amun inscriptions encircling the hypocephali deal with the transmission of heat, light, and power. In the Meux hypocephalus rim inscription Amun states, “I have come forth from the wedjat-eye. . . . I have come forth from the netherworld with Re (the sun),”[134] the hypocephalus itself being the means by which light and heat are transmitted from their celestial source to the individual whose head rests upon it. Amun is commonly implored in the rim inscriptions to “turn his face toward the body of so-and-so,”[135] to warm and preserve it through the virtue of Re. The hypocephalus as a transmitter of both heat and light was to make available to one in the netherworld the life-giving force of the sun.[136]

Figures.....19, 20, and 21 will be given in in the own due time of the Lord

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

The text found in figures 19-21 are as follows: (21) [Egyptian hieroglyphs] (20) [Egyptian hieroglyphs] (19) [Egyptian hieroglyphs]

(21) iw wnn=k (20) m ntr pf (19) dd.wy.

(21) You shall ever be (20) as that God, (19) the Busirian.[137]

This continues the overall theme of the hypocephalus, and indeed Egyptian funerary literature in general. The deceased is promised that he will be like Osiris--he will be resurrected and live eternally as a god.[138]

This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob.

Hugh Nibley and Michael Rhodes:

Inseparable from our figure 1 are the reverential apes on either side of him—figures 22 and 23 (see appendix 2). On other hypocephali they are sometimes two in number, sometimes four, six, or eight; sometimes standing and sometimes seated. They are identified as stars. As early as the Pyramid Texts, they are designated as “the Beloved Sons” of Sothis/Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.[139] It is assumed that the position of the apes shows them warming their hands as they greet the rays of the rising sun after the cold desert night and seeming to shield their eyes from the glory of the sunrise. So they are stars receiving light from a greater star, as Joseph Smith’s explanation declares. There was nothing to indicate to Joseph Smith that they are stars, yet along with the Pyramid Texts we have a vignette in the 17th chapter of the Book of the Dead in which each of these apes is preceded by a star (fig. 22).[140]

[. . .]

Horopollo tells us that the special office of the apes was to function as timekeepers or time-reckoners.[141]The sitting cynocephalus, according to him, at each equinox urinates twelve times a day and twelve times a night; during the rest of the year he gives a cry twelve times a day on the hour, every hour.[142]The seated ape, then, is in charge of both the water clock and scales (fig. 24). In the Ptolemaic period the Egyptians wrote the determinative of the word for “hour,” wnw.t , by a heart-shaped plumb bob suspended from a carpenter’s square (see p. 253, fig. 26).[143] The purpose of this was to make sure that the post supporting the scale was perfectly upright, as is shown in Joseph Smith Papyrus IV. This new element suggests that the apes which face each other, worshipping the central figure both on the morning side and the evening side on all hypocephali (Fac. 2, figs. 22 and 23), establish among other things a sense of perfect balance in the universe—time, space, and matter are all measurably related. Finally, each of our apes is crowned with a disk and a crescent, the meeting of the sun and the moon at the New Moon marking the beginning of the month; the best-known office of the cynocephalus apes is in representing Thoth as the moon-god (see color plate 2).[144]

Hah-Ko-kau-beam (Fig 23)

John Tvedtnes:

Abraham 3:13 defines Kokob as “star” and Kokaubeam as “stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.” When first published in the Times & Seasons, the passage read “Kolob” in error. They’d written Kolob so many times that the typesetter thought that’s what belonged here. The manuscripts however have Kokob corresponding to the Hebrew word that we have written here kōkāb and denotes in the one singular and the other in the plural. The plural is also found two other times in the Book of Abraham and it’s called in Facsimile 2, Fig. 5 and also Abraham 3:16 it lists Kokaubeam or kōkābīm in Hebrew. The correct pronunciation (inaudible) means “the” so it’s “the stars.” Lundquist noted that one of the deities in Deimel’s list was Kakob meaning “star”. Similar, Kakkab is the name of one of the god’s mentioned in the Ebla records discovered in northwestern Syria.

Michael Rhodes on Fig 22 and 23:

A seated deity with two (or in most hypocephali, four) ram's heads. He is holding in his hand the symbols of life (onu), dominion (was) and stability (jd). On either side of the god are two apes (numbers 22 and 23) with horned moon-disks on their heads, in an attitude of adoration. There are also two serpents, one on either side of the seated deity. The god is sitting at the center of the hypocephalus, which, as was mentioned above, represents the world....

