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The Greeks and Romans shared a good deal of their religion. The names were different (with the notable exception of Apollo), but the gods were pretty much the same. Zeus of the Greeks was Jupiter of the Romans. Likewise, Aphrodite was Venus, Ares was Mars, Hera was Juno, Hephaestus was Vulcan, and so on.
Similarly, the old god of the Romans, Saturn, was the equivalent of Kronos, king of the Titans. In both Roman and Greek religion, this was the old god who ruled the earth during a long-ago Golden Age, when humanity lived like gods, free from toil and care. Both were overthrown by their son, the storm-god, and confined to the netherworld. To the Greeks, this was Tartarus, a place as far below Hades as the earth is below heaven; in Roman myth, Saturn was chained by Jupiter to ensure that he didn’t overeat. It was believed that Saturn consumed the passing days, months, and years. It obviously would have been a problem if the old god had turned his voracious appetite to consuming the present and future as well.
The most famous of the Roman religious festivals, Saturnalia, was adapted from the Kronia celebrated in the Greek world. The Kronia is first recorded in Ionia, the central part of western Anatolia (modern Turkey) in the eighth century BC, roughly the time of Isaiah. From there, the celebration spread to Athens and the island of Rhodes, and ultimately westward to Rome, although the festival shifted from midsummer to the winter solstice. Both festivals were a time of merriment and abandoning social norms, with gambling, gift-giving, the suspension of normal business, and slaves being served by their masters.
The annual party notwithstanding, the god had a darker side. It’s well documented that both Saturn and Kronos were connected to human sacrifice. Classical sources report that condemned prisoners were sacrificed to Kronos at Rhodes, children were offered to the god at Crete, and, as Baal-Hammon, the god was offered sacrifices of Phoenician children well into the Christian era. Perhaps most horrifying of all is the description of the first-century philosopher Plutarch.
[Carthaginians] offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums took the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.
Historians of the classical age made no distinction between Saturn, Kronos, and Baal-Hammon; to them, they were the same god worshiped under different names by Romans, Greeks, and Phoenicians. The parallel between child sacrifice and the myth of Saturn/Kronos devouring his own children to prevent their eventual rebellion is obvious. Diodorus Siculus, writing in the first century AD, drily noted that “the story passed down among the Greeks from ancient myth that Kronos did away with his own children appears to have been kept in mind among the Carthaginians through this observance.” Christian apologist Tertullian was less charitable:
Since Saturn did not spare his own children, of course he stuck to his habit of not sparing those of other people, whom indeed their own parents offered of themselves, being pleased to answer the call, and fondled the infants, lest they should weep when being sacrificed. And yet a parent’s murder of his child is far worse than simple homicide.
Indeed. In our modern, civilized world, we’ve mostly avoided the guilt associated with infanticide by convincing ourselves that an unborn child is simply a clump of cells that’s part of a pregnant woman’s body—heartbeat and unique DNA sequence notwithstanding.
We cannot lay the blame for the cult of Kronos, and the sacrifices offered later to his alter egos Saturn and Baal-Hammon, entirely on the Greeks. Careful reading of ancient texts reveals that this god is much older than the Greek civilization and originated farther east, in northern Mesopotamia. As at Saturnalia, the Kronia featured a reversal of normal social roles, most notably slaves served by their masters and eating with them at a common meal. It appears that this festival was very old by the time the Greeks established themselves as a world power.
A text discovered in 1983 at the site of the capital city of the Hittite kingdom, Hattuša, dated to about 1400 BC, the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan, describes a myth in which the king of the gods, the storm-god Teshub (Baal/Zeus/Jupiter by a different name) has a ritual meal with the sun-goddess, Allani, and the “primeval gods” who’d been banished to the netherworld. Not only were the old gods at the table; they sat in the place of honor at Teshub’s right hand.
The celebration of the temporary suspension of the cosmic order surely accompanied the temporary suspension of the social order on earth. In other words, the myth with the “primeval gods” will have been associated with a ritual of reversal between masters and slaves. Now the Titans were also called “the old gods,” old and/or dumb people were insulted as Kronoi, and Attic comedy used expressions such as “older than Kronos” and “older than Kronos and the Titans.” Evidently, the antiquity of this divine generation had become proverbial at a relatively early stage of the tradition. The Titans thus can be legitimately compared to the Hurrian “primeval” gods.
It’s no coincidence that, like Kronos and Saturn, the Hurrian-Hittite god Kumarbi became king of the gods for a while by castrating his father, the sky-god, and was in turn deposed by his son, the storm-god, called Teshub by the Hurrians and Tarhunz by the Hittites. In other words, Kumarbi, who was worshiped in what is now Turkey and northern Syria, was an older incarnation of Kronos/Saturn/Baal-Hammon.
West drew attention to the conceptual similarity of the (Hittite) “former gods” (karuilies siunes) with the Titans, called Προτεροι Θεοι in Theogony 424, 486. Both groups were confined to the underworld (with the apparent exceptions of Atlas and Prometheus), and as Zeus banished the Titans thither, so Tešup [Teshub] banished the karuilies siunes, commonly twelve in number, like the Titans. They were in turn identified with the Mesopotamian Anunnaki. These were confined by Marduk to the underworld, or at least some of them were (half the six hundred, Enuma Elish vi 39–47, see 41–44), where they were ruled over variously by Dagan or Shamash.
The evidence for the earliest traces of this god point to a Mesopotamian origin, not Greek. Specifically, the trail leads to northwest Mesopotamia, in the area of the Mediterranean coast along the border between modern Syria and Turkey.
But this goes farther back than the Hittites and Hurrians of Joshua’s day. Scholar Amar Annus, who has done some absolutely brilliant work tracing the Watchers back from Hebrew texts to older Mesopotamian sources, came to an astonishing conclusion when he dug into the origin of the name of the former gods of the Greeks, the Titans. Annus notes first the existence of an ancient, and by the time of the Judges in Israel, almost mythical Amorite tribe called the Tidanu or Ditanu. They had a bad reputation in Mesopotamia—uncivilized, warlike, and dangerous. In fact, they were so threatening to the last Sumerian kings of Mesopotamia, the Third Dynasty of Ur, that around 2037 BC they began building a wall 175 miles long north of modern Baghdad specifically to keep the Tidanu away. We know this because the Sumerians literally named it bàd martu muriq tidnim, the “Amorite Wall Which Keeps the Tidnum at a Distance.”
Annus notes that the name “Ti/Di-ta/da-nu(m)—most possibly ‘large animal; aurochs; strong, wild bovide’—is the name of the eponymic tribe.” Then he points out that this tribe was linked to the Rephaim in ritual texts at Ugarit, the Amorite city-state destroyed around 1200 BC.
Greatly exalted be Keret
In the midst of the rpum (Rephaim) of the earth
In the gathering of the assembly of the Ditanu
So, the Ditanu/Tidanu were linked to the Rephaim in mind and ritual among the ancient Amorites, who, you remember, considered the Rephaim to be the divinized ancestors of their kings. What’s more, this assembly was summoned in what can only be described as a necromancy ritual for the coronation of Ugarit’s last king, Ammurapi III.
You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth,
You are invoked, O council of the Didanu!
Ulkn, the Raphi’, is summoned,
Trmn, the Raphi’, is summoned,
Sdn-w-rdn is summoned,
Ṯr ‘llmn is summoned,
the Rephaim of old are summoned!
You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth,
You are invoked, O council of the Didanu!
This council or assembly was more than just a group of honored forefathers, like the framers of the Constitution. One text from Ugarit makes reference to ritual offerings for the temple of Didanu, and temples owed sacrifices are typically devoted to gods. It appears, then, that between the birth of Abraham, around 1950 BC, and the time of the judges, circa 1200 BC, the Tidanu/Ditanu were transformed from a scary tribe of Amorites named for a giant wild bull into divine beings connected to the Rephaim, who likewise disappeared from the earth (in physical form) during that period.
And the Tidanu/Ditanu are probably the origin of the name of the bad old gods of the Greeks.
Then it may not be overbold to assume that the Greek Titanes originates from the name of the semi-mythical warrior-tribe (in Ugarit) tdn—mythically related to the Rpum in the Ugarit, and once actually tied together with Biblical Rephaim in II Samuel 5:18-22, where we have in some manuscripts Hebrew rp’m rendered into LXX as Titanes.
So, the veneration of this group of ancient entities extends at least as far back as the time of the judges, and probably much further. But why would the Greeks choose the name of an Amorite tribe for the old gods confined to Tartarus? Was that tribe literally descended from the old gods—the rebellious “sons of God” in Genesis 6? In other words, were the Tidanu/Ditanu literally Nephilim?
We’ll explore that next month.

Satan is the entity called Baal by the ancient Canaanites. Jesus confirmed that identity in Matthew 12:24 by linking Satan to Beelzebul (“Baal the prince”). In Canaanite religion, Baal was considered the lord of the Rephaim, the spirits of ancient warrior kings who were believed to have the power to intercede for the living.

The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, however, made it clear that Satan’s status as lord of the dead was a demotion:

You were in Eden, the garden of God;

every precious stone was your covering, 

sardius, topaz, and diamond, 

beryl, onyx, and jasper, 

sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; 

and crafted in gold were your settings 

and your engravings. 

On the day that you were created 

they were prepared. 

You were an anointed guardian cherub. 

I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; 

in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 

You were blameless in your ways 

from the day you were created, 

till unrighteousness was found in you. 

In the abundance of your trade 

you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; 

so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, 

and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, 

from the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:13–16)

***

All of [the Rephaim] will answer 

and say to you: 

“You too have become as weak as we! 

You have become like us!”

Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, 

the sound of your harps; 

maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, 

and worms are your covers. (Isaiah 14:10–11, 15)

From the pinnacle of creation to a bed of maggots. A real comedown. Even the Rephaim, who are supposed to be Satan’s warriors, recognize his diminished status.

Lest you think we’re reading our preconceptions of Satan into Isaiah 14, let’s take this a bit further. Scholars have known for a long time that the prophet was a brilliant writer, and he was a master of wordplay. The influence of Egypt on the kingdom of Judah during Isaiah’s lifetime provided him with another opportunity to make his point.

All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out, away from your grave, like a loathed branch, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a dead body trampled underfoot. (Isaiah 14:18–19)

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the phrase “a loathed branch” in verse 18 is weird. And remember: weird = important. What in the world did Isaiah mean by that?

