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Sons of the Titans!

Scholar Amar Annus has linked the name Sheth/Seth, found in the prophecy of Balaam
recorded in Numbers 24:17, to an infamous Amorite tribe well known in the ancient
Near East, the Suteans.
He notes that the Egyptian term for the Suteans, Šwtw, a form of the Akkadian Shutu,
appears in one of the Execration Texts from the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries B.C.,
about the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Ruler of Shutu, Ayyabum, and all the retainers who are with him; the Ruler
of Shutu, Kushar, and all the retainers who are with him; the Ruler of Shutu,
Zabulanu, and all the retainers who are with him. 1

Man Praying Sunset

The Execration Texts were like ancient Egyptian voodoo dolls. The names of enemies
were inscribed on pottery, which were ritually cursed and then smashed. In a nutshell,
“Sheth,” “Shutu,” and “Sutean” are the same name processed through different
languages and types of writing. 2   Other Egyptian texts place the Shutu/Sheth in the
central and northern Transjordan, which, significantly, includes Bashan—Rephaim
territory. 3
Other fascinating tidbits from the Execration Texts: The Shutu leaders were listed just
after the “Rulers of Iy-‘anaq”—the Anakim tribes that Joshua and the Israelites would
fight for control of Canaan about four hundred years later. Also, the Shutu leader named
Ayyabum bears the same name as the biblical Job. Now, this was probably not the Job
of the Old Testament, but the Egyptian curse does locate him in the Transjordan, the
same general area that was home to the long-suffering Job 4   and exactly where the Bible
places the Rephaim tribes. And because you’ve read your Old Testament, you’ve
noticed that the other Shutu leader, Zabulanu, has a name that Jacob would later give
to one of his sons, Zebulon.
Here’s the key link: Annus points to an Akkadian lexical list (that’s like an ancient clay
tablet version of Google Translate) that specifically equates ti-id-nu and su-tu-u—Tidanu
and Sutean. 5   Citing Michael Heltzer’s 1981 book The Suteans, Annus continues:
In Ugaritic literature Suteans are mentioned in the epic of Aqhatu, where the
antagonist of the mt rpi Dnil [“man of the Rephaim, Daniel”] is a nomadic Ytpn,
mhr št—“warrior of the Sutû, Sutean warrior.” …In the epic of Keret Suteans are
mentioned as dtn, spelled also as ddn, and it “must be understood as the
Di/Tidânu tribe, a part of common Amorite stock. It is even likely that this term
was used in Mesopotamia at the end of the 3rd millennium to designate tribes
later known as Suteans.” 6
Highlight that! The Ugaritic Epic of Keret links the Amorite Sutean tribe, the Egyptian
Shutu and the biblical sons of Sheth, with the Ditanu—the Titans!
Here’s one more bit of historical evidence for your consideration: The Shutu are also
identified in later Egyptian texts as the Shasu, 7   probably as language and pronunciation
changed over the centuries. About two hundred years after the Exodus, Ramesses II
(“the Great”) fought an epic battle against the Hittites at Qadesh, a city on the Orontes
River near the modern border between Syria and Lebanon. According to the Egyptian
2 Ibid.
3 Amar Annus, “Are There Greek Rephaim? On the Etymology of Greek Meropes and Titanes.”
Ugarit-Forschungen 31 (1999), p. 18.
4 Most Bible commentaries place the land of Uz in the Transjordan, usually near Edom.
5 Annus, op. cit.
6 Michael Heltzer & Shoshana Arbeli-Raveh, The Suteans (Naples: Istituto Universitario
Orientale, 1981). Cited in Annus, op. cit., p. 19.
7 “Biblical Archaeology: Evidence of the Exodus from Egypt.” Institute for Biblical and Scientific
Studies. https://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm, retrieved 3/3/18.

Seth, Sheth or Set the Egyptian “god of chaos”?

The victories over Og of Bashan and his ally, Sihon of Heshbon, were the last two battles fought by the Israelites under Moses. Since you’ve read your Old Testament, you know that Moses didn’t live much longer after the clash at Og’s royal city, Edrei. The Israelites retraced their steps along the King’s Highway, and then turned west at Heshbon to camp in the Plains of Moab, across the Jordan River from Jericho. That takes place toward the end of the Book of Numbers, just before the fascinating encounter with the prophet-for-profit Balaam.

An inscription discovered in 1967 at Deir Alla, a town about twenty-five miles north of the Plains of Moab, three miles east of the Jordan River in modern-day Jordan, mentions Balaam, son of Beor by name. While the text is probably from the eighth century B.C., about 650 years after the incident with Balaam (around 1406 B.C.), it confirms that there were people who believed a prophet named Balaam son of Beor, a “divine seer,” was a historical character. And this evidence was found about a two-day journey from where the king of Moab, Balak, offered Balaam the going rate for a high-quality curse. Instead, Balaam delivered several blessings on Israel. To his credit, at least the prophet refused to say anything Yahweh didn’t put in his mouth.

Before parting ways with the furious king of Moab, Balaam offered one of the best-known prophecies in the Old Testament, one that is clearly messianic:

I see him, but not now;

   I behold him, but not near:

a star shall come out of Jacob,

   and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;

it shall crush the forehead of Moab

   and break down all the sons of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17, ESV)

Scholars have argued for literally thousands of years about the exact meaning of this passage. Some have believed there is no messianic application to Balaam’s prophecy. For example, Martin Luther just couldn’t accept that God would use a devious pagan like Balaam that way. Of course, that ignores Numbers 24:2, which tells us that “the Spirit of God came upon him.” Others believe the passage was fulfilled by David; still others think the process began with David but won’t be completed until the Messiah returns. I’m setting aside all of that to focus on the very last line of Balaam’s oracle.

Have you ever read this verse and wondered who, exactly, are the sons of Sheth? Some translations render the name “Seth,” and a few read “sons of tumult” instead of Seth or Sheth. Here is the key question: Which Seth are we talking about here? The most prominent Seth in the Bible Allow me to put forward two possibilities I doubt you’ve heard before.

First, consider the possibility that the sons of Sheth are followers of a pagan god. Seth and Sheth are alternate transliterations of the name of Egyptian chaos-god, Set (also spelled Sutekh, Setekh, and Setesh). During Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period, Lower Egypt (that is, northern Egypt) was ruled by a Semitic-speaking people called the Hyksos, who were almost certainly Amorites. The most important god in their pantheon was Baal, who was merged by the Hyksos with Set.

The timing of the end of the Hyksos era in Egypt is fuzzy, but most scholars place it about a hundred years or so before the Exodus. They were driven out after a series of wars led by native Egyptian rulers based at Thebes. While it would be convenient to think that the Hyksos were utterly destroyed by the Egyptians or simply disappeared from history, that’s unlikely. It’s more probable that they were driven out of Egypt into Arabia or the Transjordan, absorbed into the native Egyptian population, or a bit of both. Since the worship of Baal-Set continued in Egypt for at least two hundred years after the Exodus, long after the fall of the Hyksos kingdom, that may be closest to what happened.

Is it possible that the prophecy refers to David’s defeat of Set-worshiping desert nomads southeast of the Dead Sea? Maybe. To be honest, I was more excited about that idea a year and a half ago when I wrote The Great Inception. Now, not so much.

