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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 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.

Scholar Amar Annus has shown that the name of the old gods of the Greeks, the Titans, was derived from the name of an ancient Amorite tribe, the Tidanu. The word behind the name Tidan (sometimes transliterated into English as “Ditanu”) is the Akkadian word ditânu, which means “bison,” or “bull” (and probably refers to the aurochs, an ancient species of very large wild cattle from which modern domesticated breeds descend). This is more evidence that the story of the Titans originated in Mesopotamia and not with Indo-Europeans.
That’s not all. Because Kronos, king of the Titans, and El, creator-god of the Canaanites, were identified as one and the same by the people of the ancient world, we can make a good case that the name Kronos probably had a Semitic origin, too:
The bovid sense of the form Ditanu/Didanu is particularly intriguing in view of other tauromorph elements in the tradition. Thus, the prominent Titan Kronos was later identified with El, who is given the epithet tr, “Bull”, in Ugaritic and biblical literature. Apart from this explicit allusion, we may well ask whether the name El, (Akkadian and Ugaritic ilu) does not already itself have a bovine sense. … Does it perhaps mean “Bull”, (perhaps more generically “male animal”), so that the epithetal title tr is in effect a redundant gloss on it? …
Furthermore, the name Kronos may well carry the same nuance, since it may be construed as referring to bovine horns (Akkadian, Ugaritic qarnu, Hebrew qeren), which feature prominently in divine iconography in the Near East. (Emphasis added)
It’s interesting enough to see the additional link between Kronos and El through the bull imagery of their names, but did you notice that there are references to “Bull El” in biblical literature?
In the book of Hosea, the prophet recalled the idolatry of Jeroboam, the man who led the rebellion against Solomon’s son, Rehoboam:
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces. (Hosea 8:5–6, ESV; emphasis added)
The phrase, “For it is from Israel,” comes from the Masoretic Hebrew text, kî miyyiśrāʾēl, which literally means, “for from Israel.” That doesn’t make sense. But separating the characters differently yields kî mî šōr ʾēl, which changes verse 6 to this:
For who is Bull El?
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces. (Hosea 8:6, ESV, modified; emphasis added)
That’s a huge difference! Jeroboam set up worship sites to rival the Temple for political reasons. If the northern tribes continued to travel to Jerusalem for the feasts, they might eventually switch their loyalty back to the House of David. Apparently, Jeroboam felt that the worship of El was close enough to do the trick. After all, hadn’t Yahweh revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai? Hence, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
Since El was Kronos, king of the Titans, then he was also Shemihazah, leader of the rebellious Watchers on Mount Hermon thousands of years earlier. Like the Titans of the Greeks, the Watchers had been confined to Tartarus (see 2 Peter 2:4; the word rendered “hell” in English bibles is the Greek word tartaroo), a place that was separate and distinct from Hades. By erecting the golden calves, Jeroboam drew the northern tribes back into the worship of a god who introduced the pre-Flood world to the occult knowledge that Babylon was so proud of preserving.
This crossed a big red line, and God made it clear that it was completely unacceptable. He directed the prophet Ahijah to give this message to Jeroboam:
You have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back, therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. (1 Kings 14:9–10, ESV)
By reading “Bull El” in Hosea 8:6, instead of “Israel,” the verse becomes a polemic directed not just at the idols of Jeroboam, but against the creator-god of the Canaanites as well. Frankly, it fits the context of the passage better than the common English rendering. And this isn’t the only place in the Bible where that substitution may come closer to the Hebrew original.
The epithet has also been identified recently in a perceptive study of Deuteronomy 32:8 by Joosten, in which he proposed a similar consonantal regrouping in the expression bny yśrʾl (bĕnê yiśrāʾēl) to read (bĕnê šōr ʾēl). Since LXX (ἀγγέλων θεοῶ, some mss υἱων θεοῶ), and one Qumran text, 4QDeutj (lmspr bny ʾlhym), already read a divine reference here, rather than the “Israel” of MT, this proposal has much to commend it:
yaṣṣēb gĕbulōt ʿammîm he set up the boundaries of the nations
lĕmisparbĕnê šōr ʾēl in accordance with the number of the sons of Bull El. (Emphasis added)
As noted earlier, most English translations render Deuteronomy 32:8 “number of the sons of Israel.” A few, such as the ESV, follow the Septuagint (“angels of God” or “divine sons”) and the text of Deuteronomy found among the Dead Sea scrolls (“sons of Elohim”). What scholars Simon and Nicolas Wyatt propose is reading the Hebrew as “sons of Bull El” instead at the end of the verse. And to be honest, it fits.
That may sound like we’re playing fast and loose with the text. But note: In the Genesis 10 Table of Nations, there are seventy names, and in Canaanite religious texts, El had seventy sons.
Coincidence? No, it is not. I’ll explain next month.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No.  Not necessarily.

The questions we need to ask are these:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, given that nobody in the first century thought to write down the actual date of Jesus’ birth, how did the early church arrive at December 25?  It’s a little complex, but it illustrates the motives of the church fathers—which, you might have guessed, was not to sneak pagan worship into the faith.

It seems that second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa wanted to determine the exact date of the Lord’s death.  For reasons that escape us, they settled on March 25, 29 A.D.  (The reasons escape us because March 25 was not a Friday that year, nor was it Passover Eve, nor did Passover Eve fall on a Friday in 29 A.D., or even in the month of March, for that matter.  Still, there we are.)

Now, there was a widespread belief in Judaism back then in the “integral age” of great Jewish prophets.  It was thought that the prophets of Israel died on the same day they were conceived.

It’s not biblical, but that’s not the point.  The early church believed it and that’s what led to their conclusion:  When you add nine months to March 25, you arrive at… December 25.

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

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

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

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

The apostle Paul put it best:

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

Romans 14:5-6 (ESV)

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

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

_______

Derek Gilbert
www.derekpgilbert.com

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

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

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Weekly Bible study: The Gilbert House Fellowship

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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.