In the early 1970s, Kenneth Grant, personal secretary to Aleister Crowley twenty-five years earlier, broke with the American branch of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis and formed his own Thelemic organization, the Typhonian O.T.O. The “Sirius/Set current” that Grant identified in the ‘50s referred to the Egyptian deity Set, god of the desert, storms, foreigners, violence, and chaos.

To grasp the significance of Grant’s innovation to Crowley’s religion, a brief history of Set is in order.

Set—sometimes called Seth, Sheth, or Sutekh—is one of the oldest gods in the Egyptian pantheon. There is evidence he was worshiped long before the pharaohs, in the pre-dynastic era called Naqada I, which may date as far back as 3750 BC. To put that into context, the Tower of Babel incident probably occurred toward the end of the Uruk period around 3100 BC. Writing wasn’t invented in Sumer until about 3000 BC, around the time of the first pharaoh, Narmer.

Set was originally one of the good gods. He protected Ra’s solar boat, defending it from the evil chaos serpent Apep (or Apophis), who tried to eat the sun every night as it dropped below the horizon. During the Second Intermediate Period, roughly 1750 BC to 1550 BC, Semitic people called the Hyksos, who were probably Amorites, equated Set with Baʿal, the Canaanite storm-god, and Baʿal-Set was the patron deity of Avaris, the Hyksos capital.

The worship of Baʿal-Set continued even after the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. Two centuries after Moses led the Israelites to Canaan, three hundred years after the Hyksos expulsion, Ramesses the Great erected a memorial called the Year 400 Stela to honor the 400th year of Set’s arrival in Egypt. In fact, Ramesses’ father was named Seti, which literally means “man of Set.”

Set didn’t acquire his evil reputation until the Third Intermediate Period, during which Egypt was overrun by successive waves of foreign invaders. After being conquered by Nubia, Assyria, and Persia, one after another between 728 BC and 525 BC, the god of foreigners wasn’t welcome around the pyramids anymore. No longer was Set the mighty god who kept Apophis from eating the sun; now, Set was the evil god who murdered his brother, Osiris, and the sworn enemy of Osiris’ son, Horus.

By the time of Persia’s rise, Greek civilization was beginning to flower, and the Greeks identified Set with Typhon, the terrifying, powerful serpentine god of chaos. That’s the link between Set and Typhon. And this is the entity Kenneth Grant believed was the true source of power in Thelemic magick.

That’s why the “Sirius/Set current” led to the Typhonian O.T.O, and that’s the destructive, chaos-monster aspect of Set-Typhon we need to keep in view when analyzing the magickal system Grant created by filtering Crowley through the horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft.

Grant’s anxiety, as expressed in Nightside of Eden and in his other works, is that the Earth is being infiltrated by a race of extraterrestrial beings who will cause tremendous changes to take place in our world. This statement is not to be taken quite as literally as it appears, for the “Earth” can be taken to mean our current level of conscious awareness, and extraterrestrial would mean simply “not of this current level of conscious awareness.” But the potential for danger is there, and Grant’s work— like Lovecraft’s—is an attempt to warn us of the impending (potentially dramatic) alterations in our physical, mental and emotional states due to powerful influences from “outside.”

Lovecraft died in 1937, but his work found a new audience in the 1970s. His stories were mined as source material by Hollywood. Then in 1977, a hardback edition of the Necronomicon, which Lovecraft invented as a plot device for his horror fiction, suddenly appeared (published in a limited run of 666 copies!), edited by a mysterious figure known only as “Simon,” purportedly a bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church. According to Simon, two monks from his denomination had stolen a copy of the actual Necronomicon in one of the most daring and dangerous book thefts in history.

A mass market paperback edition followed a few years later. That version has reportedly sold more than a million copies over the last four decades. Kenneth Grant, who believed that Crowley and Lovecraft had been inspired or guided by the same supernatural source, validated the text, going so far as to offer explanations for apparent discrepancies between Crowley and the Necronomicon.

Crowley admitted to not having heard correctly certain words during the transmission of Liber L, and it is probable that he misheard the word Tutulu. It may have been Kutulu, in which case it would be identical phonetically, but not qabalistically, with Cthulhu. The [Simon] Necronomicon (Introduction, p. xix) suggests a relationship between Kutulu and Cutha…

Simon’s Necronomicon was just one of several grimoires (books of magic spells) published in the 1970s that claimed to be the nefarious book. The others were either obvious fakes published for entertainment purposes, or hoaxes that their authors admitted to soon after publication. Simon, on the other hand, appeared to be serious. But people involved with producing the “Simonomicon” have since admitted to making it up, and the central figure behind the book’s publication was Peter Levenda—author of The Dark Lord, the book documenting the highly improbable “coincidences” connecting Aleister Crowley and H. P. Lovecraft.

The text itself was Levenda’s creation, a synthesis of Sumerian and later Babylonian myths and texts peppered with names of entities from H. P. Lovecraft’s notorious and enormously popular Cthulhu stories. Levenda seems to have drawn heavily on the works of Samuel Noah Kramer for the Sumerian, and almost certainly spent a great deal of time at the University of Pennsylvania library researching the thing. Structurally, the text was modeled on the wiccan Book of Shadows and the Goetia, a grimoire of doubtful authenticity itself dating from the late Middle Ages.

“Simon” was also Levenda’s creation. He cultivated an elusive, secretive persona, giving him a fantastic and blatantly implausible line of [BS] to cover the book’s origins. He had no telephone. He always wore business suits, in stark contrast to the flamboyant Renaissance fair, proto-goth costuming that dominated the scene.

In The Dark Lord, Levenda not only analyzed Kenneth Grant’s magickal system and documented synchronicities between Crowley and Lovecraft, he validated the supernatural authenticity of the fake Necronomicon that he created!

But make no mistake—this doesn’t mean the Necronomicon is fake in the supernatural sense.

[W]e can conclude that the hoax Necronomicons—at least the Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner and Simon versions—falsely claim to be the work of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred; but in so falsely attributing themselves, they signal their genuine inclusion in the grimoire genre. The misattribution is the mark of their genre, and their very falsity is the condition of their genuineness. The hoax Necronomicons are every bit as “authentic” as the Lesser Key of Solomon or the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses.

In other words, while the published editions of the Necronomicon were obviously invented long after the deaths of H. P. Lovecraft and Aleister Crowley, they are still genuine tools for practicing sorcery. And, as Grant and Levenda suggest, they share a common origin in the spirit realm.

Simon’s Necronomicon arrived on the wave of a renewed interest in the occult that washed over the Western world in the 1960s and ‘70s. Interestingly, it was a French journal of science fiction that helped spark the revival, and it did so by publishing the works of H. P. Lovecraft for a new audience.

Planète was launched in the early ‘60s by Louis Pauwles and Jacques Bergier, and their magazine brought a new legion of admirers to the “bent genius.” More significantly for our study here, however, was the book Pauwles and Bergier co-authored in 1960, Les matins des magiciens (Morning of the Magicians), which was translated into English in 1963 as Dawn of Magic.

From Lovecraft, Bergier and Pauwles borrowed the one thought that would be of more importance than any other in their book. As we have seen, Morning of the Magicians speculates that extraterrestrial beings may be responsible for the rise of the human race and the development of its culture, a theme Lovecraft invented (emphasis mine).

The success of Pauwles and Bergier inspired others to run with the concepts they’d developed from the writings of Lovecraft. The most successful of these, without question, is Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods?

You can say one thing at least for von Däniken: He wasn’t shy about challenging accepted history.

I claim that our forefathers received visits from the universe in the remote past, even though I do not yet know who these extraterrestrial intelligences were or from which planet they came. I nevertheless proclaim that these “strangers” annihilated part of mankind existing at the time and produced a new, perhaps the first, homo sapiens.

The book had the good fortune of being published in 1968, the same year Stanley Kubrick’s epic adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey hit theaters. The film, based on the idea that advanced alien technology had guided human evolution, was the top-grossing film of the year, and was named the “greatest sci-fi film of all time” in 2002 by the Online Film Critics Society. By 1971, when Chariots of the Gods? finally appeared in American bookstores, NASA had put men on the moon three times and the public was fully primed for what von Däniken was selling.

It’s hard to overstate the impact Chariots of the Gods has had on the UFO research community and the worldviews of millions of people around the world over the last half century. In 1973, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling built a documentary around Chariots titled In Search of Ancient Astronauts, which featured astronomer Carl Sagan and Wernher von Braun, architect of the Saturn V rocket. The following year, a feature film with the same title as the book was released to theaters. By the turn of the 21st century, von Däniken had sold more than 60 million copies of his twenty-six books, all promoting the idea that our creators came from the stars.

