God Is an Astronaut

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It is easy, with a bit of scholarly research, to prove that Yahweh, the God of the Jews and Christians, started out as a thunder god worshipped by polytheistic ancient Semites. It’s also easy to show that Biblical descriptions of Yahweh almost always resemble an inhabited flying machine more than a living being.

Yahweh is described in the Bible as lightning, fire, noise, danger, a destroying warrior. The idea of Yahweh sending down a bolt of lightning to destroy those who offend him — the premise of many modern-day jokes — is well-supported in the biblical record as a reported actual event. For instance, in the famous Song of David, King David gives thanks to Yahweh for having helped him win a battle:

Psalms 18:13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

It doesn’t take much research to document that Yahweh was a member of a Divine Council, sharing dominion over the Earth with 69 other “Sons of El,” and that Yahweh was assigned the Hebrews as his people, and was extremely angry when his people worshipped other gods (other members of the Divine Council). It’s also easy to show that the other gods — if they survived at all in the minds of the populace — were eventually demoted to divine beings such as angels, since there could be only one god.

Obadiah 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.

Yahweh’s determination to triumph over other gods is a major theme of the Old Testament — as is his determination to locate his people in a “land flowing with milk and honey” that was already, inconveniently, home to other tribes.

These are just a few of the basic facts that point to a truth more and more of us find obvious: God Is an Astronaut. It’s time for us to assess the “gods” from today’s perspective, and realize that, although our ancestors couldn’t understand, we now know that people in flying machines, who can do amazing things, are not gods. As writer/scientist Arthur C. Clarke says, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

In my free online book, God Is an Astronaut: Biblical Descriptions of God, Angels, and Divine Chariots, I get right to the heart of the issue. I provide the relevant Biblical texts, the relevant information you need to know about those texts, and documentation with endnotes to show how rock-solid the information is. Not only does the book make a convincing case that yes, of course, God is an astronaut; it also provides much evidence that angels, demons, divine councils, and divine chariots were various manifestations of the ancient astronaut experience.

Descriptions of the gods are often at least partly descriptions of the vehicles in which the gods travel — leading to some odd-looking gods, and perhaps leading to the invention of gods with multiple aspects, called avatars. Gods magically transform from fiery serpent to human form as they step out of or slide off of their fiery serpent, or thunderbird, or silver eagle, or flying elephant.

Divine chariots are described quite a bit in the Bible, and are also extensively described in religions around the world. For instance, ancient Hindu texts are crammed full of descriptions of various types of flying chariots — vimanas — and information on how to make them, fuel them, and control them. The thunderbirds of the Native Americans are similar to the flying things called “gods” by very many ancient cultures — and similar to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds of today. Yahweh, along with other thunder gods, was known for making noisy fiery spectacles in the sky. In fact, as many people have noted, Yahweh behaved a whole lot like a flying vehicle.

Click to read God Is an Astronaut: Biblical Descriptions of God, Angels, and Divine Chariots.

Photos of Ancient Oddities

The Magonia Database Tracks 100 Years of UFOs UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds 1868 to 1968

passport-to-magoniaIt’s hard to get too excited about modern-day UFOs, since most of them are just advanced military vehicles. But I’m intrigued when I read about UFO encounters that took place a hundred years ago or more, such as this one:

Apr. 15, 1897 Perry Springs (Missouri). A passenger train on the Wabash line, going toward Quincy, was followed by a low-flying object for 15 min between Perry Springs and Hersman. All the passengers saw the craft, which had a red and white light. After Hersman it flew ahead of the train and disappeared rapidly, although the train was then running at 65 km/h.

This story appears in the Magonia Database, which tracks 100 years of UFO encounters, from 1868 to 1968. The database was assembled by Jacques Vallée, upon whom the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based. It originally appeared in his recently reissued classic book, Passport to Magonia, whose main idea has been summarized thus:

…[UFO] beliefs identical to those held today have recurred throughout recorded history and under forms best adapted to the believer’s country, race, and social regime. If we take a wide sample of this historical material, we find that it is organized around one central theme: visitation by an aerial people from one or more remote, legendary countries. The names and attributes vary, but the main idea clearly does not. Magonia, heaven, hell, Elfland – all such places have in common one characteristic: we are unable to reach them alive, except on very special occasions.

In Passport to Magonia, Vallée investigates hundreds of intriguing incidents going back to ancient times, for instance:

[O]n September 12, 1271, the famous priest Nichircn was about to be beheaded at Tatsunokuchi, Kamakura, when there appeared in the sky an object like a full moon, shiny and bright. Needless to say, the officials panicked and the execution was not carried out.

On August 3, 989, during a period of great social unrest, three round objects of unusual brilliance were observed; later they joined together. In 1361, a flying object described as being “shaped like a drum, about twenty feet in diameter” emerged from the inland sea off western Japan.

…Pierre Boaistuau, in 1575, remarked: “The face of heaven has been so often disfigured by bearded, hairy comets, torches, flames, columns, spears, shields, dragons, duplicate moons, suns, and other similar things, that if one wanted to tell in an orderly fashion those that have happened since the birth of Jesus Christ only, and inquire about the causes of their origin, the lifetime of a single man would not be enough.”

Vallée takes a brave and brilliant look at stories of elves and fairies as they relate to UFOs:

However strong the current belief in saucers from space, it cannot be stronger than the Celtic faith in the elves and the fairies, or the medieval belief in tutins, or the fear throughout the Christian lands, in the first centuries of our era, of demons and satyrs and fauns. Certainly, it cannot be stronger than the faith that inspired the writers of the Bible—a faith rooted in daily experiences with angelic visitation.

An edition of Passport to Magonia, subtitled Of UFOs, Folklore and Parallel Worlds, is available free online as a pdf but without its Table of Contents or Introduction. You can buy the new edition here.

What Would God Drive? Yahweh's Divine Chariots

font size="1">sourcehariot of Fire, woodcut for 'Die Bibel in Bildern', 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

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Chariot of Fire, woodcut for ‘Die Bibel in Bildern’, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

Divine chariots are described quite a bit in the Bible. They are often hard to distinguish from descriptions of Yahweh himself, who was known for making big noisy fiery spectacles in the sky. In fact, as many people have noted, Yahweh behaved a whole lot like a jet airplane.

Below are some descriptions of divine chariots in the Bible (you may also be interested in my post about vehicles of other deities).

Isaiah 66:5 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

Psalms 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

Jeremiah 4:13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

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'Viktor Vasnetsov. The Flying Carpet (1880). Oil, canvas. 165x297 сm. a depiction of the hero of Russian folklore, Ivan Tsarevich, on exhibit at the Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum.'

In an experience reminiscent of flying carpets, Zechariah reports:

Zechariah 5:1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.
2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

A cubit is about the size of a typical forearm, about 20 inches.

In the book of Acts, Peter gets take-out delivered by Yahweh:

Acts 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

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Mystic Wheel (Ezekiel's Vision) by Fra Angelico, circa 1451.

And then there’s Ezekiel’s wheel, the Biblical prophet’s famous encounter with the physical “word of God” and his very detailed (if odd) description of it, which so many people have interpreted as describing a spaceship.

Ezekiel 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity,
3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

We can’t blame Ezekiel for being confused; it sounds as if he just had no frame of reference for what he was seeing. Even modern-day people having encounters with “UFOs” have trouble understanding and describing what they have seen, and try to make sense of it by comparing it to things they do understand—in Ezekiel’s case, “living creatures” and wheels. For info on various interpretations of Ezekiel’s vision, see the section on the Book of Ezekiel on Wikipedia’s Ancient Astronauts page.

sourceEzekiel's Wheel. Woodcut for 'Die Bibel in Bildern', 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

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Ezekiel’s Wheel. Woodcut for ‘Die Bibel in Bildern’, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

sourceEzekiel's Wheel in St. John the Baptist Church in Kratovo, Macedonia.

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Ezekiel's Wheel in St. John the Baptist Church in Kratovo, Macedonia.

source'Engraved illustration of the 'chariot vision' of the Biblical book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, after an earlier illustration by Matthaeus (Matthäus) Merian (1593-1650), for his 'Icones Biblicae' (a.k.a. 'Iconum Biblicarum').'

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'Engraved illustration of the 'chariot vision' of the Biblical book of Ezekiel, chapter 1, after an earlier illustration by Matthaeus (Matthäus) Merian (1593-1650), for his 'Icones Biblicae' (a.k.a. 'Iconum Biblicarum').'

sourceThe Vision of Ezekiel, oil on wood by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518.

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The Vision of Ezekiel, oil on wood by Raffaello Sanzio, 1518.

Zechariah sees two chariots come out from between two mountains of brass.

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Zechariah sees two chariots come out from between two mountains of brass.

Zechariah 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.
7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.

legend of st. francissource

Legend of St Francis, Vision of the Flaming Chariot, by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE.

In another painting by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE, St. Francis is receiving stigmata from a divine creature and/or chariot. It's often hard to tell the gods from their vehicles.source

In another painting by Giotto di Bondone, circa 1300 CE, St. Francis is receiving stigmata from a divine creature and/or chariot. It's often hard to tell the gods from their vehicles.

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'God in Majesty' from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.