In our next installment, we’ll try another interpretation of that prophecy on for size.

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What happened to America Part II

The United States of America made a Covenant with God, only the second nation in history to do so.  The first was ancient Israel, when the son of King David, Solomon, reputed by many to be the wisest man who ever lived, built the First Temple in Jerusalem in roughly the year 1008 B.C. and publicly dedicated it with a prayer recorded in the Bible in I Kings chapter 8, and again in II Chronicles 6:13 to 7:9.  In it, he caused the people to realize that they had responsibilities to God that they were commanded to carry out if they expected God’s favor to be upon them.  For many years they did, to the best of their ability, and they were blessed.  And then they broke it, and at length were carried away captive into Babylon.

God judges people individually, but He judges nations by the character of their leaders.  As Dr. D. James Kennedy said some years ago, “Ungodly leaders make ungodly decisions, and discourage a conscience toward God.”  Individuals receive grace only because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, on the cross; nations receive grace in accordance with the conduct of their leaders and by extension, the conduct of the people they lead.  The United States had the first government in history that gave the common people permission to choose for themselves their leaders.  As we have seen, those choices have had history-changing consequences.

How does a nation break its Covenant with God?  The people of the United States kept it for almost two hundred years. How could a people so blessed by God suddenly decide to break the Covenant that was the source of their blessing?  What did they think could be gained by such a foolish act?  Did they know that they were doing such a deliberate and catastrophic deed?  The hard thing about law is that ignorance is no excuse.  God’s law is the same, it is in fact the source of man’s good laws; the bad ones men come up with themselves.  What those who broke the Covenant knew is irrelevant.  The fact that they broke it is the only thing that matters to God.

The concept of covenant is as old as man’s time on earth.  When two unfriendly tribes mutually decided to stop killing each other, the chiefs would slaughter a significant number of valuable animals, cut them in half and spread the bloody remains apart to create what was called “the walk of blood.”  The chiefs would then walk together through this path between the pieces pronouncing curses upon themselves and their children should they break the terms of the covenant.  This walk was repeated over and over again. They could hear each other and the more horrible and violent the curses each chief spoke against himself, his family, and his tribe – the more serious the other party listening would believe the covenant to be.  A covenant with God is as serious as anything on earth gets.

How did we break a covenant almost as old as the United States Constitution itself?

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The Second Coming of Hercules

The gods of Greek mythology are real. They’re angry, and they’re coming back.

Wait, you’re thinking. I thought this guy was a Christian.

Exactly.

The Greek tales of their deities and demigods are bastardized versions of true history. Zeus is Satan. The Titans are the “sons of god [who] came in to the daughters of man.” The heroes of the Golden Age were “the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”

Now, let’s be clear: We Christians do not seek truth in the myths of Greece and Rome. We can, however, gain a deeper understanding of the Bible by viewing the world through the eyes of the prophets and apostles, and they knew very well what their pagan neighbors believed. Much of what they wrote was directed at the pagan gods.

If you were brought up in church, there’s a good chance that, like me, you were taught that the idols of the pagans were lifeless blocks of wood and stone. That’s true, to a point. The pagans didn’t worship those carved images. An idol was like an antenna, a spiritual receiver that gave a god locality—a place to appear when the faithful called.

Those gods, though—they’re real.

That’s not the default teaching of most Christian churches. Sadly, most are out of step with the God they serve. God called the idols gods, so I’m on solid theological ground here. He’s judged them, found them wanting, and proclaimed a sentence of death on these rebels.

But they’re not dead yet. And just as you and I have free will to choose between right and wrong, so do they. God, who has seen the end from the beginning, has revealed enough about their plans through prophecy in the Bible to tell us that the ride on earth will get rough before Christ returns. Reading those prophecies with a better understanding of what the Hebrew prophets knew about the pagan gods reveals some startling insights about what lies ahead.

In my 2018 book Last Clash of the Titans, I presented evidence for a number of claims, many of which haven’t been made before to the best of my knowledge:

  • The Amorites of the ancient world are far more important to history than we’ve been taught.
  • The Titans, the old gods of the Greeks, are the biblical Watchers, the sons of God who took daughters of man as wives as described in Genesis 6:1–4.
  • Their offspring, the Nephilim (later called Rephaim), were the heroes and demigods of the Greeks.
  • The Amorites summoned the spirits of the Rephaim through necromancy rituals and believed they were the ancestors of their kings.
  • Balaam’s prophecy over Israel foretold the final destruction of the Nephilim by the Messiah.
  • Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and Magog tells us when and where they’ll be destroyed.
  • Gog won’t be human, and Magog is not Russia.
  • The spirit of primordial chaos, Leviathan, returns from the abyss as the Antichrist.
  • The Titans and their seed, the spirits of the Rephaim, return in the last days to fight at Armageddon.

As you may have noticed, the book focuses on the supernatural players of the end times. We spend too much time debating whether Vladimir Putin is Gog and not enough trying to discern the principalities and powers behind the scenes.

Now, I could be wrong about much of this. However, my analysis is backed by peer-reviewed, academic research. Most of it comes from secular scholars with no dog in the eschatological hunt. They’ve found many of the pieces of the puzzle, but they don’t see the whole picture because the missing pieces are in the Bible—and most of those scholars just won’t look there.

Likewise, many learned students and scholars of the Bible don’t look to secular academia for information. We Christians do see the big picture, but much of the background image is missing. There is no context for the crossing of the Red Sea, the march around the walls of Jericho, or the confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal. Why did God ask such things of His people? There are answers to those questions rooted in the history, culture, and religion of the people who lived in the lands of the Bible during the age of the prophets and apostles.

Is understanding that context essential to your eternal salvation? No. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your future is secure.

But understanding how the pagan gods of the ancient world have successfully rebranded themselves as action heroes for major motion pictures might be useful to reaching the lost. As Baudelaire wrote, “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Recent research shows that nearly 60 percent of American Christians have fallen for that lie.[1] God’s statement is as true today as it was 2,700 years ago: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”[2] How do you resist an enemy you think is make-believe?

Zeus, Hercules, the Olympians, and the Titans are real. They hate us, they want to kill us, and they’re coming back.

Get ready.

[1] Barna Group (2009). “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” https://www.barna.com/research/most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exist/, retrieved 4/29/18.

[2] Hosea 4:6.

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What happened to America Part I

Having just commemorated Memorial Day in which we honor our military service members who have died in combat throughout our history as a nation, we are coming upon two additional extraordinary days that are worth our attention and devotion.  In just a few days, our country will celebrate in a special way the lives of those who dared everything 75 years ago when American, British and Canadian military forces stormed the beaches of Normandy to free Europe from the iron boot of National Socialism – the Nazis.

Roughly one month after this, we will celebrate the Fourth of July, remembering the day in 1776 when Americans declared themselves free of the tyranny that had become British rule of the colonies.  The Declaration of Independence is still cherished by most Americans as one of our key founding documents.  Over one million Americans have died in combat, both to make that declaration a reality and to preserve the United States of America.

How does a nation produce such men, willing to give up everything in life for a cause, in many cases for those living in other nations who are oppressed by forces that they alone cannot withstand?  To learn this, we must remember something which few Americans know and fewer care about.  We must remember the Covenant that the first national government of the United States made with God.