The apes can represent Thoth, the god of writing and wisdom, as well as the moon, but due to their curious habit of holding up their hands to receive the first warming rays of the sun after the cold desert night as if worshiping the sun at its rising, they are often found in connection with the sun. Besides these solar and lunar associations, apes are also found associated with stars and constellations. Joseph Smith says they are stars receiving light from Kolob, which is in harmony with our understanding of their symbolism in Egyptian.

[The writing near Fig. 22 reads]: The name of this Mighty God.... The Egyptians believed that every god and goddess had a secret name. If anyone could find out this name, he would have power over the god or goddess.[145]

Abraham and the Temple Endowment (Themes of Facsimile 2 and especially figures 8-20)

Hugh Nibley likened the temple endowment to the version of the Book of Breathings Made by Isis contained in the Joseph Smith papyri. The document is organized as follows:

  • The purpose of the document is given.
  • The individual is pronounced clean and enters the hall of justice.
  • The individual enters the underworld with the setting sun and is divinized.
  • The individual is resurrected and given personal permission to live among the gods.
  • The individual is assured of a fully functioning body and proceeds on the way of God.
  • The individual is given a name and allowed to partake of the offerings.
  • The gods escort the individual to various sacred places.
  • Various gods protect the individual from sickness.
  • The individual is allowed to fellowship with the Gods.
  • The individual is inducted into a chapel in the temple to celebrate a festival.
  • The individual will live by the fellowship permit he has received, and his enemies will no longer exist.
  • The gods tell the individual that because he is among the followers of god, his soul will live forever.
  • The gods command that all doors be open to the individual.
  • An offering formula is recited.
  • Different gods are addressed, and the individual states that he is free from various sins. "He gave bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and clothing to the naked.
  • The individual is commanded to enter the next life with all the privileges of the gods.
  • Instructions for the deposition of the document are given.[146]