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According to Babelfish's translation from the Russian caption, 'Paternity of icon (Yaroslavl, 17 c.) of.jpeg FATHERLAND Yaroslavl'. Third quarter OF XVII v. Tree, levkas, the tempera.'

A sun god drives his divine chariot across the sky.

A sun god drives his divine chariot across the sky.

This painting is reportedly at the altar of the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, circa 1350.

This painting is reportedly at the altar of the Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, Yugoslavia, circa 1350.

A detail from the above painting.

A detail from the above painting.

A second vehicle from the above painting.

A second vehicle from the above painting.

sourceElijah and the Chariot of Fire, painting by Antonio Cifrondi.

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Elijah and the Chariot of Fire, painting by Antonio Cifrondi.

Notes: Clues the Ark of the Covenant Is a Transmitter

A representation of how the ark is thought to look.

If you don’t think the Ark of the Covenant was a transmitter for communicating with space ships (“God”), you just haven’t read the details yet.

The Ark of the Covenant is a container, whose location is currently unknown, said to house the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Von Daniken and Brasington suggest that the “ark of the covenant, as well as being a repository for the Ten Commandments and the law, also housed a transmitter that could communicate with the cloud-ships.” The more I read about it, the more I think they’re right. But, as we will see, whatever the Ark of the Covenant was, the instructions for creating and using it were extraordinarily bizarre, detailed, and intricate.

Yahweh dictated to Moses the kinds of offerings the people were required to make to Yahweh (most of which luckily they had taken from the Egyptians, on Yahweh’s orders, when fleeing Pharaoh), and Yahweh said they must use those offerings to make him a sanctuary so that he “may dwell among them”:

Exodus 25:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
6 oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Yahweh dictated instructions for building an ark (chest) of shittim wood (probably Acacia seyal) overlaid with pure gold, about [45 inches long by 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high], in which the covenant, or testimony, he had dictated to Moses, and which the Israelites had agreed to follow, would be placed.

Exodus 25:10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.

16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

Yahweh said to Moses, “There [at the ark] I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim….”

Exodus 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

Yahweh also gave specific instructions for the construction and placement of a gold-plated table where a dozen loaves of showbread were to be left for him at all times in a prescribed pattern. According to the Mishnah, the oldest collection of Jewish law, the table could be disassembled into small portions, so that any piece that was no longer pure could be cleaned in a Mikvah, a ritual bath. Yahweh also commanded that implements for the table such as dishes and spoons and covers were to be produced, of pure gold, including ke’arots, which were probably the golden forms used in making the showbread, and tesawot, which may have been intended to cover the loaves.

Exodus 25:29 And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
30 And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me always.

According to Chronicles 9:32, the Kohathite clan were “over the showbread, to prepare it every sabbath”; some scholars believe the Kohathites were the keepers of a secret recipe, more complex and esoteric than the “fine flour” mentioned in Leviticus.

Leviticus 24:5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.

These were not small loaves, ten etzba (finger-breadths) long and five etzba wide, with rims or horns that were seven etzba long. The Mishnah says that the loaves were made using three molds (golden, according to the scholar Maimonides); one mold was used for the dough, one to bake the bread in, and one to make the bread keep its shape after baking. Leviticus gives further showbread instructions.

Leviticus 24:6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord.
7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.

According to the Mishnah, the bread was to be placed in equal piles, not rows, and there were 28 hollow golden tubes, 14 for each pile, and the tubes were either half-round with an open top, or open at only one end. They were arranged upon two fork-shaped gold supports that were set into each end of the table or perhaps set into the floor at each end of the table, with the golden tubes arranged in between such that, it was believed, air was conducted among the loaves. Here’s how the Gemara, the rabbinical commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah, envisioned it:

The four fork-like supports were let into the floor, two at each end of the table. They extended above the table, and between them, above the table, fourteen tubes, closed at one end, were fastened, forming a grate-like receptacle for the loaves. The lowest cake of each heap rested on the table; each of the next four rested on three tubes; the two upper cakes on two tubes. [(comp. Josephus, “B. J.” v. 5, § 5; “Ant.” iii. 6, § 6).]

The showbread was to be replaced every Sabbath, at which time, according to the Mishnah, two priests stood at one side of the table, and four more priests, holding the new showbread, stood across the table from them. As the two priests removed the old bread, the four priests put the new bread into place, so that there would always be showbread in position.

At the same time, two more priests would replace the pots of frankincense that, according to the historian Josephus, were made of gold and placed one atop each of the two piles of showbread. Some sources say the frankincense was mixed with salt, and some sources say the pots were placed not atop the piles but in between them.
After the showbread was replaced, the High Priest would eat five (!) of the week-old cakes, and the priests who had been on duty that week would split the other seven.

Leviticus 24:9 And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute.

New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates the above verse as, “It shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the Lord’s offerings by fire, his portion forever.”

Yahweh also gave detailed instructions for making a menorah, which is a candlestick to be made out of pure beaten gold, holding seven lamps, and also instructions for attendant vessels such as tongs and snuffdishes:

Exodus 25:37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.

So Yahweh and Moses had gone over the blueprints in person previously, when Moses visited “the mount.” [The table for the showbread was to be positioned opposite the Menorah, with the Altar of Incense between them.]

A tabernacle (a lightweight portable dwelling) was to be built to hold the Ark of the Covenant. The instructions are long but interesting; I’m including just a bit of it here so you can see how precise Yahweh was about how he wanted the tabernacle constructed and also how he wanted the furniture arranged:

Exodus 26:1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.
2 The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.
3 The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.
4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.

12 And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the back side of the tabernacle.
13 And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and on that side, to cover it.

17 Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.
18 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward.
19 And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.
20 And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards,
21 and their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
22 And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards.
23 And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.
24 And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.
25 And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
26 And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,
27 and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.
28 And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.
29 And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold.
30 And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.
31 And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim shall it be made.
32 And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.
33 And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
35 And thou shalt set the table without the veil, and the candlestick over against the table on the side oLOf the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.

Yahweh also gives Moses instructions for building and arranging an altar for burnt offerings, which reads in part:

Exodus 27:1 And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.
2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.
3 And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.
4 And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof.
5 And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.
6 And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.
7 And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.
8 Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.

The New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates verse 5 as, “You shall put it beneath, under the ledge of the altar, so that the net will reach halfway up the altar.”

Yahweh also gives Moses instructions for building a “court of the tabernacle,” made of fine linen hangings 100 cubits long [150 feet]. He says olive oil is to be provided to keep the lamp [candlestick?] always burning.

Exodus 27:2 You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. —New American Standard Bible (©1995)

Exodus Chapter 28 describes in extensive detail the garments that were to be made for Moses and Aaron and the other high priests when they went about their holy duties. [Not only…. The Garments for the Priests, Ex. 39.1-31]

Exodus 28:1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abi’hu, Ele-a’zar and Ith’amar, Aaron’s sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches [settings for precious stones] of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14 and two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathed work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathed chains to the ouches.
15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathed work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathed chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathed chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.
30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; Num. 27.21 · Ezra 2.63 · Neh. 7.65 and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.
31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And there shall be a hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE Lord.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.
39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.
40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 and they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Exodus Chapter 29 deals with the consecration of Aaron and his sons so as to be holy enough to serve in the “priest’s office.” It goes into great detail about animal sacrifices on the altar and how to dispense with various parts of the animals, fat and skin, flesh and dung. It talks a lot about blood as being part of the sanctification process, for instance:

Exodus 29:19 And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
20 Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

Exodus Chapter 30 begins with instructions for building an incense altar in front of the ark’s veil:

Exodus 30:8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even [burn forever?], he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements; once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

Yahweh goes on to require a half-shekel tax from “every man [20 years old or older] [as] a ransom for his soul.” He gives instructions for building a laver, a brass basin in which to wash:

Exodus 30:17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, Ex. 38.8 to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20 when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:
21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

He then gives recipes and use instructions for an anointing oil and incense:

Exodus 30:22 Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive a hin:
25 and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27 and the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28 and the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
35 and thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
36 and thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.
38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people. [Ex. 37.29]

Yahweh charged a couple of men to “devise cunning [and curious] works”.

Exodus 31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bez’aleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aho’li-ab, the son of Ahis’amach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
7 the tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,
8 and the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,
9 and the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,
10 and the clothes of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office,
11 and the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.
12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

NOTES AND EXCERPTS:

From The Alpha and the Omega – Chapter Four, by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved:
The Clouds and Darkness

At Sinai Moses was given a divine revelation concerning the nature, construction, and furnishings of the tabernacle (Exod. 25:40). The work was carried out by Bezaleel, Oholiab, and their workmen (Exodus 36:1-38); and when the task was accomplished, the tent was covered by a cloud and was filled with the divine glory (40:34).

The description in Exodus 26-27 and 35-38 present the structure as a portable shrine. The tabernacle (Heb. ‘ohel, mo’edh, tent of meeting, Canaanite mishkan, dwelling, Gr. skene, tent) stood in an outer court enclosure or court, described in Exodus 27:9-18 and 38:9-20. The designation ‘ohel mo’edh (Exodus 33:7 et al.) represents the name of the tabernacle here, as a place of revelation, where the people met with God. The word mo’edh has been discovered in an Egyptian document dated c. 1100 B.C. referring to an assembly of the citizens of Byblus. Later in Isaiah 14:13 it refers to the assembly of the gods in pagan Canaanite writings. This tabernacle combine political and social functions with the religious revelations given by God to his covenant assembly. The doctrine of the shekinah glory, which developed in the Intertestamental period was also related to the words shakhan (KJV “dwell” Exodus 25:8; 29:45) and mishkan, denoting a local manifestation of divine glory.