The Hebrew word netser is easy. It means “branch.” The adjectives translators chose to describe the branch includes “loathed,” “repulsive,” “rejected,” “worthless,” and “abominable,” but they convey the same sense—something utterly detestable. The Hebrew word rendered “abhorred” or “abominable,” taʿab, is significant. It modifies the noun netser, which would normally have a positive connotation. In this context, taʿab means something like “unclean” or “ritually impure.”

Still, even trying to allow for differences in cultures over the last twenty-seven hundred years, calling someone an “unclean or impure branch” is puzzling. But there is a likely explanation: Isaiah meant something other than “branch” because the Hebrew netser wasn’t the word he used at all.

[The] term is best explained as a loanword from the common Egyptian noun nṯr. Nṯr is generally translated “god,” but is commonly used of the divinized dead and their physical remains. It originally came into Hebrew as a noun referring to the putatively divinized corpse of a dead king, which is closely related to the Egyptian usage. (Emphasis added.)

The Egyptian word nṯr is especially relevant here. Isaiah connects the divinized dead god, Baal/Satan, with the dead kings venerated by the pagan Amorites and Canaanites, the Rephaim—the spirits of the Nephilim destroyed in the Flood.

This is not a weird, out-of-left-field stretch to force the Scriptures to fit a pet theory involving antediluvian giants. The prophet devoted several chapters, especially Isaiah 30 and 31, to condemning Israel for turning to Egypt instead of Yahweh for protection against Assyria. Sennacherib’s official mocked Hezekiah for “trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it.”

Recently, a seal of Hezekiah was found in Jerusalem at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount. While this one, apparently from later in Hezekiah’s reign, featured an Assyrian-style winged solar disc, his older seals were decorated with a scarab beetle, which represented the Egyptian sun-god Ra. This was apparently part of Hezekiah’s foreign policy, an attempt to curry favor with his stronger neighbor, Egypt, to further his dream of reunifying Judah and Israel. This required standing up to the Assyrian juggernaut, which had destroyed the northern half of the kingdom of David and Solomon about six years after Hezekiah became king.

By using a loan word from Egypt that meant “dead god”—and not “branch,” as translated in our English Bibles—Isaiah was emphasizing the theme of chapter 14: The entity who rebelled in Eden, the storm-god Baal (whom Jesus identified as Satan), was cast down to the land of the dead to become the unclean, profane, abominable lord of the shades—the Rephaim.

This theme is echoed by Ezekiel in chapter 28. A deeper dive into the Hebrew of that text reveals a surprising parallel with Isaiah.

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; 

you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. 

I cast you to the ground; 

I exposed you before kings, 

to feast their eyes on you. (Ezekiel 28:17) 

Reading this as another account of Lucifer’s fall to Sheol is a bit of a stretch, but only until we dig into the original Hebrew behind the English text. The word translated “kings,” mǝlākîm, uses the same consonant sounds, M-L-K, as mal’akh, or “messenger,” a word usually translated into English as “angel.” But in the Semitic languages spoken in the lands to the north and east of the ancient Israelites, similar words such as maliku and malku referred to underworld spirits who received kispum offerings and were possibly linked to the Rephaim.

Translators, both English and Hebrew, seeing the consonants mlkm would understandably assume that the word meant “kings.” Translators may not have been aware of the maliku spirits of ancient Ebla or Mari or why they were relevant to Ezekiel’s verse. But in the context of the cults of the ancestors and divinized dead kings who were an integral part of the pagan religions in and around ancient Israel, it seems more likely that Ezekiel was referring to malakim, the malevolent spirits of the dead Nephilim, just as Isaiah called the demoted rebel from Eden an “unclean dead god” and not a “loathed branch.”

This has interesting implications. It suggests that the fall of Satan, or at least his punishment, took place after the Flood, because the “shades,” the Rephaim (the spirits of the Nephilim), were already in Sheol when Satan landed there. That assumes, of course, that time in the spirit realm moves in a linear manner, the way it does for us. But that kind of speculation is way outside the scope of this article.

The bottom line is this: Satan’s ambition got the better of him. He was thrown out of Eden, cast down from the mountain of God, where he was greeted by the shades, the Rephaim—and not exactly with praise and thanksgiving (“You have become as weak as we!”).

However, while Satan was down, he wasn’t out. Although he’d been demoted from guardian of the throne of God to overseer of the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, Satan took the form of the storm-god under names like Hadad (Baal), Zeus, Jupiter, and Thor, and set himself up as king of pagan pantheons from India to Rome to Scandinavia. And the Rephaim, called “warriors of Baal” in ancient Amorite ritual texts that have only been translated within the last fifty years, have been hard at work literally bedeviling humanity until Jesus returns.

Meanwhile, another nefarious group connected to the Rephaim has been confined to the abyss. But they’re not out of touch; they’ve been influencing humanity for millennia, and those Amorite texts show that the myths of Greece and Rome are integrally linked to the Bible. We’ll discuss that next month.

The following article is by one of our contributor teams. It is very controversial and we respectfully ask that when you read this understand that this ministry tries to provide thought engaging subjects that are simply for you to review and decide for yourself. Our team has many backgrounds and educational achievements and our prayer is that you will see this as simply one possibility.

By Dr Kevan Kruse and Dr Dennis O’Hara

Part 6 of the “Covid Beast”

Testing the Spirits

  • The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder. (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
  • And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and My maidservants, I will pour out of My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. ‘I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the earth beneath. (Acts 2:16-21)

There are so many game-changers coming, and unfortunately, the church is woefully behind in addressing these issues.  The biggest question I have is when the spirits come out of the Abyss, are we wholly prepared for all of the stories they will tell everyone about God?  Yet, the imagery of the “opening of the Abyss” lets us know that the “end times” will be characterized by an outpouring of spirits.  These spirits are going to come with messages and supernatural wonders to back them up.  The problem is, how are we going to tell which spirits are which?  Of course, we will still need the “helper” (the Holy Spirit) to seal our minds, foreheads, and hearts with His word.  

 

This seal by the H.S. will protect us from deception, but this does not mean we can neglect or ignore just how powerful the coming deception will be.  The Bible is not a crystal ball meant to be used to divine the future and its timing; using it this way only ensures more deception and escapism from the coming reality.  We should hope for the best, but very few are planning for the worst.  Consequently, if we are so dutifully bound to tell the gospel, how are we not also bound to start talking about what is coming.  Especially when what is coming even requires an update to the gospel.  “Do not take the Mark of the Beast.”

 

Consequently, we cannot keep dumbing down our congregations and protecting people from the truth of what the Bible says is coming.  Instead, we must amp up the volume on our ability to destroy Satan’s narrative.  Besides, someone is going to be here when all of this happens.  Unfortunately, no one will have much of a chance if we, who are supposed to be God’s elect, don’t start talking about what is coming before it happens.  

 

An Explosion of the Supernatural

Before taking on this next subject, I want to acknowledge that my intent is not to thwart the Holy Spirit in any way.  I also do not want to quench our desire for the Holy Spirit in our lives, and especially its fruit or gifts.  On the contrary, I believe an outpouring of the H.S. is coming and that many people will be saved.  However, considering the verses above, is it any wonder that signs and wonders churches are popping up all over the country?  

 

Understanding that Satan will also have signs and wonders that will follow him right into our churches might change our ideas about the coming’s deception.  Shockingly, it is the supernatural that may define Satan’s deception.  We are explicitly told in Matthew 24:24, Revelation 16:14, Revelation 13:13-14, and Revelation 19:20 that the Anti-Christ, demons, and other false prophets / Christ’s will use their supernatural powers to convince many that they are the truth.  

 

This supernatural explosion only comes as a surprise if we have forgotten that the pagan gods of the Old Testament were false gods with real demonic power. The power of these pagan gods was demonstrated in Exodus 7:11, 22, and 8:7, as well as other passages that are too numerous to count.  Even though mighty Moses came to deliver Israel with signs and wonders, the Pharoah was not even phased because his wise men and magicians “did the same with their secret arts.”  Yet, no matter how much we are told that the supernatural world has a dark side, there is a growing obsession in the church over miracles and magic shows.

 

Signs & Wonders

It is as if signs and wonders are the end all and be all of Christianity.  They are also creating a hierarchy among the churches and pastors.  In some instances, pastors have declared themselves to be on the level of the 12 Apostles.  Of course, I am not trying to say that we do not need modern apostles.  However, there were only 12 men who were hand-picked by Jesus.  

 

We also have a clear mandate not to write any more books of the Bible because there can be no new gospel.  What can seem to be unique is a return of ancient spirits that have been locked away for what they did in the Days of Noah. (1Peter 3:1-9) This unlocking is why we will see a return of the very same things that gave the church the victory over darkness the last time they faced off.  

  • But even if an angel from Heaven or we should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)

So, while this pouring out of the H.S. may have begun, we need to be cautious with the coming counterfeit.  Just because there are signs and wonders does not mean that what is happening is of God.  Why do I say that?  Most of us know that the Bible tells us we do not need to be afraid of a prophet if his words do not come to pass.  After all, a false prophet could be killed if his prophecies didn’t happen.  (See Deuteronomy 18:20-22)  A much less known passage is about a different kind of prophet.

  • “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

Relationship Theology

This verse is about a different kind of prophet that sends chills up my spine.  These false prophets will perform signs and wonders and rightly tell us of things that will come to pass.  Yahweh allows for these fakes because He is testing us to see if we know Him or not.  The idea of personally knowing God is the most important and all-encompassing paradigm of the Bible.  It also parallels what I have personally found to be the most challenging passage in the Bible.  Here is a quick review of Matthew 7:7-23.  

 

It begins by telling us that we are God’s children, and because of that, God knows how to give good gifts to those who ask, seek, and knock. Then Jesus also tells us how to give good gifts to others by living according to the “Golden Rule.”  But one of the narratives (verse 17) people miss is where Jesus talks about the false prophets and the wolves that stand in our way.  Then Jesus specifically tells us that the way to recognize these false prophets or wolves is by their fruit.  This part about false prophets is interesting because Jesus mentions gifts but then says it is the fruit that can help us sort out the wolves in the church.  Then Jesus says something that still makes me a bit week in the knees.  

  • Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

My first reaction to this passage is, “wow, I have never done some of these things. If these guys were fooling themselves about getting into Heaven, then maybe I am fooling myself as well.”  Of course, this doubt subsides because the point that Jesus is trying to drive home is that He didn’t know these people. They didn’t have a relationship with Him. Jesus is also pointing out that the gifts of the Spirit operating inside the church were not what was the most important thing, but a relationship with Jesus was.  The people who did not know Jesus were surely known for their gifts. In fact, they were probably superstars in their church.  