On April 30, 1789, the members of the United States federal government met together for the first time in St. Paul’s Cathedral in New York City to dedicate the newly formed nation under the just-ratified U.S. Constitution to God.  George Washington was not elected president – he was acclaimed.  Nobody would even think of running against him.  The new House of Representatives and Senate along with the Supreme Court declared in unison that this nation would be governed by God and the people would worship Him in the affairs of state and in their own lives.  No record of what was said exists – the occasion was too solemn for anyone to take notes.  But the event was known to all.

Within 50 years of making that Covenant with God, the United States of America was the envy of the world.  In commerce, in war, in the peace and tranquility of the lives of her citizens, The United States was unique.  The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville came here in the 1830’s and marveled at what he saw and heard.  He wrote a book called “Democracy in America” cataloguing those wonders, and gave God a significant place in his understanding of why this country above all others on the earth at the time was so blessed.

We made a Covenant with God.  We were blessed.  And then we broke it.

(to be continued)

Who is Baal, Really?

Texts from the Canaanite kingdom of Ugarit name Mount Zaphon as the site of Baal’s palace, but the capital of Yamḥad, Halab (Aleppo), was the City of Hadad, so called after the proper name of the storm-god (Baal was a title: “lord”). The god’s sanctuary there, which lies beneath a massive citadel in Aleppo’s old quarter, dates to the Early Bronze Age, the mid-3rd millennium BC (ca. 2500 BC), and it was in use until about the 9th century BC

The importance of the storm-god of Aleppo is highlighted by evidence of his cult across Mesopotamia and the Levant, from Nuzi, east of the Tigris River, to Hattuša, capital of the Hittite empire, in what is now north-central Turkey. By the old Babylonian period (roughly 1900-1600 BC), Hadad was the preeminent god in Mesopotamia. Emissaries from Elam (northwestern Iran) traveled to Aleppo to present the god with a bow as a gift.

Figurine of Baal found at Ugarit

Yamḥad enjoyed the benefits of the storm-god’s presence in its midst. The king was called “beloved of Hadad” and the kingdom was the Land of Hadad. The god bestowed kingship and assigned territory to kings, even to those outside the borders of Yamḥad. Before the Amorites swept into southern Mesopotamia and took control from the native Sumerians in the early 2nd millennium BC, that power was restricted to Enlil. (After the rise of Babylon, various deities besides Hadad, including Marduk, Dagan, and the moon-god Sîn, claimed king-making authority at different times and places.)

If you’re a reader of the Bible, you recognize that this is another bit of propaganda from the spirit realm. Scripture tells us “there is no [governing] authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1, ESV).

It was believed that the sacred weapons forged for Baal by the craftsman god, Kothar-wa-Khasis (“Skillful-and-Wise,” or “Deft-and-Clever”), to defeat the sea-god Yam were kept at the temple of Hadad in Aleppo. Letters found at Mari confirm that the weapons, clubs named Yagrush (Chaser) and Aymur (Driver), were transported from Aleppo to the city of Terqa for Zimrī-Līm, the king of Mari during the time of Hammurabi (c. 1775 BC), and placed in the temple of Mari’s chief god, Dagan.

This is fascinating on a couple of levels. First, the clubs were actual physical objects that could be brought out and displayed during ceremonies. Second, the weapons apparently had a ritual function. Whether the clubs were returned to Aleppo, we don’t know, but it raises a disturbing thought: This is sheer speculation, but is it possible that these weapons, whatever they were, still exist, are in Aleppo today, and are somehow spiritually linked to the savage violence of the Syrian civil war?

Roughly 80 miles west of Aleppo, Mount Zaphon, the home of Baal’s palace, was known to the Greeks as Mount Kasios. The Greek storm-god Zeus was naturally identified with Baal-Hadad, and the aspect of Zeus who reigned there was known as Zeus Kasios (Jupiter Casius to the Romans).

We mentioned earlier that Mount Zaphon/Kasios was the site of the epic battle between Zeus and the chaos monster, Typhon, which is a clear parallel with Baal’s victory over Yam and his minion, the sea dragon Lotan (the Canaanite name for Leviathan).

The victory of a god over the chaos monster representing the sea or, as scholar Robert D. Miller termed it, the storm-god-slays-dragon myth, is a theme that stretches back to Sumer. The Zeus-Typhon and and Baal-Yam conflicts were preceded by the Hittite myth of Tarhunt and the dragon Illuyanka, the Indian myth of the god Indra’s defeat of the dragon Vrtra (with a thunderbolt, naturally), and before that, the account of Marduk and Tiamat in the Babylonian creation epic, the Enuma Elish.

In the god lists found at Ugarit, which serve as a lexicon between Ugaritic and Akkadian, Tiamat is equated with Baal’s nemesis, Yam. After his victory over Tiamat, Marduk, like Baal, was declared king of the gods and had a palace built in his honor.

Some scholars have observed that because no copy of the Enuma Elish predates the tablets containing the Baal Cycle found at Ugarit, and it probably originated no more than two hundred years before the Baal Cycle, the storm-god-slays-dragon myth may have traveled to Babylon from the region around Mount Zaphon and not, as is generally assumed, the other way around. This makes a lot of sense. It’s far more likely that people near the Mediterranean would envision the sea as a monstrous opponent of the gods than the inhabitants of arid central Mesopotamia.

As we mentioned earlier, the Sumerian storm-god Iškur may well have been a Semitic import. The Amorites were in contact with southern Mesopotamia from an early age. As with the belief that the storm-god was king of the gods, the account of his triumph over chaos may have traveled west to east with Amorite caravans. Of course, these tales were a PSYOP to lay claim to the victory that Yahweh had won over Leviathan and chaos.

There is another connection linking all these stories: We previously mentioned a letter to Zimrī-Līm, the king of Mari, confirming receipt of the weapons of Hadad at the temple of Dagan in Terqa. The king also received a message purportedly from the god himself through one of his prophets:

Thus says Adad [Hadad/Baal], I brought you back to the throne of your father, I brought you back. The weapons with which I fought Tiamat I gave to you. With the oil of my bitter victory I anointed you, and no one before you could stand.

A Prophetic Letter of Adad to Zimrī-Līm (A.1968)

The word translated “Tiamat”, têmtum (a variant form of Tiamat), is a cognate of the Hebrew word tehom, which appears in the very second verse of the Bible:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep (tehom). And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2, ESV)

Linking the Sumerian chaos goddess, Tiamat, and “the deep” of Genesis 1:2 puts that verse in a new light. Why did the Spirit of God hover over the waters? Is it possible Yahweh defeated a divine rebel before creating Adam and Eve? And having cast Tehom/Tiamat into the abyss, did His Spirit remain to guarantee the monster would stay there?

Thus, the creation of the world as recorded in Genesis is linked to the Enuma Elish, the Baal Cycle, and the storm-god-slays-dragon myths of ancient Anatolia and Greece, and probably the nightly contest between Set and Apophis, the Indian myth referenced above, the battles between Thor and Jörmungandr, and others.

Not surprisingly, secular scholars generally believe the Genesis account was inspired by the Babylonian myth instead of the other way around. But the oldest written account isn’t necessarily the one that’s true.