The ancient Hebrew cubit measured eighteen inches, thus the enclosure were one hundred fifty feet in length and seventy-five feet in width. The sides were covered with curtains made from finely woven linen about seven feet long which were fastened at the top by hooks and at the bottom by silver clasps to sixty supporting pillars of bronze, place at intervals of seven feet. On the east end was an opening about twenty feet wide screened by thirty foot wide curtains embroidered in red, purple and blue. The pillars had capitals (KJV “chapiters”) overlaid in silver and were set in bases (KJV “sockets”) of bronze, held in position by bronze pins (27:19; 38:20).

In the center of the open court was the great altar of burnt offering made from acacia wood overlaid with bronze (Exodus 27:1-8), which was eight feet square by five feet in height, with its four corners projecting probably “horns.”

To the west end of the enclosure, parallel to the long walls, stood the tabernacle itself. It was a rectangular structure about forty-five feet by fifteen feet, which was divided into two parts, a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place. It consisted of forty-eight “boards” (Heb. qerashim, board Exo. 26:15 KJV, NASB; frame JB, MLB, NIV, RSV; plank NE; is found on a Canaanite tablet describing the “throne room”, a trellis pavilion of the deity El) some fifteen feet in height (10 cubits) and over two feet wide (1_ cubit), overlaid with gold and made of shittim wood. All this was held together (26:17-30) by horizontal bars, sockets, and tenons.

The completed tabernacle was divided into two compartments by a curtain (vail) on which cherubim were embroidered in red (scarlet), purple and blue, and was suspended on four acacia (shittim) supports (26:31-34).

In (26:33-5) the outermost area was known as the Holy Place (thirty feet by fifteen feet) and the innermost part, the Holy of Holiesor the Most Holy Place was fifteen feet square. Also mentioned is the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony the location of the candlestick (menorah).

The entrance to the tabernacle was screened by embroidered curtains supported by five acacia pillars overlaid with gold (26:35-37).

The wooden framework of the tabernacle was adorned by ten linen curtains (Exodus 26:1-7) that were embroidered and decorated with figures of cherubim. It measured forty feet long (28 cubits) and six feet wide (4 cubits), and joined in groups of five to make two large curtains. All were fastened together by means of fifty loops and golden clasps (KJV “taches”) to form one long curtain sixty feet long and forty-two feet wide. This was draped over the tabernacle so that the embroidery was visible from the inside through the apertures of the trellis work, and then covered with three protective coverings: (26:7-13)

* 1st goat’s hair (11 curtains 30 by 4 cubits, 1 folded over); (26:14)
* 2nd red-dyed rams’ hides,
* and the 3rd is speculated on the term tahash leather (KJV “badger’s skins,” NIV “hides of sea cows”) which is connected etymologically with the early Egyptian word tj-h-s, used as a process of treating leather.

The contemporary Phoenician shrines had a flat roof, thus possibly the tabernacle did also.

Verbatim articles describing materials of which the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle were made:

From Uses of Gold by Rajib Singha, published 3/3/2010:

…Perhaps, gold is one element which is the most useful mineral on Earth…. From the very beginning of recorded history, gold has been in myriad of uses for mankind. Its occurrence is in the form of grains in rocks, veins and alluvial deposits. Out of all metals which are known, gold posses a high degree of ductility [ability to be drawn into a fine wire] and malleability and it is dense, soft and shiny. Apart from these, properties which make gold find numerous applications in industries, are its resistance to corrosion, electrical conductivity, infrared reflectivity and thermal conductivity.

…ductility. This is evident from the gold foil which is placed in Toi museum, Japan. This foil is about 0.5 square meter and it was formed by hammering a gold nugget of about 5 mm in diameter.

Coming to the industrial uses of gold… Solid state electronic devices work on very low voltages and currents. However, the contact points are prone to corrosion and being tarnished, which interrupt the proper functioning of the devices. This is overcome by the use of gold, which not only conducts the electricity, but also keeps the contacts free of corrosion. This is the reason why electronic devices which have gold in their built, are more reliable than those who don’t. Uses of gold in electronics are in contacts, switches, relays, soldered joints, connecting wires and connection strips. Television sets, cell phones, calculators, personal digital assistants, global positioning system units and other small electronic devices are products which have gold as one of their building components.

The desktop computers or laptop computers which you see and use everyday, also use gold as an efficient and reliable conductor. Unlike other metals, gold is more efficient in transmitting rapid and accurate digital information from one component to the other in such devices. The edge connectors and plug-and-socket connectors contain gold which is alloyed with other metals.

Nanotechnology is one of the major achievements in the scientific field and even this makes uses of gold, which is more reliable than other elements. Apart from this, future technologies like those which are aimed at water purification, mercury control and control of diesel emission have the prospect of using gold in their projects, due to its unique chemical and metallurgical properties.

Coming to uses of gold in medical science, most of us are aware of dental filling which also makes use of this metal. You may think of getting an iron filling, but few days later, this idea would seem to have been a good one. Dental filling using gold, is although, a pricey affair, but the metal’s superior performance and aesthetic look and appeal are worth the investment. Gold is an inert metal, i.e., it does not react with any other substance. Apart from this, it is non-allergenic and provides ease to dentists to work with it. Keeping all these things in mind, the metal is used in fillings, crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances. However, pure gold is far from being used, as it is too soft to withstand any wear and tear. That’s why it is alloyed with other metals. Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lagophthalmos (abnormal condition in which an eye cannot close completely), liver and ear diseases, anergia, etc. also have the implementation of gold.

Gold being a dependable connector and conductor, finds numerous application in almost all space vehicles which are manufactured by NASA. … gold has the property of being a perfect reflector of Infrared (heat) radiation. In space programs, gold sheets are employed as radiation shield, as they can deflect the burning heat of the sun. The famous US Columbia space shuttle was manufactured using gold in its brazing alloys, fuel cell fabrication, coated plastic films and electrical contacts. How much of gold was used? More than 40.7 kg.

Other uses of gold are in the form of catalysts and in many engineering applications. In places like North America, gold-coated glasses are used for several climate controlled buildings and cases. As these glasses are coated with gold, they reflect solar radiation outward, thus, bringing down the cooling and heating costs by a large extent. Thin sheets known as gold leaf, are used on the external and internal surfaces of buildings. Not to mention the uses of gold in awards and as a symbol of high status. Even in food and drinks and in cosmetics and beauty applications, gold finds its usefulness and efficiency…

From Wikipedia:

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.[1] In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin.[2] Bronze does not necessarily contain tin, and a variety of alloys of copper, including alloys with arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon, are commonly termed “bronze”. The term is applied to a variety of brasses and the distinction is largely historical.[3] Brass is a substitutional alloy. It is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition, and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in musical instruments such as horns and bells for its acoustic properties. It is also used in zippers. Because it is softer than most other metals in general use, brass is often used in situations where it is important that sparks not be struck, as in fittings and tools around explosive gases.[4]

Brass has a muted yellow color, which is somewhat similar to gold. It is relatively resistant to tarnishing, and is often used as decoration and for coins. In antiquity, polished brass was often used as a mirror.

Although forms of brass have been in use since prehistory,[5] its true nature as a copper-zinc alloy was not understood until the post medieval period because the zinc vapour which reacted with copper to make brass was not recognised as a metal.[6] The King James Bible makes many references to “brass”.[7] The Shakespearean English form of the word ‘brass’ can mean any bronze alloy, or copper, rather than the strict modern definition of brass.[citation needed] The earliest brasses may have been natural alloys made by smelting zinc-rich copper ores.[8] By the Roman period brass was being deliberately produced from metallic copper and zinc minerals using the cementation process and variations on this method continued until the mid 19th century.[9] It was eventually replaced by speltering, the direct alloying of copper and zinc metal which was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.[8]

From Wikipedia:

Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx available contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown…. Onyx is also mentioned in the Bible at various points, such as in Genesis CH. 2 ver.12 and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. and such as the priests’ garments and the foundation of the city of Heaven in Revelation. [6]

From Wikipedia:

Onyx Agate where the bands are straight, parallel and consistent in size…. The word “quartz” comes from the German Quarz (help·info),[14] which is of Slavic origin (Czech miners called it k_emen). Other sources attribute the word’s origin to the Saxon word Querkluftertz, meaning cross-vein ore.[15]

Quartz is the most common material identified as the mystical substance maban in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is found regularly in passage tomb cemeteries in Europe in a burial context, such as Newgrange or Carrowmore in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish word for quartz is grian cloch, which means ‘stone of the sun’. Quartz was also used in Prehistoric Ireland, as well as many other countries, for stone tools; both vein quartz and rock crystal were knapped as part of the lithic technology of the prehistoric peoples.[16]

While jade has been since earliest times the most prized semi-precious stone for carving in East Asia and Pre-Columbian America, in Europe and the Middle East the different varieties of quartz were the most commonly used for the various types of jewelry and hardstone carving, including engraved gems and cameo gems, rock crystal vases, and extravagant vessels. The tradition continued to produce objects that were very highly valued until the mid-19th century, when it largely fell from fashion except in jewelry. Cameo technique exploits the bands of color in onyx and other varieties.