 

 They did not have an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Therefore, they must have been the wolves Jesus just warned us about.   In other words, it looks like they were gifted people, but they also didn’t have the spiritual fruit stemming from a deep relationship with God.  This passage leads me to believe that our spiritual fruit more accurately reflects the depth of our relationship with Jesus than our gifts.  Gifts have more to say about the generous nature of God because God “gives them to all men liberally.” (James 5:1)  It could be that God gives a diversity of gifts to everyone no matter whether they love Him back or not.  This idea is certainly something that comes out within the parable of the talents as well.  

 

Nonetheless, it cannot be a coincidence that Jesus explicitly mentions three of the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, deliverance, and miracles) that are found in 1 Corinthians 12:1-31.  Jesus then says that these people were operating in these gifts without actually having a relationship with Him.  Beyond scary!  But if gifts like this started happening to me, I would probably feel like I had achieved a special connection with God.  Yet, this does not appear to be the case.  All of this tells me that I have much to learn about just how down-to-earth our God is.

 

  • But understand this: In the last days, terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!  2 Timothy 3 BSB.

 

The Gifts & the Giver

It is hard to say precisely when Jesus gave these gifts to these people or if they were born with them. Indeed, some people are born with unique gifts but never give God credit.  What is shocking to me is that these people specifically gave Jesus credit for their gifts, but they still didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.  How is this possible?  Is this what Revelation 2:1-7 meant when it talks about a church that had lost its “first love?”  Did these people start out loving God with all their heart and then begin to love His gifts more than they loved the giver of the gifts?  

 

Is this also an issue of worship?  Did they begin to worship the gifts instead of God?  I don’t have all the answers, but we all need to ask ourselves some hard questions.  Most importantly, on the day we meet Jesus, the only thing that matters is that we know Him, and He knows us.  It is not going to be all about our gifts.  What we did with the lives God gave us certainly will come up, but it is our relationship with God that matters most.  This same equation is found in the Lord’s prayer when Jesus invites us to pray, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  

 

The question is, do we know Him well enough to know how to pray from Heaven’s perspective?  But if we know God, then we have the right to pray, ask and believe in miracles.  We also have to accept God’s answers and interpret them in light of the cross, which has already accomplished the victory.  Knowing that only God can be God will allow us to accept His answers and still keep praying earnestly for others.

 

We have to be like Abraham, the father of the faithful.  Faith was credited as righteousness because our faith reflects the depth of our relationship with God.  Faith, not miracles, is the currency of Heaven. (Romans 4:22) Still, there is no doubt that some people have extraordinary gifts.  While gifts proclaim God’s glory, we still have to prioritize our relationship with Him.  

 

Matthew 7,  just like Deuteronomy 13, clearly shows the difference between the supernatural gifts and a relationship with the giver of everything supernatural and everything good.  Christianity is not about gifts.  Of course, God is still going to keep on giving gifts out of His goodness.  More importantly, we are going to need His gifts to face what is coming.  But now is the time to recognize the difference between the gifts and our “first and forever love.”

 

Those Seeking Signs & Wonders

Unfortunately, most people aren’t searching for a relationship with God.  Then some want God to prove Himself to them, but He has already done that on the cross, and it changed all of history.  Of course, Job went after God with all kinds of questions to test God, and we all know where that got him.  The reality is that God has only given us an invitation to try Him in one area; the tithe. (Malachi 3:10).  Still, some are always searching for a sign, but are they open to a real relationship with God, or are they just looking for a miracle?  Sign seekers were prevalent even in Jesus’s day.

  • Even the scribes and Pharisees told Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. (Matthew 12:38-39)

Jesus is saying that He and He alone is the sign we have been searching for.  A relationship with Jesus is an everlasting gift.  There is no more pain or death where Jesus is leading us to.  There is only beauty beyond description and unfathomable love that awaits us there in Heaven. This heavenly culture is “Christ in us the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)  So, why do we rejoice?  Do we rejoice because we have gifts?  Do we rejoice because the demons are subject to us or that miracles happen when we pray?  No.  We rejoice because our names are written in the heart of Jesus, and everything we have in this life is a gift that we have received.  We don’t own anything.  

  • Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
  • For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Wolves Among the Sheep

The gifts of the Spirit all seem to have a purpose here on earth.  My grandfather, who was a Pentecostal minister for more than 40 years, often told me that where the Pentecostal movement went wrong was when they were deciding whether the gifts of the Spirit were the churches or the individuals.  Like my grandfather, F.C. Kruse, I favor the church but agree that certain people tend to operate better in particular gifts.  However, in the final analysis, the gifts and workings of the Spirit are God’s property; they are just coming from different parts of the same body.  Consequently, we must not boast or come to love the gifts more than we love the giver of all that is good.  

 

As near as I can tell, the attitude of the “signs and wonders” churches appears to be that the greatest of those among us are the ones with the greatest gifts.  This idea was in sharp contrast to the words of Jesus when he said, “If anyone desires to be first, he will be last of all and servant of all.”  At this point, I think it becomes apparent precisely who is wrong?  Especially when we know that it is the fruit of the Spirit that allows us to sort out the wolves among the flock.  When it comes to “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” they are going to be left wanting. (Galatians 5:22-23)

 

However, there is a similarity between the “Fruit of the Spirit” and the description of love in the Bible.  Yet, love would never make people feel inferior just because they didn’t have a particular gift?  Especially when they may be just a different part of the same body.  Does the Bible say we are supposed to have all the same gifts?  In 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Paul sarcastically asks the same question.  “Do we all have the same gift?”  While the Bible says to “eagerly desire the greater gifts,” we forget the last part found in verse 31, “Yet I will show you a more excellent way.”  

 

The amplified translation identifies this more excellent way as unselfish love, which is what happens when we use our gifts to help other people and not for our purposes.  In this sense, seeking the gifts of the Spirit versus seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus are two different things.  But how does this match the attitude of many of the super churches or super leaders?  My biggest turned off regarding the hyper-charismatic movement is their lack of humility, spiritual fruit, and diminishing emphasis on a deeper relationship with God.  

 

After all, there are a diversity of gifts, but only one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:4)  So why divide the church over gifts when they were explicitly appointed to encourage and sanctify the church?  The gifts, if used correctly, should bring the church together under the one Spirit that rules us all.  Using the gifts to divide the church turns out to be one way to recognize the wolves have crept into our midst.  

 

Consequently, we must be aware that pretenders are going to enter the church even though they are operating in marvelous gifts, but “by their fruit, you shall know them.” (Matthew 7:16)  We will also know them by their love for their brothers and sisters. (John 13:35)  These two paradigms are how we can use the Bible to discern the spirits of those presenting themselves to the church as brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • For we were all baptized by one Spirit to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 

Recognizing A False Prophet – Key Ideas of 2 Peter 2

False prophets and false teachers are coming to insert destructive heresies into the church.  These heresies will even include denying the sovereign Lord.  They will be deprived in their conduct and bring the truth into disrepute.  They will be greedy and exploit us with fabricated stories. 

They will blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals and creatures of instinct.  They will carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.  With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! They have wandered off to follow the way of Balaam.

 

Their mouths are empty of truth but full of boastful words appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh.  They promise freedom while they are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” They are again entangled in the world, and they are worse off than they were initially. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command. Of them, the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and “A pig that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

 

Yet, their condemnation is coming, just like the Days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  But like righteous Lot, the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. NIV

 

Also, consider 2 Corinthians 11:12-15.  I will keep on doing what I am doing to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us (apostles) in the things they boast about. Such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. NIV

 

The False Prophets Are Here

  • Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)
  • “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their desires, they will gather around them many teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The opening of the Abyss is looming large.  An outpouring of the spirits is on its way.  So too, the church is about to face the most significant test it will ever face.  Now is not the time to lack discernment over the supernatural signs and wonders that follow.  Now is also not the time to start dumbing down the Bible or prophecy?  In a strange twist, the secular world is obsessed with the supernatural, while pastors avoid it in their sermons.  Now is also not the time to start blending the new age or any other religion into Christianity.  

 

Now is the time to differentiate the worship of God in “spirit and truth” from other false types of worship, such as eastern meditation that opens people up to demonic spirits. Now is not the time to start coining new terms or coming up with new translations to fit our world view.  While I hate to single anyone out, the new “Passion” translation seems to fit the bill.  Brian Simmons claims that he virtually downloaded this directly from Jesus when he was in Heaven.  Once there, he found a new chapter of the Bible, which was John 22.  

 

New gospels are troublesome.  When you say you are downloading the Bible, it means that this is not a translation.  Instead, he is saying, “these are the literal words of Jesus.”  Interestingly enough, Paul told us that even if an Apostle or an angel from Heaven gave us a new gospel, “let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)  Accepting new books to the Bible is clearly heresy.  I could write a whole book about false prophets in the church, but I am only going to mention a couple of things because I think they are extremely dangerous.  

 

I recently listened to a Christian book called “The School of the Prophets,” which mentions that we should start talking to our own personal angels.  Unfortunately, I see no Biblical case for this. Furthermore, I don’t believe that we need any intercessors between God and us.  That is the function of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Besides, how exactly do we think these spirits about to be released will present themselves to us, and what messages will they bring?  The Bible says Satan portrays himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)  In other words, demons are rogue angels.

 

If you don’t think these spirits are already contacting people as we speak, then watch “Beware of Angels” on amazon.  If you are interested in some of the ways the wolves have crept into the church and begun to present a false gospel, then watch “The Submergent Church,” which is also accessible on Amazon. 

 

Since I have brought up the idea of modern prophets, I want to be clear that I do not consider myself a prophet or a theologian, nor am I trying to predict anything.  In fact, for the record, I hope everything in all of my articles is wrong and that none of it happens.  What I have done is read God’s word and correlate it with “what’s happening” since Jerusalem is “no longer trodden down by the Gentiles.” For myself, it has been a faith-building experience.  Now more than ever, we need to cling to the Bible as our only trustworthy source of information in troubled times.  

 

The Forgotten Multitude?

  • “After this, I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  (Revelations 7:9-10)

There is one group of people that I have noticeably left out of these articles.  I am talking about those who have not been sealed in their foreheads either way.  These are the souls that have not made their choice, but soon they will be forced to go one way or the other.  