Why is all of this about the storm-god relevant? Because Isaiah 14:13 identifies Mount Zaphon—yarkete tsaphon in the Bible (usually translated “heights of the north,” “uttermost north,” or “sides of the north”)—as the “mount of assembly” of the rebel from Eden, and the rally point for the end-times army led by Gog of Magog. And Jesus identified the storm-god as Satan.

In other words, Satan is Baal—and by extension, Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, and every other pantheon’s incarnation of the storm-god.

Think about that. Two thousand years ago, Jesus called this creature the Father of Lies. Today, he’s a wisecracking superhero in the biggest motion picture in history.

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“For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Where in the Bible are these verses found? They are found in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. Since I spend a lot of time speaking in Christian churches this has become my favorite passage about Passover.

Paul is not writing to the Jewish believers of Yeshua who are living in Jerusalem. He is writing to Corinthians; non-Jewish, gentile Christians. He identifies Messiah as our Passover Lamb. Since Paul identifies Yeshua as the Passover Lamb, he must have a reason for doing this. The more you study the Passover lamb, the more you’ll learn about what Yeshua did for you.

Paul also tells us that we’re not to be leavened with malice and wickedness, but we need to the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. During Passover God tells us to remove leaven from our homes, and to eat unleavened bread (which is also known as matzah). Since Paul discusses unleavened bread and contrasts it with leavened bread, he must have something he wants to teach us. Why does Paul want us to be like unleavened bread, and not like leavened bread? What does removing leaven from our homes have to do with this? What can we learn from Passover?

Finally, Paul goes so far as to tell gentile, non-Jewish Christians that they are to “keep (or celebrate) the Festival (of Passover).” Why does Paul tell Christian to celebrate Passover? I am certain if you take the time to study the Passover lamb, and the purpose of removing leaven, you will clearly see why you need to celebrate Passover.

In God’s Word Christians are told to celebrate Passover. But I believe you have freedom in how you celebrate Passover. You can choose to embrace as much or little of the modern ritual of how to celebrate Passover. Throughout history Jewish people have created ways of remembering and teaching what God did for our ancestors. This is where our freedom comes in. We can choose to embrace the modern customs if we desire. But we are also free to teach it any way that helps us remember that God will do the same for us today.

I am spending the month of April traveling to churches and ministries in Tampa Bay to help Christians celebrate Passover. If you live in Tampa Bay, go to my events calendar on my Rabbi Ron Speaks Facebook Page or click on this link to see where I’ll be. https://www.facebook.com/pg/RabbiRonSpeaks/events/

If you would like me to visit your group and help you celebrate Messiah our Passover Lamb, contact me. I’d love to speak with you and show you how you can (spiritually) profit from Passover.

 

Nimrod and the Goddess

Nimrod was born in the second generation after the flood. His father was Cush, son of Ham, son
of Noah. In Sumerian history, the second king of Uruk after the flood was named Enmerkar, son
of Mesh-ki-ang-gasher.
The Hebrews, doing what they loved to do with language, transformed Enmer—the consonants
N-M-R (remember, no vowels in ancient Hebrew)—into Nimrod, which makes it sound like
marad, the Hebrew word for “rebel”.
As we mentioned in an earlier article in this series, an epic poem called Enmerkar and the Lord
of Aratta from around the time of Abraham, circa 2000 B.C., preserves the basic details of the
Tower of Babel story.
We don’t know exactly where Aratta was, but guesses range from northern Iran to Armenia.
(Which would be interesting. Not only is Armenia located near the center of an ancient kingdom
called Urartu, which may be a cognate for Aratta, it’s where Noah landed his boat—the
mountains of Ararat. So Nimrod/Enmerkar may have been intimidating his cousins who settled
close to where their great-grandfather landed the ark.)  Wherever it was, Enmerkar muscled this
neighboring kingdom to compel them to send building materials for a couple of projects near and
dear to his heart.
The poem refers to Enmerkar’s capital city, Uruk, as the “great mountain”. This is intriguing,
since Uruk, like most of Sumer, sits in an alluvial plain where there are precisely no mountains
whatsoever. Uruk was home to two of the chief gods of the Sumerian pantheon, Anu, the sky
god, and Inanna, his granddaughter, the goddess of war and sex. And by “sex,” we mean the
carnal, extramarital kind.
While Anu was pretty much retired, having handed over his duties as head of the pantheon to
Enlil, Inanna played a very active role in Sumerian society. For example, scholars have translated
ritual texts for innkeepers to pray to Innana, asking her to guarantee that their bordellos turn a
profit.
Apparently, the conflict between Enmerkar and the king of Aratta, whose name, we learn from a
separate epic, was Ensuhkeshdanna, was a dispute over who was Inanna’s favorite. One of the
building projects Enmerkar wanted to tackle was a magnificent temple to Inanna, the E-ana
(“House of Heaven”). He wanted Aratta to supply the raw materials. Apparently, this wasn’t only
because there isn’t much in the way of timber, jewels, or precious metal in the plains of Sumer,
but because Enmerkar wanted the lord of Aratta to submit and acknowledge that he was Inanna’s
chosen one. And so Enmerkar prayed to Inanna:
“My sister, let Aratta fashion gold and silver skillfully on my behalf for Unug [Uruk].
Let them cut the flawless lapis lazuli from the blocks, let them …… the translucence of
the flawless lapis lazuli ……. …… build a holy mountain in Unug. Let Aratta build a
temple brought down from heaven — your place of worship, the Shrine E-ana; let Aratta
skillfully fashion the interior of the holy jipar, your abode; may I, the radiant youth, may
I be embraced there by you. Let Aratta submit beneath the yoke for Unug on my
behalf.” 1

Notice that Inanna’s temple was, like Uruk, compared to a holy mountain. And given the type of
goddess Inanna was, the embrace Enmerkar wanted was more than just—ahem—a figure of
speech.

 

 

 

The Burney Relief at the British Museum is a terra cotta plaque dated to 1800-1750 B.C. It’s
believed to represent the goddess Inanna, also known as Ishtar, and later as Astarte of the Bible.
To be honest, some of the messages between Enmerkar and Ensuhkeshdanna about Inanna were
the kind of locker room talk that got Donald Trump into trouble during the 2016 presidential
campaign. But I digress.