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed quartz to be water ice, permanently frozen after great lengths of time. (The word “crystal” comes from the Greek word __________, “ice”.) He supported this idea by saying that quartz is found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains, and that large quartz crystals were fashioned into spheres to cool the hands. He also knew of the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum. This idea persisted until at least the 17th century.
In the 17th century, Nicolas Steno’s study of quartz paved the way for modern crystallography. He discovered that no matter how distorted a quartz crystal, the long prism faces always made a perfect 60° angle.

Charles B. Sawyer invented the commercial quartz crystal manufacturing process in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. This initiated the transition from mined and cut quartz for electrical appliances to manufactured quartz.
Quartz’s piezoelectric properties were discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880. The quartz oscillator or resonator was first developed by Walter Guyton Cady in 1921.[17] George Washington Pierce designed and patented quartz crystal oscillators in 1923.[18] Warren Marrison created the first quartz oscillator clock based on the work of Cady and Pierce in 1927.[19]

Piezoelectricity
Quartz crystals have piezoelectric properties; they develop an electric potential upon the application of mechanical stress. An early use of this property of quartz crystals was in phonograph pickups. One of the most common piezoelectric uses of quartz today is as a crystal oscillator. The quartz clock is a familiar device using the mineral. The resonant frequency of a quartz crystal oscillator is changed by mechanically loading it, and this principle is used for very accurate measurements of very small mass changes in the quartz crystal microbalance and in thin-film thickness monitors.

From Wikipedia:

Properties [of linen]: Highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch. Linen is among the strongest of the vegetable fibers, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. However, constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily.

Linen fabrics have a high natural luster; their natural color ranges between shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or grey. Pure white linen is created by heavy bleaching. Linen typically has a thick and thin character with a crisp and textured feel to it, but it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth. When properly prepared, linen fabric has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.

When freed from impurities, linen is highly absorbent and will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is a stiff fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin; when it billows away, it tends to dry out and become cool so that the skin is being continually touched by a cool surface. It is a very durable, strong fabric, and one of the few that are stronger wet than dry. The fibers do not stretch and are resistant to damage from abrasion. However, because linen fibers have a very low elasticity, the fabric will eventually break if it is folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly.

Mildew, perspiration, and bleach can also damage the fabric, but it is resistant to moths and carpet beetles. Linen is relatively easy to take care of, since it resists dirt and stains, has no lint or pilling tendency, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can withstand high temperatures, and has only moderate initial shrinkage.[5]

…The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgia dated to 36,000 BP suggests people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.[1][2] The use of linen for priestly vestments was not confined to the Israelites. Plutarch wrote that the priests of Isis also wore linen because of its purity.

…Religion
In the Jewish religion, the only law concerning which fabrics may be interwoven together in clothing is one which concerns the mixture of linen and wool. This mixture is called shaatnez and is clearly restricted in Deuteronomy 22:11 “Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together” and Leviticus 19:19, “’…neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together.’” There is no explanation for this in the Torah itself and is categorized as a type of law known as chukim, a statute beyond man’s ability to comprehend.[9] Josephus suggested that the reason for the prohibition was to keep the laity from wearing the official garb of the priests.[10] while Maimonides thought that the reason was because heathen priests wore such mixed garments.[11] Others explain that it is because God often forbids mixtures of disparate kinds, not designed by God to be compatible in a certain way, with mixing animal and vegetable fibers being similar to having two different types of plowing animals yoked together. And that such commands serve both a practical as well as allegorical purpose, perhaps here preventing a priestly garment that would cause discomfort (or excessive sweat) in a hot climate.[12]

Blood:

atonement: reparation for a wrong or injury : she wanted to make atonement for her husband’s behavior.
• Religion reparation or expiation for sin : the High Priest offered the sacrifice as atonement for all the sins of Israel.
• ( the Atonement) Christian Theology the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.
ORIGIN early 16th cent. (denoting unity or reconciliation, esp. between God and man): from at one + -ment , influenced by medieval Latin adunamentum ‘unity,’ and earlier onement from an obsolete verb one [to unite.]

genesis 9:5 Young’s Literal Translation
‘And only your blood for your lives do I require; from the hand of every living thing I require it, and from the hand of man, from the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man;’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood#Cultural_and_religious_beliefs

Indigenous Australians
In many indigenous Australian Aboriginal peoples’ traditions, ochre (particularly red) and blood, both high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor states:

In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers. In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant’s arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies. Red ochre is used in similar ways in less-secret ceremonies. Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people’s bodies. Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.[28]

Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the invisible energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then connects these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, because iron is magnetic.

The Ancient Greeks believed that the blood of the gods, ichor, was a mineral that was poisonous to mortals.

Judaism
In Judaism, blood cannot be consumed even in the smallest quantity (Leviticus 3:17 and elsewhere); this is reflected in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut). Blood is purged from meat by salting and soaking in water.

Another ritual involving blood involves the covering of the blood of fowl and game after slaughtering (Leviticus 17:13); the reason given by the Torah is: “Because the life of the animal is [in] its blood” (ibid 17:14).

Also if a person of the orthodox Jewish faith suffers a violent death, religious laws order the collection of their blood for burial with them.

Islam
Consumption of food containing blood is forbidden by Islamic dietary laws. This is derived from the statement in the Qur’an, sura Al-Ma’ida (5:3): “Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah.

Blood is considered as unclean and in Islam cleanliness is part of the faith, hence there are specific methods to obtain physical and ritual status of cleanliness once bleeding has occurred. Specific rules and prohibitions apply to menstruation, postnatal bleeding and irregular vaginal bleeding.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
Main article: Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood
Based on their interpretation of scriptures such as Acts 15:28, 29 (“Keep abstaining…from blood.”), Jehovah’s Witnesses neither consume blood nor accept transfusions of whole blood or its major components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets (thrombocytes), and plasma. Members may personally decide whether they will accept medical procedures that involve their own blood or substances that are further fractionated from the four major components.[29]

From Wikipedia: Maban
This article’s factual accuracy is disputed. Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page. (August 2009)

Quartz crystal
Maban or Mabain is a material that is held to be magical in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is the material from which the Clever Women and Clever Men [1] and Elders [2] of Indigenous Australia supposedly derive their magical powers. Maban is variously identified by different Australian Aboriginal tribes with quartz crystals, australites, mother of pearl, blood, ochre, feathers, Desert Rose, seeds, etc. The potent polyvalent term maban also shares meanings with the term ‘shaman’ and may be employed to denote Clever Women and Clever Men directly.

During the ceremony in which a karadji initiates an apprentice, maban is used and spiritually “inserted” into the body of the apprentice. Lawlor (1991: p. 374) states that:

A. P. Elkin compiled descriptions of Aboriginal initiations from diverse clans and distant tribes and found, beneath the innumerable variations, underlying universal themes. The most common was the implanting of a resonant substance in the body.

Lawlor (1991: p. 374)[unreliable source?] affirms that the insertion of quartz crystals or mabain into the body of the postulant is a consistent initiatory theme.

Aerodynamically shaped Australite

Lawlor (1991: p. 374-375) states that: Throughout Australia one of the most consistent themes in Aboriginal initiation is the insertion into the body of quartz crystals, or mabain. This procedure symbolizes the transformation of consciousness from physical to psychic levels. The Aborigines seek quartz crystals with internal fractures that produce vivid rainbow light refractions. These fractures signal that the stone resonates powerfully with the primordial energies of the Rainbow Serpent.

Blood and ochre
In many indigenous Australian peoples’ traditions ochre, feathers and blood, all high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied or adorned to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor (1991: p. 102-103) states:

In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers. In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant’s arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies. Red ochre is used in similar ways in less secret ceremonies. Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people’s bodies. Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.

Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then draws information from different disciplines charting a relationship between these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, iron and magnetism having a marked relationship.

Seed power and totem design
Guruwari may be translated as “Seed Power” and “Totem Design” and the energetic concept to which it refers is a pervasive cultural meme throughout indigenous Australia. Following is a quote from Lawlor (1991: p. 36) who references the source of this anthropological scholarship to Munn (1984): “Guruwari refers to the invisible seed or life-energy that the Creative Ancestors deposited in the land and in all forms of nature.

Cross-cultural lineages
The first clear example of Buddhist settlement in Australia dates to 1848. However, there has been speculation from some anthropologists that there may have been contact hundreds of years earlier; in the book Aboriginal Men of High Degree, A.P. Elkin cites what he believes is evidence that traders from Indonesia may have brought fleeting contact of Buddhism and Hinduism to areas near modern-day Dampier.[3] Elkin interpreted a link between Indigenous Australian culture and Buddhist ideas such as reincarnation.[3] He argued this link could have been brought through contact with Macassan traders.[3] There was also speculation due to reports of Chinese relics appearing in northern Australia dating to the 15th century, although it may have been brought much later through trade rather than earlier exploration. Not only maban-crystal, but also “magic cord” is used in the making of “clever men” in Australia. The “magic cord” is reminiscent of the Indian rope trick or of the silver cord. Elkin cited linguistic commonalities of certain far northern Australian indigenous words and lexical items and ancient southern Indian ‘Dravidian’ languages. There are also documented analogues and marked similarities in their kinship systems.

cherub ( pl. cherubim) a winged angelic being described in biblical tradition as attending on God. It is represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles’ wings and a human face, and regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.

socket
1 a natural or artificial hollow into which something fits or in which something revolves : the eye socket.
• the part of the head of a golf club into which the shaft is fitted.
2 an electrical device receiving a plug or light bulb to make a connection.

