The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 86 of 133
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The true title of this great book is "Per-em-hou", "The book of the coming forth by
day", from the title of the first chapter. Several chapters are devoted to amulets. For
example, a ladder symbolized the ladder by which Osiris ascended to heaven. When the
deceased needed a ladder, he simply recited the chapter of the ladder, and he has a ladder
to hand as long as he may need. Man in the Egyptian conception is a very complex
organization.  The material part of man was called the khat or body, through
mummification and the due recitation of prayers that body became possessed of
knowledge, power, and glory whereby it became incorruptible. This glorified body was
called a sku. One text from this section reads, "my flesh germinateth". A man also had
an abstract personality, a ghostly double, a genius. This was called ka. Provision was
made in the tomb for the ka, in the shape of food and drink. A statue was made to
represent the deceased, and after a ceremonial, the ka was supposed to enter it. This ka or
double could leave the statue and wander abroad. It could even take up its abode in the
body of a man from whom his own ka had temporarily gone forth. Thus spiritism and
demon possession were rendered quite easy. It is very probable that a reference to the ka
is found in Jer. 7: 18, and 44: 19, the "cakes" or small images of dough are in the
Hebrew khavan, Greek khapanos or khabon, which through the Latin still exists in the
"hot cross bun" of so called "Good Friday". Lev. 19: 28 says, "Ye shall not imprint
upon yourselves any tracing of an image", the word "marks" (A.V.) being qa-qa.
The hearts or ab was the seat of life and fountain of good and evil thoughts. This
heart was dual, material and spiritual. The spiritual could be stolen by magic. Connected
with the ka was the sekhem or vital power, while the mental and spiritual attributes were
grouped in the khu. The khu seems to have been a shining intangible essence, and seems
to correspond to our word spirit.
The ba was the everlasting part of man and meant the soul. A text of the fifth dynasty
reads, "Ba ar pet, sat ar ta," "Soul to heaven, body to earth." The souls was usually
accompanied by the khaibit or shadow. This sevenfold division of man, subdivided into
many mysterious and conflicting functions, gave scope for the lengthy rituals and
observances that accompanied the embalming and entombment of the dead. The tradition
that man possesses an immortal soul lies at the basis of Egyptian belief. One text reads,
"Thou shalt exist for millions of millions of years". Another approximating to many a
modern utterance says, "My soul is God, my soul is eternity."
It is of course utterly impossible to deal with the Book of the Dead in these pages, the
interested reader will find the subject elaborately treated in the publications of the British
Museum authorities, but we hardly think the study would be profitable, the Word of truth
is our "book of life", and we need no "Book of the Dead".