 

The “unknown multitude” are the people we need to reach with the gospel, as well as the warning not to take the MOB.  Some translations say, “an innumerable multitude.”  So, how can so many people get saved during the tribulation?  I thought the tribulation was all about the Jews?  Well, the tribulation is not about the Jews.  It is about the decedents of all 12 tribes of Israel. (Read Revelation 7:1-8) This passage is about the 12,000 saved from each of the 12 tribes, which then totals 144,000 Israelites.  

 

This verse proves that all the promises God made to Abraham and His children will be honored just like His promises.  But the following passage proves that God will also inherit all the nations.  (Psalms 82:8)  Whether these numbers for Israel are symbolic or not, it is difficult to imagine that an innumerable group of people from every tribe of the earth is not a lot of people.  How can these many people get saved during the worst time in human history?  

 

I believe it will come down to the “seal in our foreheads,” the preaching of Bible prophecy, and the return of supernatural signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit re-manifesting in the church like they did at Pentecost.  One way that we can reach these people is to start talking about what will happen ASAP.  God wants us to preach the gospel and the warning about the MOB to the ends of the earth so that more people can get saved. Lives still hang in the balance, and the church needs to heed its call and wake those who are sleeping.

 

The Lessor Know Gifts

When I think about the gifts presented in 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, I try and focus on the ones that will help us discern between these escaped spirits returning for revenge.  Of course, verse 3 defines what unites His church.  “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”  Verses 4 -6 talk about how there are “different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.” Interestingly, these same verses equate our spiritual gifts to different kinds of service or workings.  

 

How might our dialog change if we talked more about how God has called us to serve and work in His kingdom instead of talking about how we are gifted?  After all, verse 7 makes it clear that these gifts of the Spirit are “given for the common good.”  It is verses 8 and 9 that bring out some of the lesser-known gifts.  Here are the three gifts with some translational variations.

  • A message of, a word of, an utterance of, or speaking with wisdom or giving wise advice.
  • The gift of faith. (which can move mountains)
  • A message of, a word of, an utterance of, or speaking with knowledge or giving correct information.

Indeed, I have never met anyone who maintained that these gifts have ever ceased from being part of the church.  Now more than ever, we need the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and faith to discern the difference between the spirits that are coming.  More importantly, the Bible is our only source of the correct information, and we will need the Holy Spirit to help us wisely divide the word of truth. 

 

Most importantly, we will need faith to believe and trust in God and not give in to man, or his reasoning or his “causes.”  We will need faith to stand up and say no to the Devil and his mark.  We will need faith to spread hope to a dying world. While other men’s hearts will be failing them for fear, we will have a supernatural faith that says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

 

Loving the Fruit

While I enjoy the gifts that God has given to me, and I try to be open to more, the truth is that I am happier with more of the fruit of the Spirit.  There honestly isn’t one gift of the Spirit that I wouldn’t trade for one more piece of fruit.  That’s not to say that I am right, but that is how I feel sometimes.  Comparing fruit to gifts is much like comparing the gospel of Mary to Martha, and it is something we all need to think about.  Besides, I like to remind pastors that they will be out of a job when they get to Heaven.  

 

But of course, that is probably true for all of us.  Contemplating Heaven is the kind of sober discussion we need to discern the truth of fruit and gifts.  While I believe and support the gifts of the Spirit, I think we have to prioritize slightly here and focus on the fruit because, without them, our gifts aren’t believable.  After all, fruit is how we will recognize the fakes.  With that in mind, here are some of my favorite sayings about the fruit of the Spirit -Please remember, I am not trying to quench the gifts of the spirits- I am just trying to keep gifts in perspective:

  • It would appear most “gifts of the Spirit” aren’t necessary for Heaven.  But the fruit of the Spirit is something we can eat every day and for all eternity. 
  • Fruit is delicious, and it can feed us and keep us alive.  Gifts are fantastic, but they can’t nourish our souls through famine.  
  • There is a diversity of gifts, works, and service, which means (like Forest Gump’s chocolates) you never know what you’re going to get.  (1 Corinthians 12:4)
  • An issue of maturity.  What kind of child of God would put one of their brothers or sisters down just because they got a particular gift and their brother or sister didn’t?

The Great Pouring Out of His Spirit

On the other side of the coin, many have taught that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased.  Others have even looked down upon generations of Christians for losing the gifts.  Yet, one reason why we didn’t see the “gifts of the Spirit” as often could be because the H.S. had already put most of what we are fighting against in prison. Consequently, the return of these spirits could be why the gifts are coming back in full force.  

 

The Abyss will be opened soon, and we have no idea how many spirits will come out.  Fortunately, we need not be afraid because God will seal us in our foreheads so that these demonic entities cannot mess with us.  Not only that, God is going to pour out His Spirit in such abundance that the gifts are going to come back to the church like never before.  The reemergence of the gifts will happen because we need them to fight for the mind, hearts, and foreheads of the innumerable multitude that God wants to save.  

 

Soon, denominationalism won’t matter.  True churches and true believers will begin to experience prophesy, visions, dreams, wonders in Heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath. (Acts 2:16-21)  But to pull this off and be believable, we need fruit to keep our feet planted on the ground.  Furthermore, we must always keep the thoughts of our “first love” on our minds, hearts, and lips as the world is soon to be shaken. (Revelations 2:4) 

  • The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord, and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.  He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears. ( Isaiah 11:2-3)

Next Week

One purpose of prophecy is to warn us to start going about our Father’s business and prepare everyone for what is coming.  The unfolding events are signs of things to come as the whole world is about to be under the grasp of the beast.  So, please don’t miss our final article next week, as we summarize what all of this means and update everyone on the newest developments in the Covid deception.

Note:Dr Dennis O.Hara is a guest contributor/co-author
Dr. Dennis O’Hara was born and raised on Long Island, NY and was an athlete throughout his school years. He fell in love with chiropractic while being helped as a patient for numerous sports injuries. Dr. O’Hara has been in practice since he graduated from National College of Chiropractic in April 1992. Dr. O’Hara continued his education achieving his Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians.

Dr. O’Hara’s clinical emphasis focuses on injuries of the neck and back, Sports injuries, biomechanical and postural correction and rehabilitation. He has worked with amateur and professional athletes and was the chiropractic physician for the Washington DC United MLS soccer team from 1996-1998. Dr. O’Hara had been a ringside physician for amateur MMA from 2009 through 2015 having worked hundreds of hours evaluating fighters before and after fights.

Dr. O’Hara’s continued passion for chiropractic drives his desire to help educate the public on the importance of spinal health and overall wellness.wait to deceive.” We will let people back into the church. We will be the rock upon which God
builds His kingdom, instead of a stepping stone towards Satan’s final agenda. May God prick
our hearts, and may the church begin to wake up, because the time is getting short. Jesus is
coming soon.

If the Bible’s condemnation of an ancient race of giants and the supernatural entities who created them—in other words, the Nephilim and the “sons of God” from Genesis 6—was unique among the religious texts of the ancient world, you’d be right to be skeptical. But that happens not to be the case. Similar stories, told from slightly different perspectives, are attested in many of the cultures in the ancient Near East. Mesopotamians knew the Watchers as supernatural sages called apkallu. They were agents of the god Enki, lord of the abzu (“abyss”), who sent them into the world to deliver the gifts of civilization to humanity.

Despite this, the apkallu were considered potentially dangerous, capable of malicious witchcraft. An Assyrian exorcism text names two apkallus who angered gods and thus brought punishment on themselves and the land, and in a popular Mesopotamian text called the Epic of Erra, the chief deity Marduk tells of how he banished the apkallus to the abzu (after he caused the Flood!) and told them not to return to the earth. That’s exactly the punishment God decreed for the Watchers, likewise connected to the great deluge remembered for centuries across Mesopotamia.

Interestingly, the last four apkallus were described as partly human, and thus able to mate with human women, just like the Watchers and their offspring, the Nephilim.

The giants created by the lecherous Watchers were destroyed in the Flood of Noah. While the Bible doesn’t make this explicit, it’s implied in 1 Peter 3:18–20, where the apostle links the Flood to the angels who “formerly did not obey…in the days of Noah. The text in 1 Enoch, however, does specifically connect the Flood to the punishment of the Watchers and the evil acts of their children, the Nephilim.

Here’s the key to understanding why this is in the Bible at all: The neighbors of the ancient Hebrews, especially the Amorites who lived in and near Canaan, apparently believed that these mighty men of old were the ancestors of their kings. The spirits of the Nephilim were called rapha—Rephaim. What’s more, texts discovered at the Amorite kingdom of Ugarit, only translated within the last fifty years, indicate that the Amorites venerated these entities, summoned them through necromancy rituals, and believed that their kings joined their assembly after death.

While the Bible names tribes called Rephaim in the Transjordan, lands that later became the kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and Edom, in the time of Abraham (around 1850 BC), it appears that by the Exodus the Rephaim were believed to be spirits of the venerated dead—except for Og, king of Bashan, who was called the last “of the remnant of the Rephaim.”

Here is where we differ with some Christian researchers: We do not believe the Rephaim and Anakim encountered by the Israelites were literal blood descendants of the pre-Flood Nephilim. They were tribes who worshiped their spirits in the deluded belief that those demons were their heroic royal ancestors. So, when 1 Chronicles 20:4–8 and 2 Samuel 21:15–20 refer to Goliath and other Philistine “descendants of the giants” (yĕlîdê hārāpâ), it’s in the spiritual sense. These “sons of Rapha” were an elite warrior cult dedicated to the mighty men who were of old.

Likewise, the Anakim, who are identified with the Rephaim in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, appear to have been a class of pagan warrior kings rather than supernaturally big. Contrary to the popular explanation that anak means “long-necked,” it actually derives from a Greek word, anax (“god,” “hero,” or “master of the house”). “Anakim,” then, was a title roughly meaning “lords” or “rulers,” and the “sons of Anak” were a warrior elite who ruled the hill country of Judah and Israel.

Veneration of the dead among the ancient Amorites was an integral part of their culture. A monthly ritual called kispum summoned dead ancestors to a ritual meal, which we’ll describe in detail in a future article. The kispum took on greater importance when it came to their dead kings; while the dead were dangerous if they were unhappy, dead royals were especially menacing. They posed a threat to the ruler himself, and that was a problem that could affect the entire kingdom. Bedeviled kings weren’t just a threat to their families; everyone in the kingdom suffered when a ruler was tormented by angry spirits.