This first of its kind scientific-historical research project, run under the auspices of Professor Zohar Amar of Bar Ilan University, includes on its team archaeologists, nutritional engineer Arye Cohen, the Shteibel wheat mill, the Sharon Portos labs for food additives, and the Shifon bakery, located in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park north of Jerusalem.

Professor Amar has previously done groundbreaking research into the sources of the components of the ketoret incense used in the Holy Temple, and the sources of the biblical colors used for dying the garments of the High Priest, the techelet, (sky-blue), argaman, (purple), and tola’at sheni, (scarlet). Professor Amar has worked closely with the Temple Institute, most recently harvesting the tola’at sheni worms for use in dying, and in preparing the techelet, argaman and tola’at sheni used for dying the threads woven into the avnet belt of the lay priests.

From Wikipedia: Mitre:

Judaism
In ancient Israel, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) wore a headress called the Mitznefet (often translated into English as “mitre”), which was wound around the head so as to form a broad, flat-topped turban. Attached to it was the Tzitz, a plate of solid gold bearing the inscription “Holiness to YHWH”[1] (Exodus 39:14, 39:30).

Ouches [filigree settings] ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery : [as adj. ] delicate silver filigree earrings.
• a thing resembling such fine ornamental work : a wedding cake of gold and white filigree. ORIGIN late 17th cent. (earlier as filigreen, filigrane): from French filigrane, from Italian filigrana (from Latin filum ‘thread’ + granum ‘seed’ ).

Bless: ORIGIN Old English based on blood (i.e., originally perhaps [mark or consecrate with blood] ). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship,’ and later by association with bliss.

also broken loose, out of control.
Young’s Literal Translation:
And Moses seeth the people that it is unbridled, for Aaron hath made it unbridled for contempt among its withstanders,

consecrate [literally says consecrate your hand to Jehovah]
dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose

Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopian Chapel? The roof is leaking….

The high priest was trained to operate it.
Joshua 3:7, priests’ feet touched water, with ark, kept water back
Electrocuted priests, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu; they offered “unholy fire before the Lord… And fire came forth from the presence of the Lord and devoured them.” (Lev 10:1-20); in sep incident, Uzzah (2 sam 6:6-7)

Joshua Ch 6: Jericho wall collapses
Horns
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gjallarhorn Scholar Rudolf Simek comments that the use of a horn as both a musical instrument and a drinking vessel is not particularly odd, and that the concept is also employed with tales of the legendary Old French hero Roland’s horn, Olifant. Simek notes that the horn is among the most ancient of Germanic musical instruments, along with lurs, and, citing archaeological finds (such as the 5th century Golden Horns of Gallehus from Denmark), comments that there appears to have been sacral horns kept purely for religious purposes among the Germanic peoples, understood as earthly versions of Heimdallr’s Gjallarhorn, reaching back to the early Germanic Iron Age.[15]
Ark captured by Phil (god Dagon, statue fell 2 times) against Eli’s sons
1 Samuel
5:11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
Plague of tumors, ended when Ark returned to Beth-shemesh (ancient city, “house of the sun”) with offering of golden mice and golden tumors. David transports ark to Jerusalem. Uzzak touched ark, killed.

The account in 1 Samuel 5.2–7 relates how the ark of Yahweh was captured by the Philistines and taken to Dagon’s temple in Ashdod. The following morning they found the image of Dagon lying prostrate before the ark. They set the image upright, but again on the morning of the following day they found it prostrate before the ark, but this time with head and hands severed, lying on the miptān translated as “threshold” or “podium”. The account continues with the puzzling words raq dāgôn nišʾar ʿālāyw, which means literally “only Dagon was left to him.” (The Septuagint, Peshitta, and Targums render “Dagon” here as “trunk of Dagon” or “body of Dagon”, presumably referring to the lower part of his image.) Thereafter we are told that neither the priests or anyone ever steps on the miptān of Dagon in Ashdod “unto this day”. This story is depicted on the frescoes of the Dura-Europos synagogue as the opposite to a depiction of the High Priest Aaron and the Temple of Solomon.

In an Ethiopian account (Kebra Nagast) it is maintained that the Queen of Sheba had sexual relations with King Solomon (of which the Biblical and Quranic accounts give no hint) and gave birth by the Mai Bella stream in the province of Hamasien, Eritrea. The Ethiopian tradition has a detailed account of the affair.

The boy was a son who went on to become Menelik I, King of Axum, and founded a dynasty that would reign what became the Christian Empire of Ethiopia for 2900+ years (less one usurpation episode and interval of ca. 133 years until a “legitimate” male heir regained the crown) until Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. Menelik was said to be a practising Jew, had been gifted with a replica Ark of the Covenant by King Solomon, but moreover, the original was switched and went to Axum with him and his mother, and is still there, guarded by a single priest charged with caring for the artifact as his life’s task.

The claim of such a lineage and of possession of the Ark has been an important source of legitimacy and prestige for the Ethiopian monarchy throughout the many centuries of its existence, and had important and lasting effects on Ethiopian culture as a whole. The Ethiopian government and church deny all requests to view the alleged ark.

ephod

The Ephod worn by ancient Israelite high priests.

There is much mystery about exactly what the ephod is. At least in part, an ephod is an article of clothing worn by ancient Jewish high priests, associated with the ark of the covenant and the oracle of Urim and Thummin. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephod :

A passage in the Book of Exodus describes the Ephod as an elaborate garment worn by the high priest, and upon which the breastplate, containing Urim and Thummim, rested. According to this description, the Ephod was woven out of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet threads, was made of fine linen, and was embroidered “with skillful work” in gold thread (Exodus 28:6-14) the Talmud argues that each of the textures was combined in six threads with a seventh of gold leaf, making twenty-eight threads to the texture in total (Yoma 71b). The Biblical description continues without describing the shape or length of the ephod, except by stating that it was held together by a girdle, and had two shoulder straps which were fastened to the front of the ephod by golden rings, to which the breastplate was attached by golden chains; (Exodus 28:6-14) from this description it appears to have been something like a minimalist apron or a skirt with braces, though Rashi argued that it was like a woman’s riding girdle. The biblical description also adds that there were two engraved gems over the shoulder straps (like epaulettes), made from shoham (thought by scholars to mean malachite,[6] by Jewish tradition to mean heliodor, and in the King James Version is translated as “onyx”), and with the names of the twelve tribes written upon them; the classical rabbinical sources differ as to the order in which the tribes were named on the jewels (Sotah 36a). —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephod

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiloh_%28biblical_city%29

Shiloh was the religious capital of Israel for 300 years before Jerusalem, where the “whole congregation of Israel assembled…and set up the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Joshua 18:1) to house the Ark of the Covenant. “According to Talmudic sources, the tent sanctuary remained at Shiloh for 369 years (Zevachim 118B) until the Ark of the Covenant was taken into the battle camp (1 Samuel 4:3-5) at Ebenezer and captured by the Philistines at Aphek (probably Antipatris). At some point during its long stay at Shiloh, the portable tent seems to have been enclosed within a compound or replaced with a standing structure that had “doors” (1 Samuel 3:15) a precursor to the Temple. The Mishkan [tabernacle] left Shiloh when Eli HaCohen died.

Shiloh was the center of Israelite worship. The people assembled here for the mandatory feasts and sacrifices, and here lots were cast for the various tribal areas and for the Levitical cities. This was a sacred act, revealing how God would choose to parcel out the land within the tribes.

Generations later, Samuel was raised at the shrine in Shiloh by the high priest Eli. Samuel began prophesying at a young age and continued to serve in the Tabernacle, but not as a priest because he was not from the family of Aaron.

When the Philistines defeated the Israelites at Aphek, one contingent of Philistines carried the Ark of the Covenant off to Philistia, while another contingent apparently marched on Shiloh and destroyed the shrine (1 Samuel 4:4-5, Psalms 78:60 and Jeremiah 7:4). Apparently the Tabernacle was removed before the Philistines arrived, and it was shipped to Gibeon, where it remained until Solomon’s time. The Ark was soon returned to Israel, but was subsequently kept in Kiryat-Yearim until David had it brought to Jerusalem. It never returned to Shiloh.

Dagon — a God in a Fish Suit

Dagon. This Semitic deity has been equated with El, Enlil, and Oannes. He is said to be a warlike protector, and Ba‘al Hadad’s father.