  1. Peter Le Page Renouf, "Two-sided Hypocephalus in the Walter L. Nash Collection," PBSA 19 (April 1897): 144–46, plate 2.
  2. Herodotus, Histories 2.46
  3. Ibid., 2.42
  4. Hans Bonnet, Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1953), 870.
  5. Ibid., Kurt Sethe, "Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-romischen Zeit," Urkunden des agyptiscen Altertums 2 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1904-16), 51.
  6. Mendes Stela, in Kurt Sethe, Hieroglyphische Urkunden der griechisch-romischen Zeit (Amsterdam: Leopold, 2017), 28.
  7. Seigfried Schott, Urkunden mythologischen Inhalts, Urkundedn des agyptiscen Alterums 6 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929), 74–75.
  8. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 868.
  9. Hugh Nibley and Michael D. Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 236, 238.
  10. Robert Ritner has called the linking of one day to a cubit "specious. See Robert K. Ritner, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition (Salt Lake City: Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2011), 221. This was written before this article from Hollis Johnson. Perhaps this may satisfy some skepticism.
  11. Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston: Godine, 1977), 8.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 256.
  14. George H. Box, ed. and trans., The Apocalypse of Abraham (New York: Macmillan, 1918), 16; but this angel was also called Metatron or Enoch; see Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 2nd ed., CWHN 14 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book Company and FARMS, 2000), 44, fig 4.
  15. Eliyahu Rosh-Pinnah, "The Sefer Yetzirah and the Original Tetragrammaton," JQR 57 (1967): 223.
  16. Phineas Mordell, "The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the Sefer Yezirah," JGR 2 (1912): 567.
  17. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 256–258; Robert Ritner has disputed this as follows: "Apologists Michael Rhodes and John Gee have sought to defend Smith's explanation of 'Jah-oh-eh' as 'O the earth', although this is impossible both by phonetics (with three h's) and sense (3ht; "arable field" is not used to indicate the whole earth)[.]" Ritner's assessment seems to lack room for assessing what system of transliteration Joseph is using for this. Also, if we see the figure again it reads "called by the Egyptians" not "meaning, in ancient Egyptian." What Egyptians are we using as a reference point? What language are they speaking? These are things Ritner does not seem to take into account. Regarding Ritner's comments specifically about "arable land," what else does Joseph have to render it as? Are "earth" and "arable land" really so far from each other as to reasonably conclude that Joseph Smith translated this wrong? This seems pedantic on the part of Ritner. This etymology from Hugh Nibley disregards Egyptian entirely and proposes one in Semitic roots, moving in a different direction from Gee and Rhodes. This may open better lines of inquiry.
  18. Michael Rhodes "An Interpretation of Facsimile 2," <> (13 March 2019)
  19. Renouf, "Two-sided Hypocephalus," 144-46.
  20. Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), 202–3.
  21. BM 37330
  22. Gasto Maspero, "Sur l'ennéade: Bulletin critique de la religion égyptienne," Revue de l'histoire des religions 25 (1892): 1.
  23. August von Pauly and Georg Wissowa, Paulys Real-Encyclopodiae der classichen Altertumswissenschaft, 1st and 2nd ser., 33 vols. (Stuttgary; Metzler, 1893-1978), 1.2:1855.
  24. BD 17, English translation in Raymond O. Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead (London: British Museum Publications, 1985), 44.
  25. Rudolf Anthes, ". . . in seinem Namen und im Sonnenlicht. . .," ZAS 90 (1963):4.
  26. Alexandre Moret, Le ritual du culte divin journalier en Egypte d'apres les papyrus de Berlin et les textes du temple de Seti ler, a Abydos (Paris: Leroux, 1902), 148–49.
  27. Rudolf Anthes, ". . . in seinem Namen und im Sonnenlich. . .," ZAS 90 (1963): 4.
  28. BD 17, English translation in Faulkner, Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, 44.
  29. Renouf, "Two-Sided Hypocephalus," 144–46, plate 2.
  30. Oswalrd Spengler, Der Unergang des Abendlandes: Umrisse eitnerMorphologie der Weltgeschichete, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Braumuller, 1918-22); Gertrud Thausing and Traudl Kertszt-Kratschmann, Das grosse ayptische Totenbuch (Papyrus Reinish) der Papyrussammling der osterreichischen Nationalbibliothick (Cairo: Osterreichisches Kulturinstitut, 1969), 19–22.
  31. Ovid, Fasti, 1:99
  32. Ovid, Fasti, 1:228
  33. Ovid, Fasti, 1:139
  34. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 267–68.
  35. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  36. Nibley wasn't referring to Ritner, but as a fun example, Robert Ritner wrote the following in "The Joseph Smith Papyri: A Complete Edition": "Smith's statement that Amon (Fig 7.) is 'God sitting upon his throne' was an easy guess." In his references attached to it we read: "Also used in the explanation of the intrusive 'Fig. 3.'" See Ritner, The Joseph Smith Papyri, 224.
  37. Raymond O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 54.
  38. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 559. See also James P. Allen, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 579; Wikipedia "Was-sceptre," <> (11 November 2018).
  39. Ritner protests that Nibley may not have known that the figure was copied from either papyri in Ritner, "The Joseph Smith Papyri", 219. Yet, Nibley addressed it first thing as part of his discussion of Figure 3 in "One Eternal Round". While it may be true that Nibley did not acknowledge this in his early work, he most certainly did in later work.