The standard practice in the ancient Near East was to perform the kispum rite twice a month for kings, usually on the 15th and 30th. As with the family kispum, long-dead rulers had to be called to the meal by name. Forgetting the dead meant their spirits were unsettled and thus unpredictable. Proper performance of the ritual was key to maintaining the health and stability of the realm.

Several fascinating texts from Ugarit are especially relevant to our discussion. Around 1200 BC, just before its destruction by the so-called Sea Peoples, Ugarit crowned its last king. A ritual text designated KTU 1.161 by scholars suggests that the ill-fated Ammurapi III, who was probably killed when his city was overrun, was crowned with a necromancy rite that summoned the spirits of his royal ancestors, the Rephaim.

You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth, 

You are invoked, O council of the Didanu! 

Ulkn, the Raphi’, is summoned,

Trmn, the Raphi’, is summoned, 

Sdn-w-rdn is summoned, Ṯr ‘llmn is summoned,

the Rephaim of old are summoned!

You are summoned, O Rephaim of the earth,

You are invoked, O council of the Didanu!

There is no question that these Rephaim are the same group called by that name in the Bible.

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)

The “shades”—Rephaim—were “leaders of the earth” and “kings of the nations,” the same way they are described in the Ugaritic texts.

This appears to be a belief that extends back at least to the time of Abraham. A bone talisman dated to about 1750 BC found in the tomb of a king at Ebla, an ancient kingdom in northern Syria, depicting a scene that suggests three ranks in the hierarchy of the afterlife: A lower level for the human dead, a top level inhabited by the gods, and a middle level occupied by entities that probably represent the Rephaim. Scholars who have tried to interpret the symbols on the artifact believe the item was a guide for the spirit of the dead king on how to attain status among the venerated dead—the “men of renown,” as it were. Even the name “Rephaim” may originate with an Akkadian word that means something like “great ones.”

What ties this together into a cohesive package is a reference in the Ugaritic “Sacrifice of the Shades Liturgy” to the “council of the Didanu.” That shadowy group shares the name of an Amorite tribe from antiquity known and feared throughout the Near East, variously spelled Didanu, Ditanu, or Tidanu. The last Sumerian kings of Mesopotamia, the Third Dynasty of Ur, actually built a wall 175 miles long north of modern Baghdad that they dubbed the “Amorite Wall That Keeps Tidanu Away.”

Too bad for the Third Dynasty of Ur that it didn’t keep the Tidanu away. Within a century of the wall’s construction, Ur was overwhelmed by waves of invaders that included the Tidanu, savage Gutian tribesmen from the mountains to the northeast, and Elamites, from what is today northwestern Iran.

The key point is this: For centuries, Amorite kings from Babylon to Canaan traced their ancestry back to this Tidanu/Ditanu tribe. And modern scholars have concluded that the name of this tribe is the origin of the name given by the ancient Greeks to their old gods, the Titans.

Consider the evidence: We know that in the days of the judges in Israel, Amorite kings in what is now northern Syria aspired to become rapha and join the council of the Didanu after death, a religious belief that may have existed for more than a thousand years already by that time. The Rephaim were middle-tier deities, higher-ranking in the cosmic order than humans, but not at the level of the great gods like El, Baal, Asherah, and Astarte.

Like the Didanu, the Titans of the Greeks were supernatural inhabitants of the underworld who roamed the earth long ago, just like the apkallu of Babylon and the Watchers—the “sons of God” from Genesis 6—of the Hebrews. This is not a coincidence.

And it’s still relevant today. You see, the Rephaim Texts from ancient Ugarit call the Rephaim “warriors of Baal.” The mountain sacred to Baal is the rally point for the end-times army of Gog, the Antichrist—and Jesus identified Baal as Satan.

Veneration of the dead was not a quaint religious belief by primitive pagans who didn’t know any better. What we are unraveling here is an ancient plot by the infernal council to create a demonic army to assault the throne of God.

The Mighty Men Who Were of Old

Once upon a time, giants roamed the earth.
That sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale. Most Christians have never been taught that a similar story is told in the Book of Genesis, and in very similar language: “The Nephilim (or giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
Pastors, priests, and Sunday school teachers tend to skip the first four verses of Genesis 6 and go right to the story of Noah because—well, the verses are weird. They contradict the scientific consensus. They’re hard to understand.
Please remember this: God didn’t inspire the prophets and apostles to write filler. Moses was not assigned a minimum word count. If it’s in the Bible, it’s relevant—and if it’s weird, it’s important.
The reason we’re writing this book is that it’s become clear to us that the episode described in Genesis 6:1–4, and expanded upon in the non-canonical Book of 1 Enoch, is far more important to human history and biblical theology than we realized.
We are Bible-believing, blood-bought Christians, so let’s put to bed right now any concerns you might have that this book is going off the theological rails to add something to the salvation story. If you don’t accept the evidence we’ll present here, that’s fine; as long as we agree that salvation comes only through grace by faith in Jesus Christ, we’re good. The purpose of this study is to show you how viciously and for how long the Fallen have been waging war against our Creator. Their ultimate objectives are control of God’s mount of assembly, Zion, and authority over your eternal soul.
So, what role did the giants play in the biblical narrative?
First, we need to establish that the children of human women to the “sons of God” were literally angel-human hybrids. This is consistent with similar stories from the ancient world of gods commingling with humans to produce demigods such as Gilgamesh, who claimed to be two-thirds god and one-third human, and Hercules, the son of Zeus by the mortal woman Alcmene.
Obviously, researchers can’t produce DNA from pre-Flood human remains that will support this theory. However, it’s worth noting that for all of the faith placed by science in Darwinian evolution, only two hundred specimens of “pre-human” fossils have ever been found. If humanity has been around for ten thousand years, where are all the skeletons? But we digress.
It’s important to note that the phrase translated “sons of God” in the Old Testament, Hebrew bǝnê hāʾĕlōhîm, always means supernatural beings—angels, if you like. It does not refer to human men.
Yes, there are references in the New Testament to “sons of God” that do mean humans, but those passages are translated from Greek into English, and the context is different. The arc of history is all about restoring humanity to the garden, like the prodigal son returning home and being restored to the family as a co-heir. Someday, we will once again be “sons (and daughters)” of God in the Old Testament sense. That’s why Jesus went to the cross.
At the risk of beating a horse that’s already on life support, let me repeat: “Sons of God” in Genesis 6:4 refers to spirit beings, supernatural entities who rebelled against the Father—fallen angels who spawned an evil race of giants mingling the bloodlines of angels with humans. The “sons of God” were not evil human rulers or men from the line of Cain, or any other naturalistic explanation that’s been put forward since Augustine decided he couldn’t believe it in the early fifth century AD. Casting the “sons of God” as evil human men simply ignores the linguistic and cultural foundation of the Book of Genesis. To interpret the Nephilim as fully human means mistranslating the Hebrew and ignoring the way the very same phrase was used by the cultures around ancient Israel that spoke and wrote similar languages.
Besides, the apostles believed it. And we dare say their theology teacher was better than ours.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. (2 Peter 2:4–10)
The only place in Scripture where we know of angels who sinned (Satan excluded) is Genesis 6. By connecting the rebellious angels to Sodom and Gomorrah, Peter made it clear that the sin of the angels was sexual—a point he reinforced in verse 10. Like the “angels who sinned,” the wicked would be kept under punishment until the Judgment—“especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority,” exactly the sin of the sons of God in Genesis 6.
The apostle Jude was even more explicit:
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 6–7, emphasis added)
It could not be clearer: By connecting Genesis 6 to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jude made it clear that the sin of the angels was sexual. (It also indicates that the sin of Sodom wasn’t just homosexuality; it was the desire to cross the boundary between species. Physical relations between angel and human was just as “unnatural” as between human and animal.)
Interestingly, just a few verses later, Jude quotes the Book of 1 Enoch, which suggests that we might learn something from Enoch even though it’s not in the Bible.
When the sons of men had multiplied, in those days, beautiful and comely daughters were born to them. And the watchers, the sons of heaven, saw them and desired them. And they said to one another, “Come, let us choose for ourselves wives from the daughters of men, and let us beget children for ourselves.”…
These and all the others with them took for themselves wives from among them such as they chose. And they began to go in to them, and to defile themselves through them, and to teach them sorcery and charms, and to reveal to them the cutting of roots and plants. And they conceived from them and bore to them great giants. And the giants begot Nephilim, and to the Nephilim were born Elioud [“gods of glory”]. And they were growing in accordance with their greatness. They were devouring the labor of all the sons of men, and men were not able to supply them. And the giants began to kill men and to devour them. And they began to sin against the birds and beasts and creeping things and the fish, and to devour one another’s flesh. And they drank the blood.
Dr. Michael Heiser makes a convincing case in his book Reversing Hermon that a key aspect of the mission of Jesus was to reverse the evil of the Watchers. It’s obvious in 1 Enoch that the impact of the Watchers went well beyond producing monstrous hybrid offspring. Besides sorcery and potions, the fallen angels of the Hermon rebellion taught humanity the arts of divination, cosmetic enhancement, metalworking, fashioning weapons, making “hate-inducing charms,” and “the eternal mysteries that are in heaven,” which clearly were things man was not meant to know. In short, because of the forbidden knowledge passed from the Watchers to humans, the earth became filled with sex and violence.
For this, as Peter noted, God imprisoned the rebels in the abyss. While most English Bibles translate 2 Peter 2:4 as “cast them into hell,” the Greek word, tartaroō, literally means “thrust down to Tartarus.” That’s different from Hades, the word most commonly used to designate the underworld home of the evil dead. In Greek cosmology, Tartarus was as far below Hades as the earth is below heaven. It was a special prison reserved for supernatural threats to the divine order—basically, Hell for supernatural beings.
This is the only place in the New Testament where tartaroō is used, which means it’s important. It referred to a unique event, but one with which Peter’s readers were obviously familiar—the famous story of the Watchers who attempted to corrupt humanity physically and spiritually.