Dagon. This Semitic deity has been equated with El, Enlil, and Oannes. He is said to be a warlike protector, and Ba‘al Hadad’s father.
Source

Dagon is a god of agricultural fertility and grain, and also a major deity of fish and fishing. Like the Babylonian god Oannes, who may be another form of Dagon, he is shown as a merman, human above the waist and fish below. The Babylonian writer Berossus stated that Oannes was the bringer of all wisdom to humankind after the creation, that he had the form of a fish, but underneath looked like a man, and that he rose out of the Persian Gulf each day to teach humans writing, arts, and sciences, returning to the deep each night.

Dagon was very popular with the Philistines, who were enemies of the Israelites, and who captured the Ark of the Covenant from Yahweh’s followers and took it to Dagon’s temple in Ashdod, bringing dire consequences on themselves.

Kothar-wa-Khasis and the Casement Window

Casement Window. Is the discussion between Ba‘al and Kothar-u-Khasis really about a casement window?

Casement Window. Is the discussion between Ba‘al and Kothar-u-Khasis really about a casement window?
Source

Kothar-wa-Khasis (Skillful and Wise), a Canaanite craftsman god, designs and creates weapons for the gods, imbuing them with magic. He makes the two weapons, called Chaser and Driver, with which Ba‘al defeats Yam, and he builds an opulent palace for Ba‘al, of cedar from Lebanon, gold, silver, and lapis lazuli.

In the below excerpt from the Ba‘al Cycle, Aliyan Baal (another name for Ba‘al) has finally gotten permission from El to build himself a palace and is excited to get started, but he has an odd disagreement with his architect-builder Kothar-wa-Khasis about whether he needs a “casement” in the middle of his palace that opens on hinges like a door:

…Aliyan Baal declares:
“Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected!
Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected
In the midst of the heights of Saphon!
A thousand acres the house is to comprise,
A myriad hectares, the palace!”

And Kothar-u-Khasis declares:
“Hear, O Aliyan Baal!
Perceive, O Rider of Clouds!
I shall surely put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!”

And Aliyan Baal replies:
“Do not put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!
Let not Pidray, girl of Light,
Nor Tallay, girl of rain,
Be seen by El’s beloved Yam Nahar!”
The Lord reviles and spits.

And Kothar-u-Khasis replies:
“Thou wilt return, Baal, to My word.”

Leaving the casement issue aside for the moment, Kothar builds the house without the window. When the sumptuous palace is complete, Ba‘al throws a housewarming party fit for the gods:

Hadad prepares the housewarming of His palace.
He slaughters great and small cattle
He fells oxen and ram-fatlings.
Yearling calves,
Little lambs and kids.
He called His brothers into His house.
His kinsmen into the midst of His palace.
He called the Seventy sons of Asherah.
He caused the sheep Gods to drink wine.
He caused the ewe Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the bull Gods to drink wine.
He caused the cow Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the throne Gods to drink wine.
He caused the chair Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the jar Gods to drink wine.
He caused the jug Goddesses to drink wine.
Until the Gods had eaten and drunk,
And the sucklings quaffed
With a keen knife
A slice of fatling.
They drink wine from a goblet,
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines.

Ba‘al later goes on to conquer 90 cities, and when he returns to his palace as Lord of All the World, he tells Kothar to go ahead and put that casement in.

As Baal went into the midst of the house
Aliyan Baal declared:
“I would install, Kothar, son of the Sea,
Yea Kothar, son of the assembly!
Let a casement be opened in the house;
A window in the midst of the palace,
And let the clouds be opened with rain
On the opening of Kothar-u-Khasis.”

Kothar-u-Khasis laughed.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
“Did I not tell Thee, O Aliyan Baal,
That Thou wouldst return, Baal, to My word?
Let a casement be opened in the house,
A window in the midst of the palace!”

Baal opened the clouds with rain,
His holy voice He gives forth in the heavens.

A Laser Shooting into Space

A Laser Shooting into Space
Source

Could Kothar have been talking about an astronomical observatory, for instance, when he told Ba‘al he needed a casement in the middle of his palace? Below is England’s historic Aldershot Observatory.

Could Kothar have been talking about an astronomical observatory, for instance, when he told Ba‘al he needed a casement in the middle of his palace? Below is England’s historic Aldershot Observatory.
Source

An SS-24 Missile Silo with 'Hinged' Top. Could Kothar possibly have meant that Ba‘al should install a missile or rocket launching silo, when he said a casement was needed in the palace? Seems preposterous? Learn a little about divine chariots, and ancient rainmakers.

An SS-24 Missile Silo with ‘Hinged’ Top. Could Kothar possibly have meant that Ba‘al should install a missile or rocket launching silo, when he said a casement was needed in the palace? Seems preposterous? Learn a little about divine chariots, and ancient rainmakers.
Source

Osiris, Resurrected as King of the Underworld

Facsimile of a vignette from the Book of the Dead of Ani. 'The deceased Ani kneels before Osiris, judge of the dead. Behind Osiris stand his sisters Isis and Nephthys, and in front of him is a lotus on which stand the four sons of Horus,' original circa 1300 BCE.

Facsimile of a vignette from the Book of the Dead of Ani. ‘The deceased Ani kneels before Osiris, judge of the dead. Behind Osiris stand his sisters Isis and Nephthys, and in front of him is a lotus on which stand the four sons of Horus,’ original circa 1300 BCE.
source

Osiris (Usiris, Asar, Asari, Aser, Ausar, Ausir, Wesir, Usir, Usire or Ausare) was god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead, over whom he was said to be a merciful judge. He is the oldest son of Geb the Earth god and Nut the sky goddess, making him Isis’s brother; he later became her husband, begetting Horus, in one of the all-time strange myths.

There are various versions, but basically Osiris’s brother Set (Seth) tricked him into getting into a coffin or box, which Set then sealed with lead and dropped into the Nile River. When Isis finds out, she goes after the box, fearing that without proper rituals and burials, Osiris will not be able to enter the Land of the Dead. Isis finds the coffin embedded in a tree which is being used for a pillar in the palace of the King of Byblos.

Isis retrieves the coffin by curing the king’s son of a nasty illness, but leaves it in a marsh, where Set happens to find it. He cuts Osiris into 14 pieces (some say 13, some say 16 or 26) and distributes the chunks throughout Egypt. Isis, with the help of Set’s sister/wife Nephthys, eventually finds all the parts except for one — the phallus — which was eaten by a fish with a nose like Set’s. Isis fashions another phallus from gold, then sings a magical song and breathes life into Osiris long enough for her to, in the form of a bird, impregnate herself with his seed.

Diodorus Siculus gives another version of the myth in which Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set, whom Diodorus associates with the evil Typhon (“Typhonian Beast”) of Greek mythology. Typhon divides the body into twenty six pieces which he distributes amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder….

The tale of Osiris becoming fish-like is cognate with the story the Greek shepherd god Pan becoming fish like from the waist down in the same river Nile after being attacked by Typhon (see Capricornus). This attack is part of a generational feud in which both Zeus and Dionysus were dismembered by Typhon, in a similar manner as Osiris is by Set in Egypt. —From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris

Isis, in the form of a bird (kite), conceives Horus with the sort-of-alive, sort-of-dead Osiris.

Isis, in the form of a bird (kite), conceives Horus with the sort-of-alive, sort-of-dead Osiris.
source

'The Nile god pouring water from a hand and a breast over Osiris, pictured as a bird with a man's head,' 1902.

The hugely popular Cult of Osiris allowed anyone who could afford it — not just pharaohs — to have a shot at eternal life — based on moral behavior and ability to pay for appropriate funerary practices.

The flail (nekhakha) was a short rod with three beaded strands attached to its top. Its form was clearly ceremonial but probably derived from a shepherd’s whip. It may also have derived from the ladanisterion which is used to collect ladanum from the leaves of the cistus plant (or other gum bearing plants) which could then be used in the preparation of incense.

The flail was [a] popular emblem of pharaonic power. In early Egyptian history it appears on its own … but in later times if was often paired with the Heqa staff (or crook). Like the Heqa, the flail was associated with the regal gods such as Andjety and Osiris. The flail was also associated with the ithyphallic deities [gods or god statues having an erect penis], in particular Min, and often depicted hovering above the hand raised above their head. The flail was also associated with certain sacred animals (such as sacred bulls and hawks) who were often depicted carrying a flail on their backs. —© J. Hill 2010, http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/royalemblems.html

Portrait of Osiris from The Book of the Dead.

Portrait of Osiris from The Book of the Dead.
source

Statuette of Osiris, circa 664-332 BCE, bronze with gold.

Statuette of Osiris, circa 664-332 BCE, bronze with gold.
source

According to Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge, the story of the resurrection of Osiris is related to the Christian resurrection:

The Egyptians of every period in which they are known to us believed that Osiris is of divine origin, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of the powers of evil, that after a great struggle with these powers he rose again, that he became henceforth the king of the underworld and judge of the dead, and that because he had conquered death the righteous also might conquer death… In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototypes of the Virgin Mary and her child. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris

In temple rites, bread in the shapes of Osiris’s various parts is eaten.

Athirat: God’s Wife? Asherah Poles

Athirat, or Asherah, whom the above clay figurine is thought to depict, was said to be the consort of the gods El, and sometimes Ba‘al, and may have later been known as consort of the god Yahweh.

Athirat, or Asherah, whom the above clay figurine is thought to depict, was said to be the consort of the gods El, and sometimes Ba‘al, and may have later been known as consort of the god Yahweh.