Well… no. Let’s continue with the digression for a minute. We should stop for a brief look at
Inanna’s role in human history. The goddess has been known by many names through the ages:
Inanna in Sumer, Ishtar in Babylon, Astarte in Canaan, Atargatis in Syria, Aphrodite in Greece,
and Venus across the Roman world. Let’s just say the image we were taught of Aphrodite/Venus
in high school mythology class was way off.
Since we’d like to keep this a family-friendly article, we won’t dig too deeply into the history
and characteristics of Inanna. Scholars don’t completely agree on the details, but it’s safe to say
the goddess wasn’t a girl you’d bring home to meet your mother.
In fact, she wasn’t always a girl, period. You see, while Inanna was definitely the goddess with
the mostest when it came to sex appeal, she was also androgynous. She was sometimes shown
with masculine features like a beard. On one tablet (although from much later, in the first
millennium B.C., almost three thousand years after Nimrod), Inanna says, “When I sit in the
alehouse, I am a woman, and I am an exuberant young man.” 2 Her cult followers included

eunuchs and transvestites, and she was apparently the first in history to make a practice of sex
reassignment:
She [changes] the right side (male) into the left side (female),
She [changes] the left side into the right side,
She [turns] a man into a woman,
She [turns] a woman into a man
She ador[ns] a man as a woman,
She ador[ns] a woman as a man. 3
It’s wonderfully ironic. The 21st century progressive ideal of gender fluidity was personified
more than five thousand years ago by the Sumerian goddess Inanna, a woman who craved sex
and fighting as much (or more) than men, taking on all comers in love and war, and better than
men at both. Her personality is celebrated by modern scholars as complex and courageous,
transcending traditional gender roles, turning Inanna into an icon of independent
man/woman/other-hood.
There is an ongoing debate among scholars as to whether the priesthood of Inanna was involved
in ritual sex. The concept of divine marriage was common in ancient Mesopotamia, but generally
the participants were a god and his consort. It appears that the rituals were intended to please the
god so he’d be receptive to the requests from a city or kingdom under his protection.
However, as a harimtu, which may mean “temple prostitute” or may have simply referred to a
single woman, Inanna herself participated in the rite with a king. And since she was the dominant
partner in the ritual coupling, gender roles might not have been as clearly defined as we would
assume.
From a Christian perspective, however, Inanna isn’t complex at all. She’s a bad Hollywood
screenwriter’s idea of a 15-year-old boy’s fantasy woman. Inanna is selfish, ruled by her
passions, and destructive when she doesn’t get her way. The Sumerian hero Gilgamesh, who
ruled Uruk two generations after Enmerkar, is remembered partly for rejecting Inanna. As he
pointed out in the story, every one of the men in her life suffered horrible consequences—for
example, Dumuzi the Shepherd, who ruled as a king in Bad-Tibara, the second city in Sumer to
exercise kingship after Eridu.
In the myth, even though Inanna married Dumuzi, she was happy to throw him under the bus
when demons tried to drag her younger son, Lulal, down to the netherworld. At Inanna’s urging,
the demons spared Lulal and took Dumuzi instead. Dumuzi’s sister pleaded for him, so Inanna
agreed to allow her to take his place for half the year, thus making Dumuzi the first of many
“dying and rising gods” in the ancient Near East.
More than two thousand years later, one of the abominations God showed the prophet Ezekiel
was women at the entrance of the north gate of the Temple weeping for Dumuzi, called Tammuz
in the Bible.
Well, for his impudence at daring to remind Inanna about the fate of Dumuzi, and the other fools
who’d succumbed to the charms of the wild goddess, she flew up to heaven in a rage and
demanded that her father, the sky god Anu, unleash the Bull of Heaven on Gilgamesh. That

didn’t go well for the Bull of Heaven, but sadly for Gilgamesh, his best friend Enkidu was killed
by the gods as punishment for spoiling Inanna’s revenge.
We share all of this with you to make a point: This is the deity Enmerkar/Nimrod wanted to make
the patron goddess of his city, Uruk. Could it be that veneration of the violent, sex-crazed,
gender-bending Inanna was responsible for Yahweh’s decision to stop Nimrod’s artificial holy
mountain?
Well, no, probably not. Inanna has enjoyed a very long run near the top of the Most Popular
Deities list. And why not? Selling humans on the concept of sex as worship is easy.
Looking at the values of our modern society, it’s no stretch to say that Inanna is the spirit of the
age. Gender fluidity is the flavor of the month among progressives in the West. The values of
Inanna—immediate gratification and sex with whoever, whenever—are considered more open-
minded, tolerant, and loving than the virtues of chastity, fidelity, and faithfulness introduced by
Yahweh long after Inanna was first worshiped as the Queen of Heaven.
Of course, this means the so-called progressive ideas about gender and sexual morality promoted
by academia and the mainstream media are actually REgressive! The enlightened think they’re
on the cutting edge, breaking new ground and smashing old paradigms, when in fact they’re just
setting the calendar back to more than a thousand years before Abraham.
If Yahweh had genuinely intervened to put a stop to the cult of Inanna, she would be long
forgotten. Instead, as the Queen of Heaven. mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah, her cult has
continued for thousands of years. She became Aphrodite and Venus of the classical era, and was
eventually Christianized and venerated as the Virgin Mary.
But the transgression of Nimrod was much more serious than worshiping Inanna. He tried to
expand and upgrade the home of the god Enki, the abzu—the abyss—to create a dwelling place
for the gods on Earth.
For more on that story, see our earlier article, “ The Tower of Babel: Abode of the Gods. ”

1 Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G. “Enmerkar
and the Lord of Aratta,” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
(http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.8.2.3#), retrieved 12/17/16.
2 Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G. “A cir-
namcub to Inana (Inana I),” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
(http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.4.07.9&charenc=j#), retrieved 12/17/16.
3 Sjoberg, A.W. “In-nin Sa-gur-ra: A Hymn to the Goddess Inanna,” Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie
65, no. 2 (1976), p. 225.

,

Part 2-The “gods” or spirits in the Arabia mountains!!!

Let’s dig a little deeper into the spirit or spirits at work on this mountain in Arabia. And, if you’ll indulge us, we’ll get a little speculative. As we’ve noted, there is only so much we can know for sure about the spirits opposed to God. They lie, and our perception into that realm is limited. But let’s look at what’s available to us and see if we can draw some tentative conclusions.

Most Bible scholars who trace the movement of the nations that dispersed from Babel in Genesis 10 place two nations that are mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gog-Magog war, Sheba and Dedan, in Arabia. Sheba was the father of the Sabeans, who founded a kingdom in southwest Arabia, modern-day Yemen.

Dedan settled along the coast of the Red Sea in western Arabia, in the area called the Hejaz. Dedan was an important oasis along the caravan route between Sheba and Babylon. Because of the brutal desert that covers the interior of Arabia, the route traveled north along the Red Sea coastline, and then through Edom, southeast of Judah. Dedan grew into an independent kingdom around the time of the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. The last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, spent most of his reign at the important Dedanite oasis of Tayma while entrusting Babylon to his son, Belshazzar—he of the mene, mene, tekel, upharsin incident.

Sheba and Dedan were sons of Raamah, a son of Cush, the son of Ham. This makes Sheba and Dedan nephews of Nimrod, who we believe was the Sumerian king Enmerkar, would-be builder of the abode of the gods, the tower of Babel at Eridu. (Sheba and Dedan are also mentioned in Genesis 25 as grandsons of Abraham and his concubine Keturah, through their son Jokshan. Geographically, though, it still places them among the tribes of Arabia.)

Nobody is sure why Nabonidus spent a decade living in the desert. It may have been to consolidate his control over the profitable spice and incense trade, but he was seeking prophecy and guidance from his preferred deity, the moon-god Sîn, who the king apparently tried to elevate to the top spot in the pantheon in Babylon. Needless to say, this wasn’t popular with the priesthood of Marduk which stood to lose prestige and power if he’d succeeded.

I accomplished the command of Sîn, king of the gods, lord of lords, dwelling in the heavens, who, in comparison of the gods in heaven, his name is surpassing: (also) of Šamaš [sun-god], who is his brightest (peer), of Nusku [fire-god], Ištar [Ishtar/Inanna, goddess of sex and war], Adda [Hadad, the storm-god Ba`al], Nergal [Resheph/Apollo, god of war and plague, and gatekeeper to the underworld], (those) who accomplish the command of Nannar [Sumerian name for Sîn] their surpasser. (Text in brackets added.)