Last time, we shared the work of scholar Nicolas Wyatt, who pointed out that regrouping the consonants of the original Hebrew changes Deuteronomy 32:8 to read: When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, He set up the boundaries of the nations in accordance with the number of the sons of Bull El (emphasis added).
While it doesn’t change the effect of what happened after the Tower of Babel incident (Yahweh allocating the small-G gods to the nations), reconstructing Deuteronomy 32:8 to read “sons of Bull El” gives it a new, perhaps deeper, meaning. Since we’ve identified El as Kronos, leader of the Titans, which presumably also makes him Shemihazah, ringleader of the rebellious Watchers, it may explain why God divided the world into seventy nations.
This is admittedly confusing. Whether they were sons of Bull El or El Shaddai (Yahweh), why seventy sons? Why would God put powerful supernatural entities with a rebellious streak in charge of His creation anyway?
As for the number of the rebellious “sons of God,” we can only know this for sure: It’s symbolic. The number of the elders of Israel and the number of disciples sent ahead of Jesus into Galilee matched the number of these divine sons. That was no accident. But why that specific number? Maybe there were exactly seventy tribes or nations at the time God stopped the workmen at Babel, or maybe, as we’ll see shortly, it’s related to the belief in the ancient Near East that seventy symbolized a complete set, the full amount.
Now, why did God delegate authority to elohim that He knew would rebel? Remember, this was the punishment God decreed for the disobedient humans of Nimrod’s day. They’d tried to build the Tower of Babel as an artificial “cosmic mountain,” an abode for the gods, and they did it just three generations after God sent a devastating Flood as a consequence for getting too cozy with an earlier group of Watcher-class angels. God’s response was to give humanity what it wanted, and so “the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven” were “allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
We can assume that these seventy sons of El were not among the two hundred who descended on Mount Hermon in the days of Jared. The Watchers that Enoch knew were punished for their sin, chained in gloomy darkness until the final judgment, according to Peter and Jude. So, in what sense were these seventy post-Babel angels the sons of El?
This is speculation, you understand, since we’re working without a biblical net here. The term “sons” is not to be taken literally, in the human sense. While we know from Jesus that the angels in Heaven don’t marry, Genesis 6:1–4 makes it clear that they can procreate, at least with human partners. But the Bible never shows us female angels, even though some of the most popular pagan deities are female. Without scriptural support, we can’t say that angels reproduce. So, our best guess is that the sons of Bull El were his children in the same way the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were “of [their] father, the devil”—spiritual descendants rather than genetic and physical offspring.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that while El (i.e., Kronos/Saturn) was chained in Tartarus with the rest of the Watchers, his seventy “sons” were believed to congregate on Mount Hermon? Remember that. Jesus certainly did.
The pagans didn’t depict El as a god trapped in the underworld, but these spirits lie. Do the fallen angels chained in Tartarus still influence what happens here on the surface? You’d think not, but maybe the angels who rebelled later, after the Tower of Babel incident, found it useful for their cause to preserve the name and memory of El/Kronos/Saturn, and their colleagues, even if their spiritual “father” and his gang of two hundred were indisposed. But those Watchers are coming back for one last shot at the throne of God. More on that later.
Bearing in mind the importance of Mount Hermon to the spirit realm, consider the deeper meaning within the messianic prophecy of Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? […]
Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion. Psalm 22:1, 12–13, ESV; emphasis added)
You recognize the first verse of Psalm 22 because Jesus spoke it from the cross. This was obviously a prophecy of what was to happen on Calvary. But the psalmist wasn’t shown a vision of angry bulls from the Golan Heights surrounding Christ on the cross. He was given a glimpse into the future at spirits from Bashan, demonic entities represented by bulls, who surrounded the cross to celebrate what they thought was their victory over the Messiah.
Confirming this interpretation of Psalm 22:12, Old Testament scholar Dr. Robert D. Miller II recently used archaeological and climatological evidence to prove that “the phrase Bulls of Bashan refers not to the bovine but to the divine, [and] moreover that Iron Age Bashan would have been a terrible land for grazing and the last place to be famous for beef or dairy cattle.”
How about that? Soil samples confirm the truth of the Bible!
Feast of Booths
Now, let’s add another bit of historical detail that may be relevant. The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot (literally “Feast of Booths”), was one of the annual festivals that God directed the Israelites to keep when He gave the Law to Moses. It’s a seven-day festival that begins on the 15th of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. That puts it exactly six months after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begins on the 15th of Nisan, the first month of the calendar. Those two along with Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), were the three Pilgrimage Festivals in the Hebrew calendar that required Jewish men to appear before God at the Tabernacle, and later, at the Temple from the time of Solomon until the first century A.D.
Interestingly, the pagan religious calendar in the ancient Near East featured a festival called the akitu that dates back at least to the middle of the third millennium B.C. It was thought to be a new year festival held in the spring to honor the chief god of Babylon, Marduk, but more recent discoveries have shown that there were two akitu festivals, one in the spring, the harvesting season, and the other in the fall, the planting season, and some of them were performed to honor other gods. For example, the oldest known akitu is documented at ancient Ur in Sumer, which was the home city of the moon-god, Sîn.
The akitu festivals began on the 1st of Nisan and 1st of Tishrei, close to the spring and fall equinoxes. Although the length of the festivals changed over the years, it appears they generally lasted eleven or twelve days. So, the Jewish festivals began a few days after their pagan neighbors finished their harvesting and planting rituals.
Sukkot is a seven-day festival. It’s especially interesting because of the sheer number of sacrificial animals that were required, and especially because they were bulls. Numbers 29:12–34 spells out the requirements for the Feast of Booths.
Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7
13 bulls12 bulls11 bulls10 bulls9 bulls8 bulls7 bulls2
rams2 rams2 rams2 rams2 rams2 rams2 rams
14 lambs14 lambs14 lambs14 lambs14 lambs14 lambs14 lambs1 goat1 goat1 goat1 goat1 goat1 goat1 goat

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was likewise a seven-day festival, required only one ram and seven lambs each day. But the biggest difference between the two feasts is that only two bulls were sacrificed each day during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In fact, none of the other festivals ordained by God for Israel required the sacrifice of more than two bulls per day.
This suggests that Sukkot was unique in the annual calendar. In fact, in several places in the Old Testament it’s simply called “the festival” or “the feast.” But why? Why so many bulls at this particular feast? And why the decreasing number of bulls slaughtered each day?
We may never know specifically, but it’s fascinating to note that a similar festival called the zukru was performed regularly during the time of the Judges (fourteenth through 12th centuries B.C.) in Emar, a city in what is today northern Syria.
It was celebrated in Emar on the first month of the year, called SAG.MU—namely, the “head of the year”. On the first day of the festival, when the moon is full, the god Dagan—the supreme god of Syria— and all the other gods in the pantheon were taken outside the temple and city in the presence of the citizens to a shrine of stones called sikkānu. […]
The first offerings of the zukru-festival were sacrificed on the fourteenth of the month of the “head of the year”:
On the month of SAG.MU (meaning: the head of the year), on the fourteenth day, they offer seventy pure lambs provided by the king…for all the seventy gods [of the city of] Emar.
Seventy lambs for the seventy gods of Emar, headed up by Dagan, sacrificed over seven days during a festival that began in the first month “when the moon is full,” just like at Sukkot.
Quickly: How many bulls were sacrificed at Sukkot?
13 + 12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 = 70
Remember from an earlier chapter the link between the underworld and Dagan, the bēl pagrê, “lord of the corpse,” or “lord of the dead.” Recall also that the similarities in their roles and descriptions helped us identify Dagan as the Hurrian grain-god Kumarbi and the king of the Titans, Kronos—which brings us back to the Canaanite creator-god El and his seventy sons on Mount Hermon. And then connect Dagan/El, “lord of the dead,” to Mount Hermon, which towers over Bashan, the entrance to the Canaanite underworld.
Is it possible that the festival of the Israelites was a message to the small-G gods who had deceived the nations in and around the land God had chosen for His people—that the seventy bulls sacrificed to Yahweh represented the seventy gods who’d sworn allegiance to Dagan/El/Kronos/Saturn? Or was it simply to commemorate Israel’s rescue from the gods of the nations—to remind the people that they were Yahweh’s allotted heritage?
Given the bull imagery of the pagan gods and demons of the ancient Near East, the answer to both questions is, “Yes.”

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 AD by the “Mad Arab,” Abdul Alhazred. This was a bit of wordplay, Lovecraft’s childhood nickname because of his love for the book 1001 Arabian Nights (Alhazred = “all has read”).

Lovecraft claimed inspiration for the Necronomicon came to him in a dream, and through his many letters to friends and colleagues he encouraged others to incorporate the mysterious tome into their own fiction. Over time, references to the Necronomicon by other authors led to a growing belief that the book was, in fact, real.

By the 1970s, Lovecraft’s work had found a new audience, and his stories were being mined by Hollywood. Then in 1977, a hardback edition of the Necronomicon 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. 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.

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.

 

The book covered everything from pyramidology (the belief that the Egyptian pyramids held ancient secrets) to supposed advanced technology in the ancient world. Likewise, the authors praised Arthur Machen, the Irish author of horror fiction, about surviving Celtic mythological creatures, and they discussed the genius of H. P. Lovecraft in the same breath as the scientist Albert Einstein and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. 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 added).

 

The success of Pauwles and Bergier inspired others to explore the concepts they’d developed from the writings of Lovecraft. The most successful of these, without question, was Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, the best-selling English language archaeology book of all time.

You can say one thing 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 of Chariots of the Gods on the UFO research community and the worldviews of literally millions of people over the last fifty years. 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 Chariots of the Gods feature film 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.

This, despite the fact that von Däniken told National Enquirer in 1974 that his information came not through archaeological fieldwork but through out-of-body travel to a place called Point Aleph, “a sort of fourth dimension” outside of space and time.

To put it simply, the claims of von Däniken don’t hold water. His theories have been debunked in great detail and he’s even admitted to making things up, but lack of evidence has never stopped crazy ideas for long. And now, thanks to a new generation of true believers, Ancient Aliens and its imitators are still mining von Däniken gold five decades after his first book hit the shelves.

Ancient alien evangelists have effectively proselytized the American public since Chariots of the Gods went viral nearly fifty years ago. This may sound like a joke, but more adults in the United States believe that the earth is being visited by extraterrestrials than believe in God as He’s revealed Himself in the Bible.

MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, which calls itself “the world’s oldest and largest UFO phenomenon investigative body,” has gone all in with ancient aliens in recent years. The group now openly supports pseudoscientific and New Age interpretations of the UFO phenomenon instead of sticking to what can be supported by evidence. For example, the theme of MUFON’s 2017 national convention was “The Case for a Secret Space Program,” which was described by one critic as “blatantly unscientific and irrational.”