Athirat, also known as Asherah, is a mother goddess called “creatrix of the gods” and “she who treads on the sea.” She is one of the contenders for the title “Queen of Heaven” and was said to be the consort of the high god El, and later Ba‘al. William G. Dever’s book Did God Have a Wife? suggests that Asherah was Yahweh’s consort in Israelite folk religion—not too surprising since Yahweh apparently merged with El and Ba‘al over the years.

In Exodus 34:13, Yahweh tells Moses that as part of the covenant he is making with the Israelites, Yahweh will be driving various peoples out of the “promised land” on the Israelites’ behalf, and they must destroy altars, images, and “Asherah poles” they find there:

Exodus 34:11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves [Asherah poles]:

14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Many Bible translations replace groves in verse 13 above with Asherahs/Asherim or Asherah poles. Although historians know that Asherah poles were sacred and that they were placed at Canaanite sacred sites in order to honor Asherah, they do not know what, exactly, they were. Based on repeated biblical instructions to cut them down, and use the wood for burnt offerings to Yahweh, the supposition is that the Asherah was made of wood — either a pole, or a living tree, or a grove of trees.

Asherah Poles

Asherah Poles

According to The Oxford Companion To World Mythology (David Leeming, Oxford University Press, 2005, page 118), “It seems almost certain that the God of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El, who was in all likelihood the ‘God of Abraham’… If El was the high god of Abraham — Elohim, the prototype of Yahveh mdash; Asherah was his wife, and there are archeological indications that she was perceived as such before she was in effect ‘divorced’ in the context of emerging Judaism of the seventh century B.C.E. (See 2 Kings 23:15).”

Angels Kept Busy Announcing Artificial Inseminations

Samson's Fight with the Lion, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, circa 1520.

Samson’s Fight with the Lion, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, circa 1520.

In Bible stories, angels were put to work announcing supernatural conceptions. We’ll look at three instances: Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus.

If you can make it through the repetition in the verses describing the announcement of the conception of the famous strong man Samson — the angel keeps saying, “you’re pregnant, so no wine, liquor, or unclean food” — “and don’t cut his hair” — you’ll see humans having conversations with an angel, pissing him off, trying to make it up to him with a goat sacrifice, watching awestruck as the angel ascends in the “flame of the altar”, and freaking out afterwards.

Judges 13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
8 Then Manoah intreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.
15 …Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid [young goat] for thee.
16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.
24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1489.

Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1489.

Saint John the Baptist’s conception was foretold by the angel of the Lord, leaving the dad-to-be literally speechless:

Luke 1:9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his [Zacharias’s] lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.

Then, Mary got her visit:

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David….

Not surprisingly, the angel of the Lord finds it necessary to also pay a visit to Mary’s fiancé, Joseph:

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

“Myths” of Global Catastrophes through the Ages

Here are some excerpts and notes from various sources regarding a few of the many “myths” of global destruction through the ages, including Ovid’s Ages of Man and Hindu scriptures, pole shifts, and “mythical” doomsday events in North America, Egypt, South America, Australia, and more.

In some of the most powerful and enduring myths that we have inherited from ancient times, our species seems to have retained a confused but resonant memory of a terrifying global catastrophe…. Where do these myths come from? Why, though they derive from unrelated cultures, are their storylines so similar? why are they laden with common symbolism? and why do they so often share the same stock characters and plots? If they are indeed memories, why are there no historical records of the planetary disaster they seem to refer to?

Could it be that the myths themselves are historical records? Could it be that these cunning and immortal stories, composed by anonymous geniuses, were the medium used to record such information and pass it on in the time before history began? —Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

Regius_-_Ages_of_Man

Regius_-_Ages_of_Man

Eschatology (from the Greek meaning “last” and -logy meaning “the study of”, first used in English around 1550) is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity — commonly referred to as the end of the world or the “World to Come.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “concerned with ‘the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell’”.

In the context of mysticism, the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine. In many religions it is taught as an existing future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

History is often seen as being divided into “ages” (Gk. aeons), an age being a period where certain realities are present. An age may come to an end and be replaced by a new age where different realities are present. This transition from one age to another is often the subject of eschatological discussion. So, instead of “the end of the world” we may speak of “the end of the age” and be referring to the end of “life as we know it” and the beginning of a new reality. Indeed, much apocalyptic fiction does not deal with the “end of time” but rather with the end of a certain period of time, the end of life as it is now, and the beginning of a new period of time. It is usually a crisis that brings an end to current reality and ushers in a new way of living / thinking / being. This crisis may take the form of the intervention of a deity in history, a war, a change in the environment or the reaching of a new level of consciousness. If a better world results, we say it is “utopian”. If a worse, it is “dystopian.” Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future (indeed, the same future may be utopian for some and dystopic for others – “heaven and hell” for example). —From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology

The Bible…envisages two ages of the world, our own being the second and last [the deluge having ended the first world, and the book of Revelation said to describe the end of the second world]. Elsewhere, in other cultures, different numbers of creations and destructions are recorded. In China, for instance, the perished ages are called kis, ten of which are said to have elapsed from the beginning of time until Confucius. At the end of each kis, “in a general convulsion of nature, the sea is carried out of its bed, mountains spring up out of the ground, rivers change their course, human beings and everything are ruined, and the ancient traces effaced….”

Buddhist scriptures speak of “Seven Suns”, each brought to an end by water, fire or wind. At the end of the Seventh Sun, the current “world cycle”, it is expected that the “earth will break into flames”. Aboriginal traditions of Sarawak and Sabah recall that the sky was once “low” and tell us that “six Suns perished … at present the world is illuminated by the seventh Sun”. Similarly, the Sibylline Books speak of “nine Suns that are nine ages” and prophesy two ages yet to come…. [T]he Hopi Indians of Arizona (who are distant relatives of the Aztecs) record three previous Suns, each culminating in a great annihilation followed by the gradual re-emergence of mankind.—Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

According to In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India by Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley: “[T]he ancient Hindus regarded the switch of the equinoctial point from one constellation to another (the end of an age) as an alarming event.”

Goldenes-Zeitalter-1530

Goldenes-Zeitalter-1530


Ages of Man, Ovid, Metamorphoses (Oxford World’s Classics):

Book I:89-112 The Golden Age This was the Golden Age that, without coercion, without laws, spontaneously nurtured the good and the true. There was no fear or punishment: there were no threatening words to be read, fixed in bronze, no crowd of suppliants fearing the judge’s face: they lived safely without protection. No pine tree felled in the mountains had yet reached the flowing waves to travel to other lands: human beings only knew their own shores. There were no steep ditches surrounding towns, no straight war-trumpets, no coiled horns, no swords and helmets. Without the use of armies, people passed their lives in gentle peace and security. The earth herself also, freely, without the scars of ploughs, untouched by hoes, produced everything from herself. Contented with food that grew without cultivation, they collected mountain strawberries and the fruit of the strawberry tree, wild cherries, blackberries clinging to the tough brambles, and acorns fallen from Jupiter’s spreading oak-tree. Spring was eternal, and gentle breezes caressed with warm air the flowers that grew without being seeded. Then the untilled earth gave of its produce and, without needing renewal, the fields whitened with heavy ears of corn. Sometimes rivers of milk flowed, sometimes streams of nectar, and golden honey trickled from the green holm oak.

Virgil_Solis_-_Golden_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Golden_Age

Book I:113-124 The Silver Age When Saturn was banished to gloomy Tartarus, and Jupiter ruled the world, then came the people of the age of silver that is inferior to gold, more valuable than yellow bronze. Jupiter shortened spring’s first duration and made the year consist of four seasons, winter, summer, changeable autumn, and brief spring. Then parched air first glowed white scorched with the heat, and ice hung down frozen by the wind. Then houses were first made for shelter: before that homes had been made in caves, and dense thickets, or under branches fastened with bark. Then seeds of corn were first buried in the long furrows, and bullocks groaned, burdened under the yoke.

Virgil_Solis_-_Silver_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Silver_Age

Book I:125-150 The Bronze Age and Iron Age Third came the people of the bronze age, with fiercer natures, readier to indulge in savage warfare, but not yet vicious.

The harsh iron age was last. Immediately every kind of wickedness erupted into this age of baser natures: truth, shame and honour vanished; in their place were fraud, deceit, and trickery, violence and pernicious desires. They set sails to the wind, though as yet the seamen had poor knowledge of their use, and the ships’ keels that once were trees standing amongst high mountains, now leaped through uncharted waves. The land that was once common to all, as the light of the sun is, and the air, was marked out, to its furthest boundaries, by wary surveyors. Not only did they demand the crops and the food the rich soil owed them, but they entered the bowels of the earth, and excavating brought up the wealth it had concealed in Stygian shade, wealth that incites men to crime. And now harmful iron appeared, and gold more harmful than iron. War came, whose struggles employ both, waving clashing arms with bloodstained hands. They lived on plunder: friend was not safe with friend, relative with relative, kindness was rare between brothers. Husbands longed for the death of their wives, wives for the death of their husbands. Murderous stepmothers mixed deadly aconite, and sons inquired into their father’s years before their time. Piety was dead, and virgin Astraea, last of all the immortals to depart, herself abandoned the blood-drenched earth.