To this day, von Däniken’s book is the best-selling English language archaeology book of all time. Is it any wonder that more Americans believe that we’ve been visited by ET than in God as He’s revealed Himself in the Bible?

We need to debunk a bit of fake news before we get any deeper into the holiday season. The selection of December 25 as the date to celebrate the birth of Christ had nothing to do with Saturnalia or the winter solstice. Besides, Saturnalia wasn’t always celebrated in December, and it wasn’t even originally named for Saturn. It was adapted from an older version known to the Greeks, celebrated for their version of Saturn, Kronos.

The Kronia is first recorded in Ionia, the central part of western Anatolia (modern Turkey) in the eighth century BC, a little before the time of the prophet Isaiah. From there, the celebration spread to Athens and the island of Rhodes, ultimately making its way westward to Rome, shifting over time from midsummer to the winter solstice. Both festivals were a time of merriment and abandoning social norms, with gambling, gift-giving, suspension of normal business, and the reversal of roles by slaves and their masters.

The festival of Saturnalia, held between December 17 and 23, was undoubtedly the most popular of the year for Romans. It was marked by a reversal of societal norms, which apparently hearkened back to better days:

The first inhabitants of Italy were the Aborigines, whose king, Saturnus, is said to have been a man of such extraordinary justice, that no one was a slave in his reign, or had any private property, but all things were common to all, and undivided, as one estate for the use of every one; in memory of which way of life, it has been ordered that at the Saturnalia slaves should everywhere sit down with their masters at the entertainments, the rank of all being made equal. Italy was accordingly called, from the name of that king, Saturnia; and the hill on which he dwelt Saturnius, on which now stands the Capitol, as if Saturnus had been dislodged from his seat by Jupiter.

It’s widely believed by skeptics, and some well-meaning but misinformed Christians, that the date for celebrating Christmas was chosen by the early church to “Christianize” Saturnalia. The story goes that the festival was so popular that even Christians in the Roman Empire wouldn’t give it up, so church leaders declared December 25 the birth day of Jesus, established a feast, and stole Saturnalia from the pagans.

That happens not to be the case.

The earliest record of the observance of Christmas is from Clement of Alexandria around AD 200. But the first suggestion that Christmas might be linked to pagan worship didn’t come until the twelfth century, about nine hundred years later. In other words, as far as historians can tell, no Christians between the third through twelfth centuries thought they were accidentally worshiping a pagan god at Christmas. While some noted the proximity of December 25 to the winter solstice, which falls on December 21 or 22, early Christian writers did not believe the church chose the date. Rather, they saw it as a sign that God was the true sun, superior to the false gods of the pagans.

The Donatist sect in North Africa celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25 in the early fourth century, before Constantine became emperor of Rome (so we can’t blame him for setting the date). And while it’s true that the emperor Aurelian made veneration of Sol Invictus the law throughout the Roman Empire in AD 274, a collection of ancient writings called Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae puts the feast day during the reign of Licinius (AD 308–324) on November 18. There is little evidence that a feast for Sol Invictus was held on December 25 before the middle of the fourth century AD, and Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ on that date about half a century earlier.

So, given that nobody in the first century recorded the actual date of Jesus’ birth, how did the early church arrive at December 25? It’s a little complex, but it illustrates the motives of the Church Fathers, which did not include sneaking pagan worship into the faith.

Second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa made an effort to calculate the exact date of Jesus’ death. For reasons that escape us, they settled on March 25, AD 29. (The reasons escape us because March 25 was not a Friday that year, nor was it Passover Eve, nor did Passover Eve fall on a Friday in AD 29, or even in the month of March.) The March 25 date was also noted by early church theologians Tertullian and Augustine.

There was a widespread belief among Jews of the day in the “integral age” of great prophets, which means it was thought that the prophets of Israel died on the same day they were conceived. It’s not biblical, but that’s not the point. What matters is the early church believed it, and that’s how it was decided that Jesus was born in late December: Adding nine months to March 25 brings you to—you guessed it—December 25.

It’s that simple. Underline this: Saturn and Saturnalia had nothing to do with Christmas.

The effort to claim the credit, however, is the work of the dark god and his minions. The recent pushback against celebrating Christmas has been so intense that some Christians are careful to avoid mentioning the holiday, except with trusted friends, lest they be accused of accidentally worshiping Saturn, Baal, Sol Invictus, or Nimrod—by other Christians. The Christmas season used to be the one time of year when Christ was openly proclaimed in our society. Sadly, zealous but misinformed believers have unwittingly helped the Fallen reclaim the holiday.

It’s almost certain that Jesus was not born on December 25. It’s also true that the Christmas holiday has attracted a lot of baggage—pagan traditions, hyper-commercialization, and awful renditions of Christmas carols by pop divas. (Mariah Carey recently tried to trademark the title “Queen of Christmas.” Seriously. Thankfully, the U.S. Patent Office said no.)

None of that matters. The important point is this: The early church did not establish December 25 as a feast day to celebrate the birth of Jesus to copy or co-opt a pagan holiday.

That said, Saturn successfully rebranded the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, as Sāturni diēs, Saturn’s Day, in the second century AD when Rome replaced its eight-day cycle with a seven-day week. And there is biblical evidence that some Jews adopted the worship of Saturn during the Babylonian captivity:

“You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves, and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. (Amos 5:26–27)

Sikkuth appears to be a reference to a minor Babylonian god named Sakkud, or Sakkut. However, the pronunciation was close enough to the Hebrew word sukkat (“hut”) that the Jewish scholars who translated the Septuagint rendered the first line, “And you took along the tent of Molech.” The consonants of Molech and melek (“king”) are identical, but it’s interesting that the translators were comfortable bringing the “king-god” into the scripture, and that’s exactly how Stephen quoted Amos during his speech to the Sanhedrin.

It’s especially interesting since “Kiyyun” refers to the Babylonian name for Saturn, Kajjamānu, “the Steady One.” Kajjamānu was an unimportant god in the Mesopotamian pantheon, but it’s indicative of the hubris of the king-god: Under his influence, most of the Western world now calls God’s divinely ordained day of rest “Saturn’s Day.”

And because that isn’t enough, even Christians have been convinced that Saturn, not Jesus, is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

From the book The Second Coming of Saturn by Derek P. Gilbert

 

This article is weird. Not by design; it just happens to deal with a topic most churches ignore—the UFO phenomenon. And it connects dots between “ancient aliens,” the 20th century’s most notorious practitioner of the occult (he called himself the Great Beast 666), and an impoverished author of gothic horror fiction.

We’ll start with the latter character first.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of the giants of 20th century literature, although he wasn’t recognized as such until after his death. And because he wrote scary stories, he wasn’t the kind of writer who got invites to fancy parties. Lovecraft and his friends, most of whom he knew through volumes of letters—by one estimate, 100,000 of them—that some believe were more influential than his published work, wrote to entertain, usually by crafting terrifying tales and conjuring monstrous images of overpowering, inhuman evil.

As a child, Lovecraft was tormented by night terrors. Beginning at age six, young Howard was visited by what he called night-gaunts—faceless humanoids with black, rubbery skin, bat-like wings, and barbed tails, who carried off their victims to Dreamland. The nocturnal visitors were so terrifying that Howard remembered trying desperately to stay awake every night during this period of his life. It’s believed that these dreams, which haunted him for more than a year, had a powerful influence on his fiction.

From a Christian perspective, it’s a shame that Lovecraft’s mother, who raised Howard with his aunts after his father was committed to a psychiatric hospital when Howard was only three, failed to recognize the phenomenon for what it probably was—demonic oppression of her only child. But by the late 19th century, the technologically advanced West didn’t have room in its scientific worldview for such things. In fact, Lovecraft claimed to be a staunch atheist throughout his life.

Ironically, despite his disbelief, the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft has been adapted and adopted by occultists around the world after his death. The man who died a pauper not only found an audience over the last eighty years, he inspired an army of authors who have preserved and expanded the nightmarish universe that sprang from Lovecraft’s tortured dreams.

Although Lovecraft claimed he didn’t believe in the supernatural, he was more than happy to use the spirit realm as grist for his writing mill. Lovecraft apparently saw potential in the doctrines of Blavatsky for stories that would sell. They did, but mostly after his death. During his lifetime, Lovecraft was barely known outside the readership of pulp magazines, the type of publication called a “penny dreadful” a couple generations earlier in England.