The conference featured among its speakers a man who claims he was recruited for “a ‘20 & Back’ assignment which involved age regression (via Pharmaceutical means) as well as time regressed to the point of beginning service.” In plain English, he claims he served for two decades in an off-planet research project, and then was sent back in time to a few minutes after he left and “age-regressed” so no one noticed that that he’s really twenty years older than he looks.

Another speaker claimed he was pre-identified as a future president of the United States in a CIA/DARPA program called Project Pegasus, which purportedly gathered intel on past and future events, such as the identities of future presidents. He also claimed Barack Obama was his roommate in 1980 in a CIA project called Mars Jump Room, a teleportation program that sent trainees to a secret base on the red planet.

 

You know, it sounds really bizarre when we step back and summarize things but there is no way to make this sound rational. The horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, which was inspired by the spirits behind 19th century occultists like Helena Blavatsky (and possibly the same spirit that communicated with Aleister Crowley), was filtered through the French science-fiction scene in the 1960s, adapted by a Swiss hotel manager named von Däniken, and recycled back to the United States at the time of the first moon landings, where it’s grown into a scientistic religion that replaces God with aliens.

Wow.

To paraphrase our friend, Christian researcher and author L. A. Marzulli: Now fifty years on from the publication of Chariots of the Gods, the ancient alien meme is real, burgeoning, and not going away.

And the old gods are using it to set the stage for their return.

By the time Moses arrived on the scene, around 1500 B.C., the Hebrews had been in Egypt for more than a hundred years. The days of Joseph serving as vizier to the pharaoh were long gone. The Hebrews had grown from an extended family of about six dozen to a couple million, but they were suffering under the rule of a nation that no longer valued their presence except as forced labor.

So Yahweh set the next phase of His plan in motion. After guiding the life of Moses from infancy to adulthood (you don’t think he survived that trip in the reed boat by accident, do you?), Yahweh appeared to Moses in his exile and tasked him with bringing Israel out of Egypt. And the way God had him do it was a clear message to the gods of Egypt.

Moses’ first encounter with Yahweh was in Midian. That was at Horeb in the northern Sinai, later part of Edom (contrary to long tradition that puts the mountain in southern Sinai), the har elohim, or mountain of God. Get this:  The burning bush incident was the first time since Eden that a human had come face to face with Yahweh on His holy mountain. There is no question that the bene elohim, the Fallen “sons of God,” the seventy rebel angels God allotted to the nations after Babel, knew about this meeting. It was a very clear message from Yahweh to the rebels:  I have reestablished my mount of assembly on the earth.

The time had finally come. God called Moses back to Egypt to bring His people, Israel, to the place He’d claimed as His own—Canaan.

Yahweh chose to convince pharaoh and the Egyptians to not only let Israel leave, but to encourage them to go. He did it by hardening pharaoh’s heart through a series of increasingly severe trials until the people of Egypt must have been begging pharaoh to let His people go.

There are several studies you can find online that draw links between the ten plagues Yahweh inflicted on Egypt and specific Egyptian gods. For example, the first plague turned the Nile River to blood. This is said to have been directed at Hapi, the god of the annual Nile flood. Plague number two, frogs, was aimed at Heqet, a fertility goddess worshipped since the early dynastic period—the time of Narmer and the first kings of Egypt, about 1,500 or 1,600 years before Moses.

Those match up well enough, but when we get to the third and fourth plagues, the connections are iffy at best. The plague of lice or gnats, depending on the translation you read, doesn’t match up well with any known Egyptian god. The plague of flies is paired by some with Khepri, a god of creation. But Khepri had a scarab beetle for a head, so that’s not a good match, either.

Some of the pastors and teachers who’ve published these studies are very intelligent people whom I respect. However, and with all due respect to those pastor-teachers, they’ve overlooked an even bigger supernatural conflict, and understanding that confrontation will show you why trying to link the ten plagues to specific Egyptian gods is looking in the wrong direction.

More accurately, it’s looking at the wrong pantheon.

Yes, Yahweh demonstrated with the ten plagues that His power was superior to that of the gods the Egyptians trusted to keep the Nile flowing and the crops growing. And we know for a fact that Yahweh put a hurt on the gods of Egypt the night He took the lives of Egypt’s first-born.

How do we know? He told Moses.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.

Exodus 12:12 (ESV), emphasis added

How likely is it that Yahweh told Moses that He was about to punish imaginary beings? What would be the point? How would that demonstrate His power and glory?

No, something happened in the spirit realm on the night of the Passover. When Yahweh passed through the land of Egypt, taking the lives of firstborn humans and animals, He simultaneously carried out His sentence on the bene elohim, the entities who’d rebelled and made themselves gods in Egypt.

Here’s a fascinating detail we never hear about in church:  It appears there was a very old tradition in Egypt, an ancient myth dating back centuries before the Exodus, that a day was coming when the first-born of Egypt would die. The pyramids of the 5th Dynasty king Unas, c. 2350 B.C., and the 6th Dynasty king Teti, c. 2320 B.C., are inscribed with this line from a well-known inscription called the “Cannibal Hymn”:

It is the king who will be judged with Him-whose-name-is-hidden on this day of the slaying of the first-born.

Similar phrases are found on other coffins from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, including a variant that reads “this night of the slaying of the first-born.” Some scholars believe the context of the Coffin Texts and the Cannibal Hymn points to the first-born belonging to the gods, although that’s not a view shared by all Egyptologists.

What does it mean? Scholars aren’t sure. But it seems that by the time of the Exodus, there was a very old tradition in Egypt of a future nightmare event when the first-born would be killed.

Consider this possibility: Maybe the Coffin Texts and the “Cannibal Hymn” were an ancient warning to Egypt of that coming day of judgment. And forty years earlier on Mount Sinai, Yahweh revealed to Moses that He was Him-whose-name-is-hidden, I AM WHO I AM—the One who would someday fulfill the prophecy of the slaying of the first-born.

That’s speculation, of course, but fascinating. And we’re not at the best part yet.

#

Scholars today, 3,500 years later, still argue about where the Red Sea crossing occurred. We won’t get into it here. If it hasn’t been settled by now, we’re not going to put the question to bed in a couple of paragraphs. Besides, that’s not important right now. What matters is what Yahweh told Moses to do next.

Then the Lord said to Moses,

“Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea.

Exodus 14:1-2 (ESV, emphasis added)

Okay, this begs some questions:  Why did God tell Moses to turn back? Why did He command Moses to camp facing Baal-zephon? What is Baal-zephon? And mostly, what was Ba`al doing in Egypt?

You know Ba`al was the Canaanite storm-god and the king of their pantheon. He’s mentioned in the Bible from the Book of Exodus through the gospels. Ba`al, which is properly pronounced bah-awl with a glottal stop like, “Uh-oh,” was the main thorn in the side of the followers of Yahweh for about the next 1,500 years, all the way down to the time of Jesus.

But during the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt, roughly 1750 to 1550 B.C. (give or take a hundred years), foreigners from Canaan called the Hyksos ruled northern Egypt. Their capital was at Avaris in the Nile delta, and they worshipped the gods of the Canaanite pantheon headed by Ba`al.

Why is that relevant? Stay tuned. We’ll get to that next month.

The end of the Sumerian poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta is mostly missing, but it appears that Enmerkar ultimately triumphed over his rival. Other stories suggest that Enmerkar, who I believe was the biblical Nimrod (I make that case in my book, The Great Inception), later marched the army of Uruk to Aratta and conquered it.

This is consistent with archaeological evidence of the Uruk Expansion, which covers the period from about 3500 B.C. to about 3100 B.C. Although scholars usually downplay the violence that created the world’s first empire, Uruk spread its influence as far away as northwest Iran and southeastern Turkey. Pottery from Uruk has been found are more than 500 miles away from the city. To put it into context, Uruk at its peak controlled more territory than Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

This was not always a peaceful endeavor. An ancient city called Hamoukar in northeast Syria was destroyed and burned by an army from Uruk sometime around 3500 B.C. Scholars have identified the origin of the army by the pottery they left behind. Hamoukar was overwhelmed and then burned by attackers who used clay bullets fired from slings to defeat the city’s defenders. Strangely, what appears to have been a trading post from Uruk outside the city was destroyed, too, suggesting that maybe the men sent by Uruk to keep the locals in line had gone native.

That was how the kingdom of Nimrod obtained materials like jewels, copper, silver, lead, gold, timber, wine, and other things that were scarce in the plains of Sumer.

Of course, there is no way we’ll ever know for certain that Nimrod was Enmerkar, and that he was responsible for the Uruk Expansion—which is a nice way of describing the process of conquering everybody within a two-month march of home. Artifacts from Uruk are found everywhere in the Near East, especially a type of pottery called the beveled-rim bowl. This is significant because it offers a glimpse into the way the society of Uruk was organized.

Scholars have found that the society just before the Uruk period, the Ubaid culture, became more stratified as people moved from rural settlements to cities. The Ubaid civilization produced high-quality pottery, identified by black geometric designs on buff or green-colored ceramic. In contrast, around 3500 B.C., the Uruk culture developed the world’s first mass-produced product, the beveled-rim bowl.

The beveled-rim bowl is crude compared to the pottery from the Ubaid culture, but archaeologists have found a lotof them. About three-quarters of all pottery found at Uruk period sites are beveled-rim bowls. Scholars agree that these simple, undecorated bowls were made in molds rather than on wheels, and that they were probably used to measure out barley and oil for workers’ rations.

The way they were produced left the hardened clay too porous to hold liquids like water or beer. (Yes, the Sumerians brewed beer. Enki’s alternate name, Nudimmud, is a compound word: nu = “likeness” + dim = “make” + mud = “beer.” One could argue that Enki is the spirit of our age.)  The bowls were cheap and easy to make, so much so that they may have been disposable. At some archaeological sites, large numbers of used, unbroken bowls have been found in big piles. Basically, these cheap bowls were the Sumerian version of Styrofoam fast-food containers.

The concept of measuring out rations implies an employer or controlling central authority responsible for doling out grain and oil to laborers. It’s not a coincidence that the development of these crude bowls happened alongside Uruk’s emergence as an empire. After the flood, which we theorize marked the end of the Ubaid period, people again gravitated to urban settlements where they apparently exchanged their freedom for government rations.

It looks like that’s how Nimrod and his successors, including Gilgamesh, controlled their subjects—moving them off the land and into cities, keeping a tight rein on the means of production and distribution of food and resources.