  40. Philadelphia 29-86-436.
  41. P. Louvre N. 3525 A1/3.
  42. BM 37095 (formerly 8445a).
  43. Cairo SR 10695.
  44. Brussels E 6319 (see appendix 6 of Nibley's book)
  45. Brussels E 6319 (see appendix 6 of Nibley's book)
  46. Brussels E 6319 (see appendix 6 of Nibley's book)
  47. Brussels E 6319 (see appendix 6), P. Louvre N. 3181, P. Louvre N. 3525 A1/3, P. Louvre N. 2526, Edinburgh 1956-48, Leiden AMS 62 (see appendix 5).
  48. Torino 16347.
  49. Ashmolean 1982-1095; Leiden AMS 62 (see appendix 5).
  50. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 270–71, 277–78.
  51. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  52. Rudolf Anthes, "Egyptian Theology in the Third Millennium B.C.," JNES 18 (1959): 171; a full-scale photo is in Reginald Engelbach, "An Alleged Winged Sun-disk of the First Dynasty," ZAS 65 (1930): 115-16, plate opposite page 114; see Hugh Nibley, "A Pioneer Mother," Abraham in Egypt (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 509, fig. 86.
  53. Hermann Kees, Der Gotterglaube im alten Agypten (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1941) 42–43.
  54. Notice the reference to stars here. This ties with Abraham and his covenant seed.
  55. Alexandre Piankoff, The Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon (New York: Pantheon Books, 1955), 96–98.
  56. PT 434 (SS784-85)
  57. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 279–81.
  58. Erik Hornung, Das Tal der Konige (Augsburg, Germany: Weltbild, 1998), 135; see Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, 65, fig. 12.
  59. Constantin E. Sander-Hansen, Die relgiosen Texte auf dem Sarg der Anchenesferibre (Cop enhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, 1937), 36-37.
  60. Wb 3:230, 1.
  61. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 282–83; This argument has been disputed by Robert Ritner. He rebuts as follows in Ritner, The Joseph Smith Papyri, 221: "Nibley sought to defend Joseph Smith's 'explanation' of this figure by reference to the solar boat (not the depicted Sokar barque) as being 'a ship of 1000 cubits' and thus 'a numeral figure, in Egyptian signifying a thousand.' Neither barque, however, is used in Egyptian texts as a 'numeral figure' and the more common designation of the solar boat is in fact 'the barque of millions'--not 1000. As elsewhere, Nibley did not evaluate Smith's statements objectively; but sought out any possible defense, no matter how farfetched." Ritner's assessment does not seem to take into account Nibley's statements about Nut even though One Eternal Round is cited here where Ritner makes his counterargument. Here we have examples from Nibley where the barque was, in a sense, used as a numeral figure to mean "a thousand" in Egyptian texts—as an epithet of the Goddess Nut. Ritner also makes clear here that one million was the more common designation—indicating that 1000 is still not outside the realm of possibility.
  62. Philippe Derchain, "La peche de l'oreil et les mysteres d'Osiris a Dendara," RdE (1963): 13–14.
  63. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 283.
  64. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  65. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 281.
  66. Ibid., 280
  67. Maxence de Rochemonteix, "Le temple d'Apte ou est engendre l'Osiris thebain," Oeuvres diverses, Gaston Maspero, ed., BE 3 (Paris: Leroux, 1894), 258.
  68. Gustave Jequier, Considerations sur les religions egyptiennes (Neuchatel: Baconniere, 1946), 219.
  69. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 293–94.
  70. Charles Maystre, “Le Livre de la Vache du Ciel dans les tombeaux de la Vallée des Rois,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 40 (1941): 109.
  71. Edouard Naville, “La destruction des hommes par les dieux,” Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 4: plate B, col. 45.
  72. Hermann Kees, “Die 15 Scheintüren am Grabmal,” ZÄS 88 (1963): 110–11.
  73. Ibid., 111.
  74. Alexandre Piankoff, “The Funerary Papyrus of the Shieldbearer Amon-m-saf in the Louvre Museum,” Egyptian Religion 3 (1935): 134.
  75. Herbert Chatley, “Egyptian Astronomy,” JEA 26 (1941): 125.
  76. W. J. Murnane, United with Eternity: A Concise Guide to the Monuments of Medinet Habu (Cairo: Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, 1980), 61–62.
  77. Étienne Drioton, Le texte dramatique d’Edfu (Cairo: IFAO, 1949), 23.
  78. Described by Siegfried Schott, Die Schrift der verborgenen Kammer in Königsgräbern der 18. Dynastie: Gliederung, Titel und Vermerke (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1958), 323.
  79. Pistis Sophia, 86, 194.
  80. Second Jeu 44, in Carl Schmidt, The Books of Jeu and the Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex (Leiden: Brill, 1978), 105.
  81. Pistis Sophia, 86, 194.
  82. Secrets of Enoch 11:4–5.
  83. Jéquier, Considérations sur les religions égyptiennes, 172–73.
  84. Ibid.
  85. Ibid., 173; see Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 2005), 394, fig. 126.
  86. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 295-99.
  87. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  88. E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Magic (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1958), 90-91.