While Lovecraft may have rejected the idea of a lost continent or two as the now-forgotten motherland of humanity, the concept served him well as an author. The notion that certain humans gifted (or cursed) with the ability to see beyond the veil were communicating with intelligences vastly greater than our own also made for compelling horror. Lovecraft viewed the universe as a cold, unfeeling place; so, in his fiction those intelligences, unlike the kindly ascended masters of Blavatsky’s world, had no use for humanity — except, perhaps, as slaves or sacrifices. The horror of discovering oneself at the mercy of immense, ancient beings incapable of mercy is a common theme in Lovecraft’s tales, and he gave those ideas flesh and bone with carefully crafted prose that infused them with a sense of dread not easily or often distilled onto the printed page.

It’s fair to say that Lovecraft’s style of gothic horror has had a powerful influence on horror fiction and film over the last 75 years. Stephen King, Roger Corman, John Carpenter and Ridley Scott, among others, drew on Lovecraft’s style if not his Cthulhu mythos directly. Maybe that’s not the kind of legacy left by Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but compare the number of people who have seen The Thing, Alien, or any movie based on a King novel (The Shining, The Stand, It, etc.) to the number of people who’ve read Hemingway or Fitzgerald. (Not claimed to read them; but actually sat down and read them.) Even though H. P. Lovecraft was basically unknown during his lifetime, he’s had far greater influence on pop culture than the literary greats who were his contemporaries.

And, as we’ll see, the influence of the staunch atheist Lovecraft has bled over into the metaphysical realm. Maybe it’s fitting that the principalities and powers aligned against their Creator would find an atheist a most useful tool.

While Lovecraft was beginning his career as a writer, across the ocean another man fascinated with arcana and the influence of old gods on our world was hearing voices from beyond. Edward Alexander “Aleister” Crowley, born 1875 in Warwickshire, England, traveled to Cairo in 1904 with his new bride, Rose Kelly. While there, Crowley, who’d been a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn about five years earlier, set up a temple room in their apartment and began performing rituals to invoke Egyptian deities. Eventually, something calling itself Aiwass, the messenger of Hoor-Paar-Kraat (known to the Greeks as an aspect of Horus, Harpocrates, the god of silence), answered. Over a period of three days, April 8-10, 1904, Crowley transcribed what he heard from the voice of Aiwass.

The Voice of Aiwass came apparently from over my left shoulder, from the furthest corner of the room. […]

I had a strong impression that the speaker was actually in the corner where he seemed to be, in a body of “fine matter,” transparent as a veil of gauze, or a cloud of incense-smoke. He seemed to be a tall, dark man in his thirties, well-knit, active and strong, with the face of a savage king, and eyes veiled lest their gaze should destroy what they saw. The dress was not Arab; it suggested Assyria or Persia, but very vaguely. I took little note of it, for to me at that time Aiwass and an “angel” such as I had often seen in visions, a being purely astral.

I now incline to believe that Aiwass is not only the God or Demon or Devil once held holy in Sumer, and mine own Guardian Angel, but also a man as I am, insofar as He uses a human body to make His magical link with Mankind, whom He loves…

That eventually became the central text for Crowley’s new religion, Thelema, which in turn is the basis for Ordo Templi Orientis. The O.T.O. is a secret society similar to Freemasonry that, like Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society and the Freemasons, believes in universal brotherhood. The primary difference between Thelema and Theosophy is in the nature of the entities sending messages from beyond. Blavatsky claimed to hear from ascended masters who were shepherding humanity’s evolution; Crowley claimed to be guided by gods from the Egyptian pantheon: Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

The irony of all this is that Lovecraft, who denied the existence of Crowley’s gods and Blavatsky’s mahatmas, may have drawn his inspiration from the same well.

A key thread woven through the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft was a fictional grimoire, or book of witchcraft, called the Necronomicon. The book, according to the Lovecraft canon, was written in the 8th century A.D. by the “Mad Arab,” Abdul Alhazred (Lovecraft’s childhood nickname because of his love for the book 1001 Arabian Nights). Perhaps significantly, inspiration for the invented grimoire came to Lovecraft in a dream, and through his many letters to friends and colleagues, he encouraged others to incorporate the mysterious tome in their works. Over time, references to the Necronomicon by a growing number of authors creating Lovecraftian fiction led to a growing belief that the book was, in fact, real. Significantly, one of those who believed in the book was occultist Kenneth Grant.

Grant was an English ceremonial magician and an acolyte of Crowley, serving as Crowley’s personal secretary toward the end of his life. After Crowley’s death, Grant was named head of the O.T.O. in Britain by Crowley’s successor, Karl Germer. However, Grant’s promotion of an extraterrestrial “Sirius/Set current” in Crowley’s work infuriated Germer, who expelled Grant from the organization for heresy.

Lovecraft’s fiction inspired some of Grant’s innovations to Thelema. Grant said Lovecraft “snatched from nightmare-space his lurid dream-readings of the Necronomicon.” Instead of attributing the Necronomicon to Lovecraft’s imagination, Grant took it as evidence of the tome’s existence as an astral book. Furthermore, Grant believed others, including Crowley and Blavatsky, had “glimpsed the Akashic Necronomicon”—a reference to the Akashic records, a Theosophist concept describing a collection of all human thoughts, deeds, and emotions that exists on another plane of reality accessed only through proper spiritual discipline.

Kenneth Grant was perhaps the first to notice the strange parallels between the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and Aleister Crowley. In The Dark Lord, an extensive analysis of Grant’s magickal system and Lovecraft’s influence on it, researcher and author Peter Levenda documented a number of these similarities.

In 1907, Crowley was writing some of the works that became seminal to the doctrines of Thelema, known as The Holy Books. These include Liber Liberi vel Lapidus Lazuli, Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente, and other works written between October 30 and November 1 of that year, and Liber Arcanorum and Liber Carcerorum, written between December 5th and 14th that same year. Lovecraft would have had no knowledge of this, as he was only a seventeen-year old recluse living at home on Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island, dreaming of the stars.

Instead, he later would write of an orgiastic ritual taking place that year in the bayous outside New Orleans, Louisiana, and on the very same day that Crowley was writing the books enumerated above. The story Lovecraft wrote is entitled “The Call of Cthulhu” and is arguably his most famous work. He wrote the story in 1926, in late August or early September, but placed the action in New Orleans in 1907 and later in Providence in 1925.

How is this relevant? Lovecraft’s placement of the orgiastic ritual in honor of the high priest of the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu, and the discovery of a statue of Cthulhu by the New Orleans police on Halloween, 1907 coincides precisely with Crowley’s fevered writing of his own gothic prose. In the Liber Liberi vel Lapidus Lazuli, for instance, Crowley writes the word “Tutulu” for the first time. He claims not to know what this word means, or where it came from. As the name of Lovecraft’s fictional alien god can be pronounced “Kutulu,” it seems more than coincidental, as Kenneth Grant himself noted. 

However, this is only the tip of an eldritch iceberg. In Crowley’s Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente—or “The Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent”— there are numerous references to the “Abyss of the Great Deep,” to Typhon, Python, and the appearance of an “old gnarled fish” with tentacles … all descriptions that match Lovecraft’s imagined Cthulhu perfectly. Not approximately, but perfectly. Crowley’s volume was written on November 1, 1907. The ritual for Cthulhu in New Orleans took place on the same day, month and year.

Now, this could be nothing more than a strange coincidence—if you’re a coincidence theorist. Levenda, an excellent researcher and gifted author, and Kenneth Grant before him, concluded otherwise.

It may actually be more logical to suggest, as an explanation for some of these coincidences, that darker forces were at work. In fact, it is possible that the same forces of which Lovecraft himself writes—the telepathic communication between followers of Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones—was what prompted him to write these fictional accounts of real events. Either Lovecraft was in some kind of telepathic communication with Crowley, or both men were in telepathic communication with … Something Else.

As Christians, we should at least consider the supernatural explanation. If the apostle Paul knew his theology, and he did, then we must consider the influence of principalities and powers on our natural world. And that’s the most likely source of the odd, highly improbable Crowley-Cthulhu connection.

And, as we’ll see in the months ahead, this improbable, long-distance link between the occultist Aleister Crowley and horror fiction author H. P. Lovecraft has metastasized over the last century what passes for official doctrine of the Church of Ancient Aliens.

Humans have wondered about the stars since forever. That’s understandable; they’re beautiful and mysterious, as out of reach as mountain peaks. And perhaps for the same reasons, the earliest speculation about the stars revolved around gods, not extraterrestrials.

As with mountains, humans have associated stars with deities since the beginning of human history. Three of the most important gods in the ancient Near East, from Sumer to Israel and its neighbors, were the sun, moon, and the planet Venus. To the Sumerians they were the deities Utu, Nanna, and the goddess Inanna; later, in Babylon, they were Shamash, Sîn, and Ishtar. The Amorites worshiped Sapash, Yarikh, and Astarte—who was also the god Attar when Venus was the morning star (and here you thought gender fluidity was a new thing).