Now, it’s possible we’re reading more into the evidence than is truly there. It could be that the beveled-rim bowl was nothing more than an easy way for people to carry lunch to work. Will future archaeologists conclude that Americans were paid in carry-out hamburgers because of the billions of Styrofoam containers in our landfills?

Still, given the unprecedented growth of the Uruk empire between about 3500 B.C. and 3100 B.C., it’s not going too far to speculate that the use of mass-produced ration bowls was a symptom of the stratification of society under the rule of Nimrod/Enmerkar and his successors. As in the Ubaid culture, citizens of Uruk found themselves working for hereditary leaders—kings, who justified their rule as ordained by the gods.

As an example, the Sumerian myth Enki and Inanna tells the story of how the divine gifts of civilization, the mes (sounds like “mezz”), were stolen from Enki by the Inanna and transferred from Eridu to Uruk. Enki, always ready for a romp with a goddess, tried to ply Inanna with beer. She maintained her virtue while Enki got drunk, offering her gift after gift as his heart grew merry and his mind grew dim. When he awoke the next day with a hangover, Inanna and the mes were no longer in the abzu. The enraged god sent out his horrible gallu demons (sometimes translated “sea monsters”) to retrieve them, but Inanna escaped and arrived safely back at Uruk, where she dispensed the hundred or so mes to the cheers of a grateful city. Enki realized he’d been duped and accepted a treaty of everlasting peace with Uruk. This tale may be a bit of religious propaganda to justify the transfer of political authority to Uruk.

One more thing:  We mentioned earlier that archaeologists at Eridu have found 18 construction layers at the site of Enki’s temple. Some of those layers are below an eight-foot deposit of silt from a massive flood. The most impressive layer of construction, called Temple 1, was huge, a temple on a massive platform with evidence of an even larger foundation that would have risen up to almost the height of the temple itself.

Here’s the thing:  Temple 1 was never finished. At the peak of the builders’ architectural achievement, Eridu was suddenly and completely abandoned.

… the Uruk Period … appears to have been brought to a conclusion by no less an event than the total abandonment of the site. … In what appears to have been an almost incredibly short time, drifting sand had filled the deserted buildings of the temple-complex and obliterated all traces of the once prosperous little community.i

Why? What would possibly cause people who’d committed to building the largest ziggurat in Mesopotamia at the most ancient and important religious site in the known world to just stop work and leave Eridu with the E-abzu unfinished? Could it be…

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. (Genesis 11:8-9, ESV, emphasis added)

To the Sumerians, and later the Akkadians and Babylonians (who knew him as Ea), Enki was the supernatural actor with the most influence on human history. He was the caretaker of the divine gifts of civilization, the mes (at least until he was tricked by Inanna), and he retained enough prestige for powerful men to justify their reign by claiming kingship over his city, Eridu, for 2,500 years after the city around the temple complex was abandoned.

For one moment in human history, Enki induced a human dupe—Nimrod, the Sumerian king Enmerkar—to build what he hoped would be a new abode of the gods, the bāb ilu, to rival Yahweh’s mount of assembly. It was to be the heart of a one-world totalitarian government.

Yahweh put a stop to it. But as George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The sin of Nimrod is being repeated today by the globalist movement, which is slowly but surely leading us back to Babel.

i Safar, Fuʼād; Lloyd, Seton; Muṣṭafá, Muḥammad ʻAlī; Muʼassasah al-ʻĀmmah lil-Āthār wa-al-Turāth. Eridu. Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Information, State Organization of Antiquites and Heritage, Baghdad, 1981.

The Tower of Babel: Abode of the Gods

 

Not all the holy mountains in the history of the world are natural, formed by the shifting of tectonic plates or the sudden, catastrophic opening of “the fountains of the great deep.” The Tower of Babel was one such artificial mountain. Babel was humanity’s attempt to force its way back into the divine council.

At Babel, mankind tried to storm the castle of God.

For generations, well-meaning Bible teachers have presented the story of Babel as an object lesson on the dangers of pride. Those foolish people were so arrogant they thought they could build a tower high enough to reach heaven!

With all due respect to those teachers, that’s an insult to the intelligence of our ancestors, if you think about it. And it’s a disservice to people in church who want to know why Yahweh was so offended by this project. Really? God is that insecure?

Look, if big egos were enough to bring God to Earth, He’d never leave.

Babel was not a matter of God taking down some people who’d gotten too big for their britches. The clue to the sin of Babel is in the name.

Remember, the Hebrew prophets loved to play with language. We often find words in the Bible that sound like the original but make a statement—for example, Beelzebub (“lord of the flies”) instead of Beelzebul (“Ba`al the prince”), or Ish-bosheth (“man of a shameful thing”) instead of Ishbaal (“man of Ba`al”). Likewise, the original Akkadian words bāb ilu, which means “gate of god” or “gate of the gods,” is replaced in the Bible with Babel, which is based on the Hebrew word meaning “confusion.”

Now, there’s a bit of misinformation that must be corrected about the Tower of Babel: Babel was not in Babylon.

It’s an easy mistake to make. The names sound alike, and Babylon is easily the most famous city of the ancient world. It’s also got a bad reputation, especially to Jews and Christians. Babylon, under the megalomaniacal king Nebuchadnezzar, sacked the Temple in Jerusalem and carried off the hardware for temple service. It makes sense to assume that a building project so offensive that God personally intervened must have been built at Babylon.

But there’s a problem with linking Babylon to the Tower of Babel: Babylon didn’t exist when the tower was built. It didn’t even become a city until about a thousand years after the tower incident, and even then it was an unimportant village for about another 500 years.

Traditions and sources outside the Bible identify the builder of the tower as the shadowy figure named Nimrod. Our best guess is he lived sometime between 3500 and 3100 B.C., a period of history called the Uruk Expansion. This tracks with what little the Bible tells us about Nimrod. In Genesis 10:10, we read “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”

The land of Shinar is Sumer and Erech is Uruk. Uruk was so important to human history that Nimrod’s homeland is still called Uruk, five thousand years later! We just spell it differently—Iraq.

Accad was the capital city of the Akkadians, which still hasn’t been found, but was somewhere between Babylon and ancient Assyria. Babylon itself was northwest of Uruk, roughly three hundred miles from the Persian Gulf in what is today central Iraq. But it wasn’t founded until around 2300 B.C., at least 700 years after Nimrod, and it wasn’t Babylon as we think about it until the old Babylonian empire emerged in the early part of the 2ndmillennium B.C.

So where should we look for the Tower of Babel?

The oldest and largest ziggurat in Mesopotamia was at Eridu, the first city built in Mesopotamia. Scholars put its founding at around 5400 B.C. In recent years, scholars have learned that the name Babylon was interchangeable with other city names, including Eridu. So “Babylon” didn’t always refer to the city of Babylon in ancient texts.

Artist’s conception of how the never-completed ziggurat at Eridu might have looked

 

 

 

Eridu never dominated the political situation in Sumer after the reigns of its first two kings, Alulim and Alalgar. But as the home city of Enki, god of fresh water, wisdom, and magic, Eridu was so important to Mesopotamian culture that more than three thousand years after Alalgar, Hammurabi the Great was crowned not in Babylon, but in Eridu—even though it had ceased to be a city about three hundred years earlier.

Even as late as the time of Nebuchadnezzar, 1,100 years after Hammurabi, the kings of Babylon still sometimes called themselves LUGAL.NUNki—King of Eridu.

Why? What was the deal with Eridu?

Archaeologists have uncovered eighteen levels of the temple to Enki at Eridu. The oldest levels of the E-abzu, a small structure less than ten feet square, date to the founding of the city. And consider that the spot remained sacred to Enki long after the city was deserted around 2000 B.C. The temple remained in use until the 5th century B.C., nearly five thousand years after the first crude altar was built to accept offerings of fish to Enki, the god of the subterranean aquifer, the abzu.

Now, this is where we tell you that abzu (ab = water + zu = deep) is very likely where we get our English word “abyss.” And the name Enki is a compound word. En is Sumerian for “lord,” and ki is the word for “earth.” Thus, Enki, god of the abzu, was “lord of the earth.”

Do you remember Jesus calling someone “the ruler of this world”?  Or Paul referring to “the god of this world”?  Who were they talking about?

Yeah. Satan.

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Here’s another piece to our puzzle:  Nimrod was of 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.

Now, get this:  An epic poem from about 2000 B.C. called Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta preserves the basic details of the Tower of Babel story, including the confusion of language among the people of Sumer.

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 it’s possible Nimrod/Enmerkar was trying to intimidate the people—his cousins, basically—who settled near where his great-grandfather landed the ark. But we just don’t know.)  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.

Besides building a fabulous temple for Inanna, the goddess of, well, prostitutes, Enmerkar/Nimrod also wanted to expand and upgrade Enki’s abzu—the abyss.

“Let the people of Aratta bring down for me the mountain stones from their mountain, build the great shrine for me, erect the great abode for me, make the great abode, the abode of the gods, famous for me, make my me prosper in Kulaba, make the abzu grow for me like a holy mountain, make Eridug (Eridu) gleam for me like the mountain range, cause the abzu shrine to shine forth for me like the silver in the lode. When in the abzu I utter praise, when I bring the me from Eridug, when, in lordship, I am adorned with the crown like a purified shrine, when I place on my head the holy crown in Unug Kulaba, then may the …… of the great shrine bring me into the jipar, and may the …… of the jipar bring me into the great shrine. May the people marvel admiringly, and may Utu (the sun god) witness it in joy.”1 (Emphasis added)

 

That’s the issue Yahweh had with it right there. This tower project wasn’t about hubris or pride; it was to build the “abode of the gods” right on top of the abzu.

Could Nimrod have succeeded? Ask yourself: Why did Yahweh find it necessary to personally put a stop to it? A lot of magnificent pagan temples were built in the ancient world, many of them copying the pyramid-like shape of the ziggurats, from Mesopotamia to Mesoamerica. Why did God stop this one?

We can only speculate, of course, but God had a good reason or we wouldn’t have a record of it in the Bible. Calling Babel a sin of pride is easy, but it drains the story of its spiritual and supernatural context.

In the view of this author, the evidence is compelling. It’s time to correct the history we’ve been taught since Sunday School:  Babel was not at Babylon, it was at Eridu. The tower was the temple of the god Enki, Lord of the Earth, the god of the abyss. Its purpose was to create an artificial mount of assembly, the abode of the gods, to which humans had access.

That was something that Yahweh could not allow.

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.