Note that Marduk is missing from that list of deities. Nabonidus probably made an enemy of the established Marduk priesthood in Babylon, possibly creating a religious fifth column that contributed to the ease with which Babylon fell to the Persians.

It’s believed that Nabonidus’ mother Addagoppe was a priestess of Sîn from Harran in northern Mesopotamia. Harran was an important cult center of the moon-god as far back as Abraham’s day, 1,400 years earlier. So Nabonidus may have been of old Aramean/Amorite stock, and for some reason—call it infernal revelation, if you will—he was compelled to revive the flagging cult of Sîn and transplant it to the Arabian desert.

Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon, shown worshipping the moon-god Sîn, the sun-god Šamaš, and Ishtar, represented by Venus. Credit: Jona lendering (own work), CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2629946.

The moon-god has a long history in that part of the world. Not only do we have the evidence of the cult centers of Ur, Harran, and Jericho that date back to the 3rd millennium B.C., but in the Bible’s account of Gideon’s victory over the Midianites, another people who lived in northwestern Arabia, we’re told that his haul of gold included crescent ornaments from the Midianites’ camels, which presumably honored the moon-god. Symbols depicting a heavenly triad of Sîn, Šamaš, and Ishtar—moon, sun, and Venus—are common from the mid 2nd millennium B.C. at least through the time of Nabonidus, who is depicted on a number of surviving stelae venerating the three deities.

The star and crescent symbol prominent in the Islamic world today only came into use after the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453. However, it’s not too much of a reach to suggest that the ancient cult of the moon-god in the Near East and Arabia was carried forward into the modern era by the descendants of the Amorites, Arameans, and their Arab neighbors to the south, especially with the boost given to the moon-god’s cult in Arabia by the king of Babylon during the last days of that empire.

Why is this of interest? While Sheba (Yemen) seems almost geographically irrelevant to end times prophecy (except maybe as a flashpoint for a wider Sunni-Shia war), Dedan, as we showed earlier, bears the same name as the ancient Amorite tribe Didanu/Tidanu, from which the Greeks derived the name of the Titans. And the area settled by the Dedanites, the Hejaz, includes the two holiest sites of Islam, Mecca and Medina.

While Muslim scholars would argue the connection, the symbolic link, at least, is obvious. Joel Richardson does an excellent job of establishing the pagan roots of Allah in his new book, Mystery Babylon. The historical link between Nabonidus, the moon-worshiping king of Babylon, and the region of Islam’s holiest sites may be coincidental, but you know how we feel about coincidence theories.

Now, please understand: I’m not suggesting a physical connection between the Watchers/Titans and the Arab tribes that spread Islam across the world. In other words (and I truly hope this doesn’t disappoint you), I do not see a role in the end times for ISIS Nephilim.

Nevertheless, it’s fascinating that history has once again provided a spiritual link between the past and the future where we never expected to find one.

Merry Non-Pagan Christmas

This time of year brings back memories of childhood and family, at least for those of us who were blessed to have parents who made Christmas a memorable time.  As a parent myself, there was a special joy in creating similar Christmas memories for our daughter when she was young.

As I grew in my walk with the Lord, however, our culture’s annual celebration of the holiday began to bother me.  The rank commercialism is so out of character with what the birth of Christ means for the world that being part of it felt more wrong with each passing year.

Recently, there’s been a growing trend among some Christians to take it further.  It’s not just the trees and decorations that appear before Halloween, it’s the day itself that some Christians object to.

A belief has been growing that Christmas is based on pagan celebrations.  December 25 was selected for Christmas, it’s believed, because it was the date of the annual Saturnalia, a Roman festival for the winter solstice.  It was celebrated with a sacrifice in Rome’s Temple of Saturn was followed by a big party—a public feast, private gift-giving, and temporary suspension of social rules with masters waiting on slaves, gambling, and general drunkenness.

It’s probable that the church sometimes adopted days celebrated by pagan religions and Christianized them—which is not to say the pagan holy days were made Christian, just given a Christian veneer.  For example, All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, which likely developed out of the Celtic festival of the dead, Samhain.  So, the logic goes, it must also have happened with Christmas—the “Christ mass”—and Saturnalia.

Or Christmas might have been an attempt to hijack the birthday celebration for Sol Invictus, the “unconquered sun” god of Rome.

Some take the rites back even farther in time and claim that December 25 was celebrated in the ancient Near East as the birthday of the world’s first emperor, Nimrod.  The belief is that Christmas originated as a celebration of the birth of Nimrod, king of Babylon, to his wife-mother, Semiramis.  You see, she didn’t like the idea of giving up the lifestyle of a queen just because of Nimrod’s untimely and inconsiderate death, and so she produced another child—either Nimrod’s unborn son or through an affair—who she claimed was the resurrected Nimrod.  She declared Nimrod a god, a sun god by most accounts, thus making herself a goddess.  The yule log represents Nimrod, who’s also sometimes identified as Ba’al, and the Christmas tree represents Nimrod resurrected as his son, Tammuz.

On top of all that, we’re told that we also celebrate the birth of Christ on the wrong day.  We can’t know for sure, but clues in the Bible suggest a birthday in the spring or fall.  (There is an excellent analysis of prophetic clues in Revelation 12:1-5, the passages referring to “the woman clothed with the sun,” by E.L. Martin in his book The Star of Bethlehem: The Star That Astonished the World, pointing to the precise arrangement of the skies over Jerusalem on September 11, 3 B.C.)  Some feel that the birth of the Messiah, if it’s going to be celebrated at all, should at least be remembered on the correct day—or as correct as we can be, anyway.

So what shall we say then?  Should we just chuck Christmas out with the uneaten Thanksgiving leftovers?

No.  Not necessarily.

The questions we need to ask are these:

  • Is Christmas really based on the worship of pagan gods?
  • When did the early church begin celebrating Christmas?
  • Why did they settle on December 25 for the holiday?

The answer to the first question is a resounding “no.”  First of all, the concept of Nimrod as a god is a non-starter.  Let me make this very clear: There is no evidence whatsoever from the ancient Near East that Nimrod was ever worshiped as a god in any way, shape, or form.

In fact, the myths that grew up around the memory of Nimrod were probably based on a Babylonian god—most likely the warrior god Ninurta—instead of the other way around!

Furthermore, Semiramis, the Assyrian queen Sammuramat, reigned between 811 and 808 B.C. or from 809 to 792 B.C.  She was one of the first women in history to rule an empire.  However, to put Nimrod at the Tower of Babel (which was not at Babylon—but I’ll spare you the explanation because it is in my book, The Great Inception, see below), we have to go back about 2,300 years before Semiramis.

It’s tough to have children when you live 2,300 years apart.

Much of the information about Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz comes from Alexander Hislop’s 1858 book The Two Babylons.  With all due respect, because he was no doubt sincere in his desire to warn the world about what he believed was the false religion of the Roman Catholic Church, Hislop’s scholarship was poor at best.  It looks like he took the names of literally dozens of ancient gods and goddesses and mixed them up into an ancient myth smoothie.  Hislop may have meant well, but he’s misled Christians for more than 150 years.