God not only recognized that the nations worshiped these small-G gods, He allotted the nations to them as their inheritance—punishment for the Tower of Babel incident.

When the Most High agave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. (Deuteronomy 32:8)

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:19)

In other words, God placed the nations of the world under small-G “gods” represented by the sun, moon, and stars, but He reserved Israel for Himself. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were to remain faithful to YHWH alone, and through Israel He would bring forth a Savior.

But the gods YHWH allotted to the nations went rogue. That earned them a death sentence.

God has taken his place in the divine council;

in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

“How long will you judge unjustly

and show partiality to the wicked? Selah […]

I said, “You are gods,

sons of the Most High, all of you;

nevertheless, like men you shall die,

and fall like any prince.” (Psalm 82:1, 6–7)

To be clear: Those small-G gods are not to be confused with the capital-G God, YHWH, the Creator of all things including those “sons of the Most High.” Theologians and Bible teachers generally treat the gods of Psalm 82 as humans, usually described as corrupt Israelite kings or judges. With all due respect, they’re wrong. The most obvious error in their view is that verse 7—“nevertheless, like men you shall die”—makes no sense if God is addressing a human audience.

No. When the Bible says “gods,” it means gods.

There are other, more technical reasons to view the divine council as a heavenly royal court. We direct you to Dr. Michael S. Heiser’s excellent website, www.TheDivineCouncil.com, for accessible, scholarly, biblical support for this view.

Seriously, go there and read. Understanding the divine council view is critical to really grasping much of what’s going on throughout the Old Testament: Supernatural beings have exercised the free will they were created with to rebel against their Creator. As Christians, this should be our default view. After all, Paul spelled it out:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, spiritual forces of evil. Those aren’t concepts, ideas, or random acts of misfortune. Paul was warning us about supernatural evil intelligences who want to destroy us. And guess what? At least some of them are “in the heavenly places.”

We’ll refer to that verse many times in this book. Ephesians 6:12 is key. As our friend Pastor Carl Gallups likes to say, spiritual warfare is a lot more than finding the willpower to pass up a second bowl of ice cream.

Why this detour though the Bible? Two reasons. First, to document that humanity has looked to the stars as gods for at least the last 5,000 years, as far as Babel and probably beyond. And second, to set the stage for what we believe official disclosure is truly about—the return of the old gods.

You see, the Enemy has been playing a very long game. Once upon a time, Western civilization generally held a biblical worldview. The influence of the spirit realm on our lives wasn’t perfectly understood, but at least it was acknowledged. And while the church of Rome can be fairly criticized for keeping the Bible out of the hands of lay people for nearly a thousand years, the scholars and theologians of the church made a fair effort to interpret their world through a biblical filter.

How have we become so secular in our worldview? It appears that the principalities and powers have nudged and prodded humanity through the Enlightenment, then Modernism and Postmodernism to move modern man from a supernatural worldview to one that could believe in an external creator while denying the existence of a supernatural Creator.

Hence, ancient aliens.

In other words, to accept our ET creator/ancestors we first had to reject the biblical God. In 1973, British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” By substituting advanced science for the supernatural, ancient alien evangelists are spreading a sci-fi religion for the 21st century. It offers mystery, transcendence, and answers to those nagging Big Questions. And best of all, ETI believers don’t need to change the way they think or act.

This view found fertile intellectual soil in areas influenced by Greek philosophy. The evidence is compelling that the rise and spread of Greek thought has run parallel with the belief in life among the stars.

A pause here for a big “thank you” to author and artist Jeffrey W. Mardis. His excellent book What Dwells Beyond: The Bible Believer’s Handbook to Understanding Life in the Universe was very helpful in guiding Josh Peck and me as we researched our book, The Day the Earth Stands Still. Rather than rewrite his work, however, we’ll summarize here the emergence of cosmic pluralism, the concept that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, and then suggest you get a copy of What Dwells Beyond for your personal reference library.

The idea that there are more inhabited worlds in the universe than just our own isn’t new. It dates to six centuries before the birth of Jesus, about the time Nebuchadnezzar led the army of Babylon across the ancient Near East to conquer, among other nations, the kingdom of Judah. A Greek philosopher, mathematician, and engineer named Thales of Miletus (c. 620 B.C.—c. 546 B.C.)  is credited with being the father of the scientific method. According to later philosophers, Thales was the first to reject religious cosmology in favor of a naturalistic approach to understanding the world. Among his theories was the belief that the stars in the night sky were other planets, some of which were inhabited.

The influence of Thales is felt even today. While there are benefits to searching for the natural causes of, say, earthquakes rather than attributing them to the temper of Zeus, denying the influence of the supernatural altogether has blinded science in many fields of inquiry. For example, researchers into the effects of prayer tend to focus on the physiological benefits. It reduces stress and makes you “nicer.”

Well and good, but since prayer is a hotline to the Creator of all things, could there be more behind the benefits of prayer than just sitting quietly? Is it possible that people who pray are nicer and more relaxed because they’ve tapped into what the apostle Paul called “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”?

To a scientist with a naturalist bias, the answer is, “Of course not.” Since God can’t be observed and quantified, He must not exist. And so extra “niceness” is a result of what can be observed—the physical act of talking to (in their minds, an imaginary) God.

The intellectual descendants of Thales included influential thinkers such as Pythagoras, who in turn influenced Plato, as well as Democritus and Leucippus, who developed the theory that everything is composed of atoms. Epicurus, building on the teaching of Democritus, proposed that atoms moved under their own power, and that they, through random chance, clumped together to form, well, everything—matter, consciousness, and even the gods themselves, whom Epicurus believed were neutral parties who didn’t interfere in the lives of humans. 

It’s clear that Epicurus and his followers have had quite an influence on modern thought. Interestingly, about three hundred years after the death of Epicurus, Paul encountered some Epicureans (and their philosophical rivals, the Stoics) on Mars Hill in Athens. Epicurus, cited by the early Christian author Lactantius, is credited with posing what’s called The Problem of Evil:

“God,” he says, “either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak – and this does not apply to God.  If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful – which is equally foreign to God’s nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from?  Or why does he not eliminate them?”

I know that most of the philosophers who defend [divine] providence are commonly shaken by this argument and against their wills are almost driven to admit that God does not care, which is exactly what Epicurus is looking for.

You can see why the Epicureans wanted to tangle with a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ—they must have thought Paul would be an easy target. Ha!

Of course, this so-called problem is often presented as “proof” that God doesn’t exist. Epicurus’ thought exercise assumes that there is only one god (and there is, in fact, only one capital-G God, YHWH, but the Bible clearly names multiple small-g gods, and God Himself calls them gods) who is responsible for everything, good and bad, that happens on Earth. In other words, to satisfy the Epicureans, free will would be eliminated for every being in creation except the Creator, because to eliminate bad things requires eliminating the power of people who want to do them.

And yet the philosophy of Epicurus—that everything is the product of natural processes, even the supernatural—dominates Western thought, even though most people who hold it have never heard of Epicurus. 

It’s no coincidence that the influence of the Greek philosophers faded with the spread of Christianity. The materialistic bias of Greek thought was pushed back for a time by the supernatural power and message of the gospel. To be blunt, when you follow materialist philosophy to its logical end, you’re left with the worldview of Epicurus—the only goal in life is to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.

Why? What’s the point of that? How would Epicurus answer the Big Questions: Where do we come from, why are we here, and where do we go when we die? The Epicurean view of life is depressingly bleak: We come from nothing through random natural processes; our purpose in life is to avoid being hurt; and we go nowhere when we die because our souls cease to exist.

Nothing, nothing, and nothing. That’s what a materialist worldview offers.

And yet it came storming back after more than a thousand years underground with the dawn of the so-called Age of Reason, the Enlightenment. Ironically, the emergence of Islam in the seventh century may be partly responsible for holding back the influence of Greek philosophy in the West. After the first great wave of Muslim expansion wiped out Christianity in northern Africa, travel from the Eastern Roman Empire to Western Europe became more difficult as travel across the Mediterranean was no longer safe. It was only after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the wave of refugees who fled west to Christian Europe with copies of the works of ancient Greek thinkers that the Enlightenment took root.

And those ideas are blooming now in the twenty-first century.