  89. Maarten J. Raven, “Egyptian Concepts of the Orientation of the Human Body,” Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Egyptologists (2007), 2:1569–70. Ritner has sought to dismiss this explanation as follows in Ritner, The Joseph Smith Papyri, 224: "In keeping with Smith's interpretation of the hypocephalus as an astronomical document, he explains the four sons of Horus (Fig. 6) as simply 'the earth in its four quarters.' While any group of four can have directional relevance, that is hardly the pivotal significance of these protectors of the embalmed viscera (lungs, liver, stomach, and intestines)." Ritner recognizes that many, if not most, Egyptologists recognize that these four gods can have directional significance. The four Sons of Horus were associated with cardinal direction points , so that Hapi was the north, Imsety the south, Duamutef the east and Qebehsenuef the west. See Manfred Lurker, Lexikon der Götter und Symbole der alten Ägypter (Bern, Switzerland: Scherz, 1974), 104. See also Wikipedia, "The Four Sons of Horus," <> (27 May 2020).
  90. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  91. Bonnet, Reallexikon der agyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 461.
  92. Gerald A. Wainwright, "The Emblem of Min," JEA 17 (1931): 185
  93. Wainwright, "Emblem of Min," 170.
  94. Ibid., 464.
  95. Ibid., 463
  96. PT 356 (579)
  97. J. Gwyn Griffiths, "Remarks on the Mythology of the Eyes of Horus," Chronique d'Egypte 33, no. 66 (1958): 191.
  98. PT 198 (114)
  99. PT 258 (308); 259 (312).
  100. PT 638 (1805)
  101. PT 468(901); 523 (1231).
  102. Joachim Spiegel, Das Auferstehungsritual der Unas-Pyramide (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1971), 389–93; PT 301 (451); see Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, 119, fig. 30.
  103. PT 200-221 (195)
  104. PT 200-221 (195)
  105. PT 74-76 (51)
  106. PT 621 (1754); 637 (1803); 639 (1809)
  107. PT 72-73 (50); 74-76 (51); 77 (52)
  108. PT 687 (2074-77)
  109. PT 199 (115)
  110. PT186-90 (107-8) and PT 197 (113)
  111. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 304-05, 319, 321.
  112. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  113. I.e., the dead; see Wb 4:392, 9.
  114. Literally "the first time." See Wb 3:438, 1.
  115. The primeval ocean from which the sun rose on the day of creation and which surrounds the earth. See Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961), 114. A similar phrase is found in one of the Demotic magical papyri, r-wn n=y p3 t3 r-wn n=y t3 tw3.t r-wn n=y p3 nwn, "Open the earth for me, open the netherworld for me, open the primeval waters for me." F. Llewellyn Griffith and Herbert Thompson, The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden (London: Grevel, 1905), line I 5.
  116. On the identification of the dead with Osiris, see Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion, 103-5; Robert Ritner in his translation renders "soul" as "ba-spirit" in Ritner, The Joseph Smith Papyri, 222. The translation is accurate, yet distinction does not bare significant weight to interpretation. "Ba" was simply apart of the Egyptian pronunciation for "soul". The ancient Egyptians believed that a soul (kꜣ/bꜣ; Egypt. pron. ka/ba) was made up of many parts. See Wikipedia, "Ancient Egyptian Concept of the Soul," <> (7 July 2020).
  117. Shishaq or Sheshonq was the name of several Egyptian pharaohs of the Twenty-first Dynasty, the Libyan Dynasty.
  118. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 327.
  119. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  120. Hans Goedicke, The Report about the Dispute of a Man with His Ba, papyrus Berlin 3024 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970), 33.
  121. CT 249 in Adriaan de Buck, The Egyptian Coffen Texts, 7 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935-61), 3:323g-324a
  122. CT 229, in de Buck, Egyptan Coffin Texts, 3:296i
  123. Goedicke, Report about the Dispute of a Man with His Ba, 33
  124. Ibid., 58.
  125. Emending o nn h3.t tn. Similar passages, but even more garble, are found in th British Museum hyocephalid BM 35875 (8445c), BM 37908 (3445f), and BM 37909(8445d).
  126. Wb 3:12, 19; Faulkner, Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 160.
  127. Rainer Hannig, Grosses Handworterbuch Agyptisch-Beutsch: Die Sprache der Pharaonen (2800-950 v. Chr.) (Mainz: von Zabern, 1995), 503.
  128. Ibid., 937
  129. CT 20, in de Buck, Egyptian Coffin Texts, 1:56-58
  130. PT 11 (8)
  131. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 329–31.
  132. Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 74.
  133. See Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papri, 228–32, fig 68.
  134. Brussels E 6319
  135. E.g., Florence hypocephalus, Bologna B2025, BM 36188 (8445e), P. Louvre AF 1936
  136. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 333–34.
  137. dd.wy is a disbe adjective formation of Dd.w, Busiris, a cult center of Osiris in the Delta, and thus used as an epithet of Osiris. Cf. Wb 5:630, 7.
  138. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 345; This translation is retained in Ritner, The Joseph Smith Papyri, 220.
  139. PT 569 (1437)
  140. BD 17; see vignette in Raymond O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, rev. ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1985)
  141. Horopollo, Hieroglyphica 1.16
  142. Ibid.
  143. Wb 1:316; see Ludwig Borchardt, Die altagyptische Zeitmessung, Band 1, Liefeung B of Die Geschicht der Zeitmessung und derUhren, hrg. Ernst von Bassermann-Jordan (Berlin: de Gruyetr, 1920), 52B, Abb. 24 (plumb bob glyphs).
  144. Nibley and Rhodes, One Eternal Round, 242–46.
  145. Rhodes, "An Interpretation," <>
  146. List obtained from John Gee, “Book of Breathings,” Pearl of Great Price Reference Companion, Dennis L. Largey, ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2017), 69. Citing Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002).