Now, that’s not to say Nimrod got a bum rap.  There was a reason God came down to personally stop construction at Babel.  You’ll have to wait for the book for that explanation, too.

In short, Nimrod was not a sun god and he wasn’t Ba’al, either.  In fact, Ba’al would probably be insulted you said so.  Nimrod was only human, while Ba’al was a god of storms, rain, and vegetation.  He was worshiped for a time as one of the ancient Near East’s “dying and rising gods”—like Tammuz.  (Who was worshiped as a god in Sumer long before Semiramis came on the scene.)  As such, Ba’al and Tammuz would have been mourned in the fall and celebrated in the spring.  Neither of those seasons matches December 25.

So when did Christians begin to celebrate Christmas?  The earliest record of its observance comes from Clement of Alexandria around 200 A.D.  But the first suggestion that Christmas might be linked to pagan worship didn’t come until the 12th century, about 900 years later.

In other words, as far as historians can tell, none of the Christians from the 3rd through 12th centuries seemed to think they were accidentally worshiping a pagan god.

The Donatist sect in North Africa celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25 in the early 4th century, before Constantine became emperor of Rome (so we can’t blame him).  And while it’s true that the emperor Aurelian, who really hated Christians, made veneration of Sol Invictus the law throughout the Roman Empire in 274, a collection of ancient writings called Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae records the feast day during the reign of Licinius (308-324 A.D.) as being on the 18th of November.

There is limited evidence that a feast for Sol Invictus was held on December 25 before the middle of the 4th century.  And remember, Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 about half a century earlier.

In other words, we can just as easily say that pagans moved the feast of Sol Invictus to hijack a Christian tradition!

So, given that nobody in the first century thought to write down 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, you might have guessed, was not to sneak pagan worship into the faith.

It seems that second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa wanted to determine the exact date of the Lord’s death.  For reasons that escape us, they settled on March 25, 29 A.D.  (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 29 A.D., or even in the month of March, for that matter.  Still, there we are.)

Now, there was a widespread belief in Judaism back then in the “integral age” of great Jewish prophets.  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.  The early church believed it and that’s what led to their conclusion:  When you add nine months to March 25, you arrive at… December 25.

There you have it.  No pagan influence, just a desire to know the dates that forever changed the history of the world.

Now, are there unbiblical, and even un-Christian, traditions in our culture that surround the Christmas holiday?  Absolutely!  And if they lead you to avoid Christmas, then by all means you are correct to do so.

But if you are satisfied in your mind that Christmas is a time to reflect, remember, and give thanks to a loving God who willingly came to Earth as one of us, ultimately to sacrifice Himself for our sins, then by all means celebrate the day without a trace of guilt.

If God judges us on accidental paganism, we’re all doomed.  The wedding ring is a tradition that started in ancient Egypt.  The days of the week are named for pagan gods (in English, anyway).

The apostle Paul put it best:

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:5-6 (ESV)

Be convinced in your own mind. If you keep Christmas, or if you do not, do it for the Lord.

Merry Christmas, and may God richly bless you and your family.

_______

Derek Gilbert
www.derekpgilbert.com

Last Clash of the Titans: The Prophesied War Between Jesus Christ and the Gods of Antiquity | LastClashOfTheTitans.com
The Great Inception: Satan’s PSYOPs from Eden to Armageddon | TheGreatInception.com

The Day the Earth Stands Still: Unmasking the Old Gods Behind ETs and UFOs (with Josh Peck) | OfficialDisclosure.com

SkyWatchTV
My podcast: A View from the Bunker – live Sundays 7-9 PM Central Time
Weekly Bible study: The Gilbert House Fellowship

My YouTube channel
Twitter: @derekgilbert | @viewfrombunker | @SWTV_SciFriday

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OneWay.com/derekpgilbert

Goat Demons and the Foundation Rock of the Church

We go back more than 1,400 years from the time of Jesus to the Exodus. Apparently, the Israelites began to worship entities during their forty years in the desert called se’irim, or “goat demons.”

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the Lord. And the priest shall throw the blood on the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

Leviticus 17:1-7 (ESV), emphasis added

The se’irim, literally “hairy ones,” were satyr-like (i.e., Pan-like) beings who the Israelites began to worship during their wanderings in the desert. The sacrifices away from the tabernacle were consistent with the worship of Pan. It appears that the section of the Law recorded in Leviticus 17, requiring that all sacrifices be brought to the tent of meeting, was specifically to stop the worship of these goat-demons.

Now, se’ir is one of those words where the translation depends on the context. Usually, it simply means “goat” or “kid.” But there are four places in the Old Testament where the word clearly refers to a demon or devil. Here’s another example: In Isaiah 34, the prophet turns his polemical gift on the land of Edom:

Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,

nettles and thistles in its fortresses.

It shall be the haunt of jackals,

an abode for ostriches.

And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;

the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles

and finds for herself a resting place.

Isaiah 34:13-14 (ESV), emphasis added

Again, the “wild goat” is based on the Hebrew root se’ir. The KJV translates the word as “satyr,” as it does in Isaiah 13, but most English translations are similar to the ESV—wild goat, male goat, hairy goat, etc.

Now, back to Moses: The Book of Leviticus records an interesting requirement for the Day of Atonement. It involved a goat that was driven from the camp into the wilderness for a being called Azazel.

“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Leviticus 16:6-10 (ESV), emphasis added

Scholars interpret the ritual as complementary rites of atonement, with the sacrificial goat and the second goat who carries the sin of the people away. The priest would lay hands on the goat for Azazel and impart the sins of the people on it before it was led out of the camp and into the wilderness. This is the origin of the term “scapegoat.”

Because you’ve been paying attention, you’re remembering right about now that the name Azazel has come up once before in this book. That’s because the Book of 1 Enoch names Azazel as one of the leaders of the rebellious Watchers who descended at Mount Hermon. And right there is a link between Azazel and the se’irim, the satyr-like deities dancing in the wilderness who just happen to bear a strong resemblance to the Greek god Pan.

Of course, unless you’re a coincidence theorist, you see these details as a connected thread, part of an enemy PSYOP to distract the Jews from their devotion to Yahweh. But that’s not all.

Greek myths record fascinating connections between Pan and a pair of other deities we’ve already encountered in this study: In one story, Pan, in his goat-god aspect Aegipan, assisted Zeus in the chief god’s epic battle with the chaos god, Typhon. When Typhon turned to attack Aegipan, the goat-god dove into the Nile River, with the parts above the water remaining a goat but the part below the waterline transformed into a fish. Thus, Aegipan became the goat-fish Capricornus, or Capricorn.

Even though the constellation Capricorn is faint, it’s been consistently depicted as a hybrid goat-fish since at least the 21st century B.C., the time of the last Sumerian kings to rule over all of Mesopotamia. And—here’s the kicker—the goat-fish was a well-known symbol of the god of the abzu, Enki.

So now we can draw links directly from Enki, god of the abyss, to the goat-demons of the Exodus and the goat-god worshiped at the base of Mount Hermon in the time of Jesus Christ.