Dear Pastor or Christian,
 
This is not over! Fauci, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden have said there is another pandemic coming, and the church is unprepared. Like nothing before it, Covid has paralyzed the church because it has divided our people, our boards, and our staff due to its complicated and political nature. Covid was also the greatest financial catastrophy in America’s history. While it is impossible to make a Biblical case that we should never wear a mask or take a vaccine, we should all be concerned because Covid was used to justify evil simultaneously around the world. 
 
How can Christians be okay with forcing people in concentration camps or implanting computer chips?[1],[2]How can we as pastors remain silent when governments are starving people or refusing life-saving medical care?[3],[4] How can we not stand up when people are losing custody of their children or their jobs for their religious freedoms or rights to their own body?[5]

In this sermon, we will show that there is something dramatically worse than Covid? A new enemy has arisen to perpetrate new forms of religious persecution upon us all. Yet, a divided church cannot stand against the “gates of hell.” I sincerely hope that each sermon in this series will help the each of us to talk about the fact that our Bible is happening. (Luke 21:28)

To Watch Sermon: CLICK

For a copy of my sermon notes and powerpoint presentation, please contact me at drkdkruse@hotmail.com or info@supernatualjunkies.com.


[1]https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/world/australia/howard-springs-quarantine.html

[2]https://nypost.com/2019/07/14/swedish-people-are-getting-chip-implants-to-replace-cash-credit-cards/

[3]https://summit.news/2021/10/15/anger-as-german-state-allows-food-stores-to-ban-the-unvaccinated/?utm_source=wnd&utm_medium=wnd&utm_campaign=syndicated

[4]https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/if-covid-vaccine-refusers-are-turned-away-hospitals-doctor-offices-ncna1277475

[5]https://www.gopusa.com/discrimination-against-the-unvaccinated-is-shameful/

Dear Pastor or Christian,
 
This is not over! Fauci, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden have said there is another pandemic coming, and the church is unprepared. Like nothing before it, Covid has paralyzed the church because it has divided our people, our boards, and our staff due to its complicated and political nature. Covid was also the greatest financial catastrophy in America’s history. While it is impossible to make a Biblical case that we should never wear a mask or take a vaccine, we should all be concerned because Covid was used to justify evil simultaneously around the world. 
 
How can Christians be okay with forcing people in concentration camps or implanting computer chips?[1],[2]How can we as pastors remain silent when governments are starving people or refusing life-saving medical care?[3],[4] How can we not stand up when people are losing custody of their children or their jobs for their religious freedoms or rights to their own body?[5]

In this sermon, we will show that there is something dramatically worse than Covid? A new enemy has arisen to perpetrate new forms of religious persecution upon us all. Yet, a divided church cannot stand against the “gates of hell.” I sincerely hope that each sermon in this series will help the each of us to talk about the fact that our Bible is happening. (Luke 21:28)

For a copy of my sermon notes and powerpoint presentation, please contact me at drkdkruse@hotmail.com or info@supernatualjunkies.com.


[1]https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/world/australia/howard-springs-quarantine.html

[2]https://nypost.com/2019/07/14/swedish-people-are-getting-chip-implants-to-replace-cash-credit-cards/

[3]https://summit.news/2021/10/15/anger-as-german-state-allows-food-stores-to-ban-the-unvaccinated/?utm_source=wnd&utm_medium=wnd&utm_campaign=syndicated

[4]https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/if-covid-vaccine-refusers-are-turned-away-hospitals-doctor-offices-ncna1277475

[5]https://www.gopusa.com/discrimination-against-the-unvaccinated-is-shameful/

(Exodus 12:15, 19) On the first day remove the yeast … For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses.
When I was growing up I knew that we were not supposed to eat leaven during Passover, but I did not know that God says we need to remove it from our homes. I didn’t know this for two reasons. First, my family (like most Jewish people) was not religious so we never read the Hebrew Scriptures. Second, I did not know this because my mom did not remove any leaven that was still in our home when Passover began.
During Passover my mom would place all the refrigerated items which contained leaven or yeast on one shelf. When my sister and I were little I think my mom put a sign on the shelf to remind us to not eat the foods which had yeast.
When my sister and I became teenagers, my mother assumed that we were old enough (or mature enough) to remember the rules of Passover so she stopped placing a sign on the shelf which would remind us that we were not allowed to eat food with yeast.
As I recall I ate something with yeast every year by accident. I wasn’t trying to be rebellious or disobedient, but since I wasn’t religious I would innocently forget it was Passover. During the weekends I would stay up late watching TV. Usually, sometime around 11:00 PM I would get a little hungry. I would go to the kitchen and look for a snack. I usually found something like a cupcake (possibly one of my favorite snacks; a “Devil Dog”) to eat. Then, sometime while eating the snack I would notice a box of matzah on the counter or table and remember it was Passover.
You’d think that with a name like DEVIL dog, I’d have a clue that I should’ve avoided it, but I never did. This is why God tells us to remove all leaven from our homes. If you don’t want to eat something, don’t have it in your house.
Paul understood the connection between leaven and immorality. He tells us to remove the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened (matzah). (1 Corinthians 5:7)
We need to get rid of all leaven, immorality or sin. Before we put our trust in Yeshua, we were leavened bread. Once we begin our new life with Yeshua, we are to remove leaven or sin. We are to be unleavened bread or matzah. Our Passover prayer could be “I wanna be a matzah man!”
Search and Destroy Mission
“[The Jews] see the whole process of searching for the chametz and eliminating it as a reminder to man that he should search through his deeds and purify his actions.” (Mordell Klein, ed., Passover, … p. 38).
When you search your home for leaven you will find some leaven in places that are not obvious. We can always find some leaven that is hidden or out of sight. The same is true with sin. It will require some careful searching to find all leaven and sin. While we look for leaven in our homes we should ask God to reveal one piece of leaven or sin in our life. God will be faithful to answer this prayer. Then, once we find the hidden sin, we must make the effort to evict and remove it. Do you want to be a matzah man?

One of the burning questions in the minds of humans since the beginning of the time has been, “Where do I go when I die?” The pagans and Jews of the ancient Near East had definite ideas on the subject, although they’re scattered through the Bible and across a multitude of texts recovered by archaeologists over the last two hundred years. By piecing together the evidence, we can assemble a rough idea of what they believed about the layout of the netherworld.
In ancient Mesopotamia, the underworld was a dismal place—damp, gloomy, and generally unpleasant. As we noted earlier, the quality of one’s afterlife depended on the faithfulness of his or her descendants and how well they performed the monthly kispum rite. Abraham’s distress at not having an heir was that he and Sarah would have to depend on a servant, Eliezer, to be the “son of the cup,” the “pourer of water,” to ensure their well-being in the netherworld. This tradition was so deeply ingrained in the cultures of the ancient world, from Babylon to Rome, that early Roman Christians built churches in cemeteries, including St. Peter’s Basilica, and installed libation tubes in sarcophagi.
But what about the physical layout of the underworld? Were there actual gates? How about the landscape—were there hills, cliffs, pits, and other physical features described in pagan myth?
While the Bible tells us more about the netherworld than we’ve probably been taught, it leaves a lot to the imagination. In the Old Testament, the term for the land of the dead is Sheol. There is no consensus on the origin of the Hebrew word. Unlike Greek myths of Hades, Sheol was not personified by the ancient Hebrews, although there are metaphorical references, such as the proverb that describes Sheol as “never satisfied” and Isaiah’s warning that “Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth without measure,” which is strikingly similar to the voracious hunger of the Canaanite death-god, Mot.
One of the most famous pagan myths of the patriarchal era, The Descent of Inanna, tells the story of the aftermath of one of the episodes of the Epic of Gilgamesh. In that story, the heroic king of Uruk spurned the sexual advances of the Queen of Heaven, rudely (but truthfully) pointing out that the men in Inanna’s life usually came to an unhappy end. (Remember the story of Inanna’s husband, Dumuzi, who was dragged down to the netherworld so she could escape the Great Below. Inanna, better known to us as Ishtar (Astarte in the Bible), didn’t handle rejection well. The old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” applies double when the woman has godlike power. Imagine a spoiled, supernatural fourteen-year-old, and you have an idea of the character of Inanna: Raging hormones, violent temper, and virtually no restrictions on her abilities.
In a rage, Inanna flew up to heaven and demanded that the sky-god, Anu, release the Bull of Heaven to destroy Gilgamesh and his city. The king and his friend Enkidu finally managed to kill the bull, but not before it killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Enkidu then added insult to the goddess’ injury by tearing off the bull’s right thigh and throwing it in Inanna’s face. (Interestingly, the right thigh of sacrificed bulls was given to the Temple priests, according to the Law of Moses.)
Here’s the thing: The Bull of Heaven was Gugalanna, consort of the Queen of the Great Below, Ereshkigal. This adds dramatic tension to the plot of The Descent of Inanna: The Queen of Heaven claimed that she’d arrived at the gates of the underworld for the funeral rites of Ereshkigal’s husband—whose death was Inanna’s fault. No wonder Ereshkigal “slapped her thigh and bit her lip.” What gall!
The relevant point is that the realm of the dead was depicted as a place below the earth behind seven gates that could not be passed without the permission of the sovereign of the underworld. This is similar to the Egyptian concept of the passage to the netherworld. As in The Descent of Inanna, two of the spells in the Egyptian Book of the Dead describe a series of seven doorways in “the house of Osiris in the west,” which was guarded by triads of demonic creatures—a “doorkeeper,” a “herald,” and a “watcher.” These entities were often referred to as ntr, an Egyptian term borrowed by Isaiah to describe the rebel in Eden—a word that meant “dead god,” often applied to Osiris, the Egyptian lord of the dead. Our English Bibles translate the word “branch” in Isaiah 14:19 on the assumption that the prophet had used the Hebrew word netser.
You obviously noticed that the Egyptians, like the Hebrews, were familiar with the concept of Watchers, although their role in Egyptian religion as door-guardians of the underworld was much more specific than that of their counterparts in Jewish and Mesopotamian cosmology (where they were called apkallu).
Like the Mesopotamian myths and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Bible describes Sheol as a place below the earth where the dead are prevented from returning by some type of physical barrier.
As the cloud fades and vanishes,
so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up. (Job 7:9)
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
Shall we descend together into the dust? (Job 17:16)
I said, In the middle of my days
I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
for the rest of my years. (Isaiah 38:10)
So, during the era of the patriarchs and prophets, Hebrews saw Sheol as a place occupied by the dead where “bars” and “gates” kept them from returning to the living (in physical form, anyway). However, even then there was hope that the righteous would someday be raised from that dreary plane of existence.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up. (1 Samuel 2:6)
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25–27)
There was a category of malevolent dead known to occupy the netherworld, who, like the loathed “dead god,” are mentioned in Isaiah 14:
Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades [Rephaim] to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations. (Isaiah 14:9)
While Isaiah mocked the Rephaim spirits as “weak,” sleeping on beds of maggots with worms for covers, it’s clear from the text that these were once men of power. This is consistent with their depiction in the texts from Ugarit, where these “warriors of Baal” were summoned through necromancy rituals to the tabernacle of El (Mount Hermon).
The prophet Ezekiel, writing about 125 years or so after Isaiah, suggested that there is a hierarchy in the underworld and that the spirits of the “mighty men who were of old” occupy a place of primacy.
Ezekiel 32 is one of the more fascinating chapters in the Bible. It gives us the only glimpse into the physical layout of Sheol and the placement of the spirits in it.
They shall fall amid those who are slain by the sword. Egypt is delivered to the sword; drag her away, and all her multitudes. The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: “They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.” (Ezekiel 32:20–21)
The Hebrew phrase rendered “mighty chiefs,” elei gibborim, could also be translated “chiefs” or “rulers of the Gibborim.” Their placement in the “midst of Sheol” suggests that they are fundamentally and substantially different from the run-of-the-mill dead, a callback to the long tradition among the Jews of the gibborim (“mighty men”) of old—the Nephilim.
The context of Ezekiel 32 is a lament over Pharaoh and his people, whose lands would be ravaged by the Chaldean army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The Egyptians are described as going “down to the pit” to lie among the dead from Assyria, “whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit.” The location around the outer edges of Sheol suggests the Assyrians held a place of lower status, not surprising given that their army destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel. Likewise, Elam, Meshech-Tubal, Edom, the Sidonians, and “the princes of the north” will greet Pharaoh on his arrival in the netherworld.
Ezekiel’s choices of the “uncircumcised” nations in Sheol are worth study, considering that Meshech, Tubal, and the princes of the north figure prominently in his prophecy of Gog of Magog just a few chapters later. For now, however, what’s important is that several of these nations—Assyria, Elam, Meshech-Tubal, and the princes of the north—are described as having “spread terror in the land of the living.” The sense of the word translated “terror,” chittiyth, isn’t quite captured by the English. Chittiyth implies a supernatural fear, panic, like one would feel when suddenly confronted by, well, a ghost.
Or in this case, the ghosts of giants.
And they do not lie with the mighty, the fallen from among the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the mighty men was in the land of the living. (Ezekiel 32:27)
Again, the English translation hides the meaning that was plain to the readers of Ezekiel’s book 2,500 years ago. Let’s consider an alternate translation:
But they do not lie down with the fallen Gibborim of ancient times, who went down to Sheol, with their weapons of war, their swords placed under their heads, and their iniquities upon their bones, for the terror of the Gibborim was in the land of the living.
Ezekiel was clearly saying the power of the nations he named was to cause terror “in the land of the living”—in other words, while they were alive. The prophet portrays the spirits of the dead as powerless to affect the living. Once they’re in Sheol, they don’t come back through the gates. This is contrary to the Amorite view of the Rephaim, the spirits of the gibborim of old, and, later, the Greek concept of heros, demigods who were, as the semi-divine children of gods and humans, Nephilim. Ezekiel essentially echoed Isaiah’s description of the Rephaim as weak and powerless, thus condemning the cult of the royal dead that persisted from before the time of Abraham down to the prophet’s day.
But the connection between the “mighty men” in the pit and the giants who walked the earth before the Flood is even more obvious than that. The bias of translators through the ages has obscured the prophet’s intent. The phrase, gibbôrîm nōpĕlîm mēʿôlām, literally “mighty fallen ones of old,” clearly alludes to the giants of Genesis 6:1-4, and may in fact be an explicit reference. Some scholars believe nōpĕlîm contains a mispointed vowel and should be read nĕpīlîm, which would transform the verse into:
But they do not lie down with the [mighty Nephilim] of ancient times, who went down to Sheol, with their weapons of war, their swords placed under their heads, and their iniquities upon their bones, for the terror of the [mighty ones] was in the land of the living.
The alternate translation doesn’t change the meaning of the verse or the chapter, it just makes the meaning plainer: There are entities in in the underworld who were separate and distinct from the human warriors who caused terror in the land of the living. These gibborim, spirits of the Nephilim of ancient times, held a central place in Sheol. Yet, echoing Isaiah, Ezekiel made it clear that these spirits no longer had the power to instill the kind of panicky terror they did when alive.
Neither did they have the power ascribed to them by the pagan Amorites or the later Greeks, who venerated such heros as Bellerophon, Perseus, and Herakles—who, you may be surprised to learn, was worshiped as Melqart, the chief god of Jezebel’s home city, Tyre. (Which means the prophets of Baal slaughtered on Mount Carmel were prophets of Hercules!)
Not coincidentally, scholar Nicolas Wyatt points out that Bellerophon, called “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles,” is “a transparent transcription of West Semitic Baʿal Rapi’u” (“Lord of the Rephaim”). Bellerophon was believed to be the son of a mortal woman by the sea-god Poseidon. Like Satan, Bellerophon was punished for his arrogance, aspiring to claim a place on the holy mountain of the gods. Instead, he was cast down to earth to live out his days in misery on the Plain of Aleion (“Wandering”).
As demonic spirits, the gibborim of old still interacted with the living. The worship of these spirits continues to this day under the guise of ancestor veneration. But they’re on a short leash. Demons only enter where an entry has been prepared, either through trauma or by invitation. Otherwise, they remain in “the midst of Sheol,” kings among the dead.
A day is coming, however, when the gatekeeper will fling open the gates, and hell will literally break loose upon the earth.

(Esther 9:24 TLB) Haman (son of Hammedatha the Agagite), the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy them at the time determined by a throw of the dice;

(Esther 9:24 NLT) Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews, had plotted to crush and destroy them on the date determined by casting lots (the lots were called purim).

Haman, hated the Jews so much that he decided to kill, annihilate and wipe them out. He needed to pick a day to do this, so he rolled some dice, or cast some lots (purim). In the eyes of man, Haman’s selection of a date to wipe out the Jewish people appears to be simply a matter of chance. But when I read Proverbs 16:33, it seemed to me that Haman may not have been in complete control of selecting the date.

(Proverbs 16:33 CEV) We make our own decisions, but the Lord alone determines what happens.

(Proverbs 16:33 TLB) We toss the coin, but it is the Lord who controls its decision.

(Proverbs 16:33 MSG) Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.

(Proverbs 16:33 NLT) We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

This proverb teaches that when we make our decisions, the end result is not simply at act of our decision making. We may, investigate the facts, cast a vote, roll some dice, or toss a coin, but God has the final say in what happens. He may blow upon the dice or coin and cause them to fall when He decides. Even though things appear to be the work of man, or random chance, God is quietly working behind the scenes, determining how things fall, or what happens.