And it was there at Caesarea Philippi, right outside the Grotto of Pan, where this exchange took place between Jesus and his hot-headed disciple, Peter:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:13-18 (ESV), emphasis added

Remember that the Grotto of Pan is at the foot of El’s mount of assembly, site of the rebellion by the Watchers. It’s also in Bashan, gateway to the netherworld. Was it a coincidence that it was there Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?”

No. Jesus made a statement to the Fallen there, a declaration of his divinity: On their rock, he would build his church!

Then he climbed their rock, Mount Hermon, and was transfigured into a being of light, his face like the sun and his clothes dazzling white—and the disciples heard Yahweh’s voice from heaven.

#

We need to look at one more event that took place in northern Israel, near Mount Hermon. This is in Luke 10, the chapter immediately after Peter’s declaration of faith and the Transfiguration on Mount Hermon. In other words, the time and place of this event was also deliberate.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.  […]

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:1-20 (ESV), emphasis added

Now, some translations say there were seventy disciples, others say seventy-two. The Greek manuscripts of Luke are split and there is no way to know for sure which number Luke wrote on his original draft of the gospel. But either way, given the location and the purpose of the mission, there are good theological reasons to believe the number was not, you know, coincidental.

How many sons of El were in El’s assembly on Mount Hermon? That’s right, seventy—plus Ba`al and El equals seventy-two.

How many nations did Yahweh create at the Tower of Babel? Seventy—but some translations of the Bible actually name seventy-two.

How many elders of Israel climbed Mount Sinai to meet Yahweh face to face? Seventy—plus Moses and Aaron makes seventy-two.

What was the point of Jesus sending the disciples out ahead of him? It was the start of the church’s mission to reclaim the nations from the Fallen, the kickoff event of the Great Commission. Satan, the nachash from the book of Genesis, fell “like lightning from heaven” because he’d lost his legal claim as lord of the dead over those who die in Christ. Why? Because we are guaranteed eternal life through the shedding of his blood.

However you count it, sending out that specific number of disciples wasn’t an accident or a coincidence, it was a clear message to the old gods: Get off my land!

 

Jesus and the Gods of Mount Hermon

Jesus, of course, was fully aware of the ongoing war for his holy mountain. For him, the war was personal.

Many of the key events in the life of Jesus occurred at the Temple Mount. As an infant, Jesus was presented at the Temple in accordance with the Law, where Simeon, a man who had been told he’d live to see the Messiah, and Anna, an 84-year-old prophetess, were led to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. When he was twelve, he stayed behind in the Temple after his parents started back to Nazareth after the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. It was a full day before they realized Jesus was missing, and at least three more before they found him in the Temple talking with the rabbis.

Early in his ministry, Jesus visited Jerusalem during Passover and drove the moneychangers and animal merchants out of the Temple. Later, probably during the second Passover of his ministry, Jesus healed a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda at the north end of the temple complex. Shortly before the Crucifixion, Jesus drove out the moneychangers a second time, and Matthew records that he healed many lame and blind people who came to him at the Temple.

Isn’t it interesting that even in the building erected by the wicked king Herod, and without the Ark of the Covenant in the temple, Jesus was still consumed with zeal for his Father’s house?

And that passion extended beyond the 35 acres that make up the Temple Mount. Israel’s inheritance was Yahweh, and the land inside the borders He established during the time of Moses and Joshua belonged to Him. That’s why Jesus devoted so much of his ministry to healing the sick and casting out demons—which were, remember, the spirits of the Nephilim. He wasn’t just restoring people to physical and spiritual health, he was casting them out of his land, Israel.

When we step back and take a fresh look at the events of Jesus’ life, many things take on new meaning when they’re framed in the context of the war between God and the gods. And, of course, many of the arguments offered by skeptics to explain away the divinity of Jesus are nothing more than PSYOPs by the Fallen to convince modern minds, clouded by the fog of scientism, that Jesus was either a political radical, a social justice warrior, or a misunderstood itinerant preacher—anything but God made flesh.

For example, the Transfiguration. What was the point of all that?

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

Mark 9:2-8 (ESV)

First reaction by the modern reader: Awesome special effects! But if the purpose of the Transfiguration was to demonstrate his divinity, why did Jesus take only three of his disciples? Wouldn’t it have been more productive to bring all twelve? Or why not perform this great visual effect for the thousands of people who had to settle for a miraculous lunch of bread and fish?

Here’s why: The intended audience wasn’t human.

The clue to the real purpose of the event is the location. Both Mark and Matthew note that the Transfiguration took place on a high mountain. Now, Israel has plenty of mountains, but not many that can be described as high—at least not relative to the rest of the peaks in the land.

Second, note that they climbed a mountain near Caesarea Philippi. That narrows the field. The town was in the northeastern part of the Holy Land, north of the Sea of Galilee and Lake Huleh, in the area we call the Golan Heights. To be precise, Caesarea Philippi sat at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon.

Ah. Bull’s eye!

Yes, the very mountain where the Watchers/Titans descended and made a pact to corrupt humanity was where Jesus was transfigured into a being of light before the eyes of Peter, James, and John.

Coincidence?

Not on your life! Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. This was a cosmic poke in the eye, a declaration to the Fallen that the Second Power in Heaven, the Messiah, had arrived in the flesh. He was declaring that the temporary dominion of the rebellious bene elohim was nearly at an end—that Yahweh’s mount of assembly would soon fulfill the promises proclaimed by the prophets. And he did it on the mount of assembly of El, the high god of the Canaanites.

More accurately, it was where the Fallen tried to usurp the name of El Shaddai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

If we back up a chapter in Matthew and Mark, there is another incident that foreshadowed what happened on Mount Hermon. At the base of the mountain, outside the city of Caesarea Philippi, is a place called Paneas (today called Banias). It’s a cave and a spring that’s been sacred to the Greek god Pan since the time of Alexander the Great.

Pan was the god of wild, desolate places, shepherds and flocks, music, fields, groves, and wooded glens. Pan was also linked to fertility, which influenced much of the art depicting the god in the classical world. He was often shown pursuing or engaged in physical relations with goddesses, nymphs, women, teen boys called eromenoi, and/or goats. (Some of those ancient vases and frescoes should have been rated R or NC-17.) As a rustic nature god, Pan normally wasn’t worshiped in temples. He preferred outdoor settings, especially those that were like his home in Arcadia, a mountainous region of southern Greece.

The Grotto of Pan at Paneas has been sacred since ancient times. A gushing spring once flowed from the cave, feeding the marshy area north of Lake Huleh that was the source of the Jordan River. An earthquake years ago shifted something under the mountain, and today the stream seeps quietly from the bedrock below the mouth of the cave.

After the Greeks came to the Levant, Pan gradually replaced an earlier local fertility cult. Scholars have suggested that Aliyan, a minor Canaanite god of fountains, may have been the deity worshiped at Paneas before the Greeks arrived. This might have been the god called Baal-Hermon, the Lord of Hermon, in Judges 3:3.

Christians in the centuries after Jesus equated Pan with Satan. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how Greek depictions of the goat-god influenced later artists, what with the horns, hooves, tail, and all. But those connections were mainly in the minds of imaginative medieval artists, since there is nothing definite in the Bible that describes the appearance of Satan other than a warning that he can appear as an angel of light.

However, there are some events in Israel’s past that suggest Pan was not at all a fun-loving nature spirit.