This is one lesson we see in the Book of Esther. God’s name is never mentioned in the entire book, but God appears to be working behind the scenes all the time. Esther, a Jewish woman, just so happens to become Queen in the Persian Kingdom. Her cousin Mordecai, just so happens to hear some men plot to kill the King. One night, when the King cannot fall sleep, he calls someone to read to him. This reading just so happens to mention that Mordecai saved the Kings life. Then Queen Esther just so happens to be able to schedule a dinner for her husband (the King) and Haman, just in time to thwart the plans of Haman.

Be encouraged that even when you cannot see, hear or perceive God’s presence with your five earthly senses, it doesn’t mean that God’s not watching or listening.

(Proverbs 15:3 TLB) The Lord is watching everywhere and keeps His eye on both the evil and the good.

(Proverbs 15:3 MSG) God doesn’t miss a thing – He’s alert to good and evil alike.

Purim begins March 16 at sunset. I encourage you to:

  • Read the Book of Esther this month, and discover wonderful truths about God, who sometimes is cloaked from our earthly eyes, and works behind the scenes.
  • Invite Rabbi Ron to Speak about the Festival of Purim (Book of Esther).

All Pro Pastors International was honored to go to India and inaugurate Dr Ashok Karkera as our National Director for the countries of India and Nepal. It is our heartfelt belief that India is the doorway to reaching the entire continent of Asia and Dr Ashok, Dr Regina (his wife) and his wonderful team are the ones to make this happen.

We especially want to thank our many partners who made this trip possible and who also faithfully support this vital ministry. Your financial and prayer support is truly reaching massive numbers of people for Jesus and feeding countless hungry families. Thank you for making such a different in these pastors and the ones they faithfully serve.

We also want to give Dr Nolan Edwards (APPI Ambassador to India/Nepal) and Rev. Joshua Christian for their continued efforts to encourage and support All Pro Pastors India/Nepal from the USA.

Please continue to pray for these precious brothers and sisters who are serving our Lord in the most difficult circumstances on earth!

Now please click the link below to see first hand the results of this mission trip that happened just days before the country was shut down!

 

Link –  APPI India Nepal Report Mumbai Trip 2020

Over the centuries, tomb robbers have removed most of the useful evidence from the dolmens of the Jordan River valley. The few bones left behind in burial chambers don’t show any evidence of giantism, or at least I haven’t found any papers reporting it. Most of the dolmens are oriented north-south, although about 10 percent appear to be oriented east-west, perhaps to face the rising sun.
Is this significant? While it’s interesting to note that the Pole Star was Thuban (Alpha Draconis) in the constellation Draco, the Dragon, when the dolmens were built, we don’t know if that was relevant. Despite their ability to lift stupendously heavy blocks of stone, the dolmen-builders weren’t considerate enough to leave behind any written evidence.
That makes a recent discovery in the Golan all the more intriguing and frustrating at the same time. In 2012, archaeologists examined a massive, multichambered dolmen in the Shamir Dolmen Field on the western foothills of the Golan Heights, a site with over four hundred dolmens. What was truly remarkable about this particular dolmen was the discovery of rock art on the underside of the capstone, a basalt monster weighing about fifty tons. (For comparison, that’s about twice as heavy as a fully-loaded, eighteen-wheel, tractor-trailer in the United States.) That’s the first time art has been found inside any of the thousands of dolmens in the region, possibly the first written or artistic record that might be connected directly to the biblical Rephaim.
The dolmen itself is surrounded by a tumulus, a burial mound of about four hundred tons of stone. Think about that! Four thousand years ago, maybe a century or so before Abraham arrived in Canaan, a government on the Golan Heights was powerful enough to organize the manpower and logistics (food, water, etc.) to move and assemble some eight hundred thousand pounds of stone into a multichambered tomb for—who? The king and his family? Archaeologists recovered enough bones and teeth to identify “an 8–10 year-old child, a young adult and a 35–45 year-old adult.”
Were they—dare we speculate—of the dynasty that produced Og, the enemy of Israel, about six hundred years later? Well, probably not. Most dynasties don’t last that long. But it’s interesting to wonder.
The engravings were fourteen figures comprised of a vertical line and a downturned arc. What did the symbol mean? No idea. Nothing like it has been found anywhere in the Levant or anywhere else. It might be a representation of the human soul taking flight, but because the artist didn’t leave a note, we’re guessing. Or—and again, we’re speculating—this could be an ancient symbol with occult meaning even today. Three-dimensional scanning of the images show that at least some of them look very much like the Greek character psi, which is a trident (and the logo for Indiana University), the three-pronged spear traditionally carried by the Greco-Roman god of the sea, Poseidon/Neptune. Today it’s used, among other things, as a symbol for parapsychology, especially research into extrasensory perception, and in a mathematical formula that claims to guide occultists in how to perform rituals in chaos magick.
What did that symbol mean in the twentieth century BC? We have no way to know. It might have been doodling by a bored Bronze Age stonemason.
The takeaway is this: For at least a thousand years, people living in lands the Bible identifies as the home of Rephaim tribes built burial tombs with massive slabs of limestone and basalt. And those huge burial tombs inspired place names linked to the dolmen-builders (Iye-Abarim, “ruins of the Travelers”) and to the restless dead (Oboth, “Spirits of the Dead”).
Get this: Even the place where Moses died was called the Mountain of the Travelers.
Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people.…
So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. (Deuteronomy 32:49–50, 34:5–6, emphasis added)
Here’s a thought: Moses was buried in the valley of the Travelers, a place where the Rephaim spirits were believed to cross over to the land of the living. Is that why Satan, lord of the dead, thought he had a claim to Moses’ body after his death?
Another question comes to mind: Were all those dolmens up and down the Jordan Valley thought to be portals to the underworld?
Here’s another connection between this valley and the realm of the dead: Remember the prophecy of Balaam? After the king of Moab tried to buy a curse from the pagan prophet, Israel began drifting away from Yahweh again.
While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. (Numbers 25:1–3)
Who was Baal of Peor? Remember, baal in Hebrew simply means “lord.” So, the Lord of Peor was a local deity linked to a mountain near Shittim in Moab, northeast of the Dead Sea. The clue to the character of Baal-Peor is in the name.
Peor is related to the Hebrew root p’r, which means “cleft” or “gap,” or “open wide.” In this context, that definition is consistent with Isaiah’s description of the entrance to the netherworld:
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened [pa’ar] its mouth beyond measure. (Isaiah 5:14)
Since we’re looking at a place associated with the dead, it’s worth noting that the Canaanite god of death, Mot, was described in the Ugaritic texts as a ravenous entity with a truly monstrous mouth:
He extends a lip to the earth,
a lip to the heavens,
he extends a tongue to the stars.
That’s what’s in view here: Baal-Peor was apparently the lord of the entrance to the underworld—or, at the risk of being sensationalistic, “Lord of the Gates of Hell.”
Yes, the Canaanites believed the entrance to the underworld was at Bashan. But both Milcom (whom the Hebrews called Molech) and Chemosh, the national gods of Ammon and Moab, the nations that controlled most of the land east of the Jordan from the Dead Sea to Mount Hermon, demanded child sacrifice. Veneration of the dead and appeasing the gods of the dead through human sacrifice appear to have been the norm in this region east of the Dead Sea.
This was also the location of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is an awful lot of evil concentrated in a small area.
Anyway, perhaps because of the association with death and the dead, there was, shall we say, a fertility aspect to the cult of Baal-Peor.
And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. (Numbers 25:6–8)
How to put this delicately? There are only a couple of physical positions in which Phinehas could have speared both the Israelite man and Midianite woman with one thrust. If you’re an adult, I don’t need to draw you a picture. Emphasizing the point, the Hebrew word translated “belly,” qevah, can refer to a woman’s womb. In other words, the sin here wasn’t that an Israelite man brought a foreign woman home for dinner, it’s that the couple performed a lewd ritual act in full view of Moses and the assembly of Israel!
Well, it’s no wonder the men of Israel were tempted to follow Baal-Peor. Roughly 60 percent of the Christian pastors in America today struggle with addiction to pornography. Just imagine the temptation of being surrounded by people whose god decreed that extramarital sex was a form of worship. We don’t mean to be flippant, but it might take the real threat of death to keep men away from the temples! Indeed, twenty-four thousand people died in the plague that God sent as punishment for that apostasy because it wasn’t just the one couple involved.
And there was even more to it than that. Not surprisingly, given the Amorite/Rephaim culture in that time and place, one of the pagan rites the Israelites adopted during their time in Moab was veneration of the dead:
Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them. (Psalm 106:28–29)
The psalmist remembered the sacrifices to the dead, which is a basic description of the Amorite kispum ritual. The sexual sin of the young couple (and Phinehas’ violent reaction) is shocking to us today, but apparently the psalmist didn’t find it worth mentioning. The real sin that provoked God’s anger was venerating the dead, one of the “abominable practices” of the pagan nations He’d promised to drive out of the land before them.
That brings us back to the point: We’ve identified the area that Ezekiel called the Valley of the Travelers as the east side of the Jordan Rift Valley, specifically ancient Moab east and just northeast of the Dead Sea. And by now you’re asking, “Why are we spending all of this time identifying the area and unraveling the meaning behind the word Travelers?”
Here’s why: It connects the Rephaim to Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and Magog.
How? Stay tuned.

One of the most interesting and overlooked parallels in Scripture is the location of the Israelite camp just before the conquest of Canaan and what appears to be the route […]

One of the giants killed by David and his men during Israel’s war with the Philistines carried the unusual name Ishbi-benob. It’s usually taken to mean “his dwelling is in Nob.” However, as we mentioned last month, that’s an error. Given that the Hebrew word ôb means “medium” (or, more accurately, “necromantic ritual pit”), the giant wasn’t Ishbi-benob, he was Ishbi ben Ob. or “Ishbi son of the medium.”

But this goes even deeper. ʾÔb, in turn, is related to the Hebrew word ʾab, which means “father.” In the Old Testament, the word “fathers” most often refers to one’s dead ancestors. For example:

And when the time drew near that Israel [Jacob] must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers [ăbōṯ]. (Genesis 47:29–30)

Looking at all of this in context, then, we can pretty safely say that Oboth, one of the stations of the Exodus named in Numbers 21:10–11 and Numbers 33:43–44, essentially means “Spirits of the Dead.”

The other location mentioned in those verses, Iye-abarim (or “ruins of the Abarim”), is based on the same root. Abarim is the anglicized form of ōbĕrîm, a plural form of the verb ʿbr, which means “to pass from one side to the other.” In this context, it refers to a spirit that passes from one plane of existence to another, or crosses over, in the same sense that the ancient Greeks believed that the dead traveled across the River Styx to reach or return from the underworld.

The placement of Oboth and Iye-abarim in Numbers 33 suggests that they were east of the Dead Sea, close to Mount Nebo and the plains of Moab. This is confirmed by the proximity of Shittim to Beth-Peor. And that’s a name that needs a deeper dive.

Peor is related to the Hebrew root p’r, which means “cleft” or “gap,” or “open wide.” In this context, that’s consistent with Isaiah’s description of the entrance to the netherworld:

Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened [pa’ar] its mouth beyond measure. (Isaiah 5:14)

This is similar to the Canaanite conception of their god of death, Mot, who was described in Ugaritic texts as a ravenous entity with a truly monstrous mouth:

He extends a lip to the earth, a lip to the heavens, he extends a tongue to the stars.

It appears, then, that Baal-Peor was the “lord of the entrance to the netherworld.” So, Beth-Peor, the “house (or temple) of the entrance to the netherworld,” was near the plains of Moab and Mount Nebo—which God called “this mountain of the Abarim.”

All of this leads to the real reason God was angry with the Israelites when they camped at Shittim. The worship of Baal-Peor was not about sexual fertility rites, as you might think after reading the story of the zeal of Phinehas.

Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, 

and ate sacrifices offered to the dead

they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds, 

and a plague broke out among them. 

Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, 

and the plague was stayed. (Psalm 106:28–30, emphasis added)

Writing four hundred years after the incident at Shittim, the psalmist didn’t even mention the young couple caught in the act by Phinehas. It was eating sacrifices offered to the dead that angered Yahweh. And judging by the words of later prophets, the Israelites were slow to learn their lesson.

But you, draw near, 

sons of the sorceress, 

offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman. 

Whom are you mocking? 

Against whom do you open your mouth wide 

and stick out your tongue? 

Are you not children of transgression, 

the offspring of deceit, 

you who burn with lust among the oaks, 

under every green tree, 

who slaughter your children in the valleys, 

under the clefts of the rocks? 

Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; 

they, they, are your lot; 

to them you have poured out a drink offering, 

you have brought a grain offering. 

Shall I relent for these things? (Isaiah 57:3–6)

Isaiah wrote nearly seven hundred years after the Exodus, but the Israelites were still engaged in the occult practices that compelled God to smite them with a devastating plague. To “burn with lust among the oaks” suggests fertility rites, which seems obvious given the prophet’s condemnation of the children of the adulteress and “loose woman,” which is also rendered “prostitute” and “whore” in other English translations. Ah, but once again, there is more in the Bible verse than meets the English-reading eye.

The Hebrew word translated “sorceress,” ʿanan, is difficult to pin down. “Witch” and “fortune teller” have also been used in translation. More likely, however, is a correlation with the Arabic ʿanna, meaning “to appear,” which suggests that the sorceress was actually a female necromancer.

This may explain why the word rendered “oaks” or “terebinths,” normally spelled ʾêlîm, is ʾēlîm in Isaiah 57:5. This could be a scribal error, but it seems more likely that it’s the same word we find in Psalm 29:1:

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings (bənē ʾēlīm),

Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

As we saw above in the story of Saul and the medium of En-dor, elohim and its shortened form, elim, was used in Hebrew to refer to dead ancestors. So, Isaiah wasn’t necessarily railing against sex rites among the sacred oaks, but rather something like, “You sons of the necromancer…who burn with lust among the spirits of the dead.” It’s likely the prophet was engaging in the wordplay for which he’s well known, using a pun to emphasize the spirits behind the rituals—the ʾêlîm among the ʾêlîm.

Isaiah continues his diatribe by connecting the death cult to the rites of Molech. The valley of the son of Hinnom, later called Gehenna, was the location of the tophet, where Israelites sacrificed their children to the dark god of the underworld. The Valley of Hinnom surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City on the south and west, connecting on the west with the Valley of Rephaim (interesting coincidence) and merging with the Kidron Valley near the southeastern corner of the city. It’s as Isaiah described it, a narrow, rocky ravine that was used as a place for burying the dead. Tombs along the sides of the valley are plainly visible to visitors to Jerusalem today. This helps us better understand the real meaning behind verse 6, which begins, “among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion.”

An alternative understanding of the phrase challeqe-nachal, “smooth things of the wadi,” is the “dead” of the wadi. This meaning is based on examples of the related Semitic word chalaq found in Arabic and Ugaritic with the meaning “die, perish.”

The brings the picture into focus. This chapter of Isaiah is obscure and hard to understand only if we read it without understanding what the prophet knew about the Amorite cult of the dead. This is confirmed by the next few verses of the chapter:

On a high and lofty mountain 

you have set your bed, 

and there you went up to offer sacrifice. 

Behind the door and the doorpost 

you have set up your memorial; 

for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, 

you have gone up to it, 

you have made it wide; 

and you have made a covenant for yourself with them, 

you have loved their bed, 

you have looked on nakedness. 

You journeyed to the king with oil 

and multiplied your perfumes; 

you sent your envoys far off, 

and sent down even to Sheol. (Isaiah 57:3–9)

The high places were almost constantly in use in Israel and Judah, even during the reigns of kings who tried to do right by God, like Hezekiah. The imagery of adultery and sexual license is a common metaphor in the Old Testament for the spiritual infidelity of God’s people. But even here, there are some deeper things to bring out.

This section of Scripture confirms that the target of Isaiah’s condemnation was a cult of the dead. Because Hebrew is a consonantal language (no vowels), similar words in the original Hebrew text, written before diacritical marks were used to indicate vowels, can be confusing. Verse 9 is a case in point. The consonants mem, lamed, and kaph can be used for melech (“king,” which is how it’s interpreted in Isaiah 57:9), malik (“messenger,” especially as a type of angel), or the name of the god Molech. Considering what precedes that verse, specifically Isaiah’s reference to slaughtering children in the valleys, the latter option is most likely.

So, Isaiah 57:3–9 should be understood as God’s condemnation of the worship of the dead. Isaiah calls out the “sons of the necromancer” who “burn with passion” among the spirits of the dead, sacrificing their children among the dead of the wadis, who were offered food and drink consistent with the Amorite kispum ritual for the ancestral dead. But it was worse than that—the apostate Jews “journeyed to Molech with oil…and sent down even to Sheol,” the realm of spirits worshiped as the long-dead, mighty kings of old.