Virgil_Solis_-_Iron_Age

Virgil_Solis_-_Iron_Age

http://www.bible-knowledge.com/new-heaven-and-new-earth/
“Geological evidence found in Ohio and Indiana in recent weeks is strengthening the case to attribute what happened 12,900 years ago in North America — when the end of the last Ice Age unexpectedly turned into a phase of extinction for animals and humans – to a cataclysmic comet or asteroid explosion over top of Canada….”

According to Peter Kolosimo in his book, Timeless Earth, the Harris Egyptian papyrus “speaks of a catastrophe following which ‘south became north…and the earth turned round upon itself’. Herrodotus, moreover, tells us that according to the priests of Thebes (Luxor), ‘twice in past ages the sun used to rise in a different quarter from where it rises now, and twice it was wont to set in the east instead of the west’.” Kolosimo also relates a Toltec legend that the first age was brought to end by floods and lightning; the second age was peopled by giants called Quinametzin, who were mostly destroyed by earthquakes; and the remaining giants were killed by men during the third age, “just as Goliath was slain by David.”

Kolosimo asks:

What force can it have been that wiped out flourishing civilizations at a single blow, decimating the population of the globe and condemning the survivors to take refuge in caves out of which their ancestors had painfully struggled thousands of years before? Clearly the cause must have been some fearful cataclysm affecting the whole of our planet. There is much evidence that catastrophes on this scale did in fact occur.

Although complete carcases and skeletons are sometimes found, the remains usually look as if they had been torn about by some gigantic force. In some places there are heaps of bones as high as a small hill, the remains of mammoths being interspersed with those of horses, antelopes, bison, huge felines, and other smaller animals…. In 1901 a sensation was caused by the discovery of a complete mammal carcase near the Berezovka River, as this animal seemed to have died of cold in midsummer. The contents of its stomach were well preserved and included buttercups and flowering wild beans: this meant that they must have been swallowed about the end of July or beginning of August. The creature had died so suddenly that it still held in its jaws a mouthful of grasses and flowers. It had clearly been caught up by a tremendous force and hurled several miles from its pasture-ground. The pelvis and one leg were fractured — the huge animal had been knocked to its knees and had then frozen to death, at what is normally the hottest time of the year. —Scientist Charles H. Hapgood in Timeless Earth.

Kolosimo notes that, while traditionally science has held that Antarctica has been covered under a mile-thick ice layer for millions of years, there is reason to think the ice cover is much more recent, and related to the most recent worldwide cataclysm:

American scientists fished up from the bed of the Antarctic Ocean specimens of a muddy sediment which showed that in comparatively recent times Antarctic rivers had borne down to the sea the alluvial products of an ice-free territory. This was apparently the case ten or twelve thousands years ago, i.e., just before the time when the mammoth suddenly became extinct….

Movement of North Pole: Kreichgrauer says that during the fossil coal era the north pole was situated near Hawaii, while in later times it was at Lake Chad in Africa. (huge lake has no tribs nor outlets – created by melting of glacier?)

Pole is moving 40 miles a year, National Geographic article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091224-north-pole-magnetic-russia-earth-core.html

Potentially hazardous asteroids
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/P/potentially_hazardous_asteroid.html

Mahabharata Book 16, Section 1 [The King] Yudhishthira, beheld many unusual portents. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from every side. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The great rivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to be always covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on the Earth from the sky. The Sun’s disc, O king, seemed to be always covered with dust. At its rise, the great luminary of day was shorn of splendour and seemed to be crossed by headless trunks (of human beings). Fierce circles of light were seen every day around both the Sun and the Moon. These circles showed three hues. Their edges seemed to be black and rough and ashy-red in colour. These and many other omens, foreshadowing fear and danger, were seen, O king, and filled the hearts of men with anxiety. A little while after, the Kuru king Yudhishthira heard of the wholesale carnage of the Vrishnis in consequence of the iron bolt. … When the next day came, Samva actually brought forth an iron bolt through which all the individuals in the race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas became consumed into ashes. Indeed, for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, Samva brought forth, through that curse, a fierce iron bolt that looked like a gigantic messenger of death. The fact was duly reported to the king. In great distress of mind, the king (Ugrasena) caused that iron bolt to be reduced into fine powder. Men were employed, O king, to cast that powder into the sea. —http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m16/m16001.htm

Mahabharata Drona Parva Chapter Eleven Drona’s son then began a colossal carnage on the front line of battle. He piled up a mountain of heads from the Pandava army. Then touching water and invoking the Narayana astra, Ashvatthama aimed that invincible weapon at the Pandava army. The earth began to tremble and a great wind storm appeared on the Kurukshetra plain. In the heavens hundreds of thousands of celestial arrows appeared with flaming mouths. Maces, battle axes, Sataghnis, javelins and discs, effulgent as the sun, appeared in the sky, numbering tens of thousands. Coming down upon the Pandava army, those weapons began to destroy countless men. That divine weapon, owned by Lord Narayana, began to consume the Pandava army like a wild fire consumes dry grass.…

Ashvatthama invoked the Agneya weapon which caused intense fire to appear. Arrows with intense flames fell upon the Pandava soldiers scorching their bodies. Ashvatthama then directed that weapon toward the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. The Agneya weapon killed thousands upon thousands of chariot fighters, elephants and horsemen like a forest fire destroys trees. To save the Army, Arjuna invoked the Brahmastra weapon which countered the weapon released by Ashvatthama. When both weapons were withdrawn, the Pandavas saw that a full akshauhini division had been burnt by the weapon. So scorched were the soldiers that they could not be distinguished. Both armies thought that Krishna and Arjuna had been killed by the weapon, but upon seeing them in their chariot, the Pandava warriors cheered loudly and blew their conchshells. —http://www.warriormonks.com/kurukshetra/drona-parva/dp-11.html

source

This antique carpet from India shows Arjuna and Krishna in their chariot.

Doomsday Events

Since life began on Earth, several major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate. The most recent, Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, which occurred approximately 65.5 million years ago (Ma), was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. In the past 540 million years there have been five major events when over 50% of animal species died. There probably were mass extinctions in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons, but before the Phanerozoic there were no animals with hard body parts to leave a significant fossil record.

Estimates of the number of major mass extinctions in the last 540 million years range from as few as five to more than twenty. These differences stem from the threshold chosen for describing an extinction event as “major”, and the data chosen to measure past diversity. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

A doomsday event is a specific, plausibly verifiable or hypothetical occurrence which has an exceptionally destructive effect on the human race. The final outcomes of doomsday events may range from a major disruption of human civilization, the extinction of humanity, the extinction of all life on the planet Earth, the destruction of the planet Earth, the annihilation of the Solar system, to the annihilation of our galaxy or even the entire universe.

Even though the term “doomsday” is taken from Christian eschatology referring to the Last Judgment, the term “doomsday event” as used here refers to alleged realistic dangers from natural or man-made causes, to be distinguished from catastrophic events in religious eschatology understood as an act of divine retribution or unalterable fate.

Doomsday events may include, but are not limited to these:

Natural occurrences
, including:

  • A sudden change in the physical constants governing the universe, such as that created by a vacuum metastability event.
  • A close approach of a black hole to the solar system.
  • A gamma ray burst or other devastating blast of cosmic radiation. One especially deadly hypothesized source is a hypernova, produced when a hypergiant star explodes and then collapses, sending vast amounts of radiation sweeping across hundreds of lightyears. Hypernovas have never been observed; however, a hypernova may have been the cause of the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events. The nearest hypergiant is Eta Carinae, approximately 8,000 light-years distant.
  • A drastic and unusual decrease or increase in Sun’s power output; a solar superstorm leading to partial or complete electrical or technological death of human civilization. (See solar flare.)
  • Abrupt geomagnetic reversal and/or drastic decrease of magnetic field of the planet Earth. Consequences can be the same as in the cases of cosmic radiation or solar radiation blasts.
  • The solar system passing through a cosmic dust cloud, leading to a severe global climate change.
  • An abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis.[6] It could be caused by extremely powerful internal geological or/and external cosmic factors. If it happens abruptly (and not slowly within a very prolonged interval of time) it will generate enormous multiple earthquakes, multiple volcano eruptions, a hypercane or multiple megacyclones, giant tidal waves and megatsunamis all around the globe.
  • An impact event causing a collision (or extremely close passage) of a large meteorite, asteroid or comet. A common theory postulates that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred approximately 65 million years ago as a result of the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event when a large asteroid struck the earth, producing atmospheric dust which blocked solar energy and caused a significant lowering of temperatures worldwide (“nuclear winter”). Evidence for this theory includes a sedimentary layer of iridium in the geological record and a large crater in the area of Chicxulub, Mexico. The Tunguska event (1908) was on a much smaller scale. In the case of a close passage of an object (a large asteroid, comet or planet) with a significant gravitational impact on Earth, the consequences could be the same as in the case of an abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis. And such a repositioning of the axis would not necessarily have to take place for the earth to see the same global effects.
  • A geological event such as massive flood basalt, volcanism, or the eruption of a supervolcano leading to the so called Volcanic Winter (Similar to a Nuclear Winter). One such event, the Toba Eruption, occurred in Indonesia about 71,500 years ago. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, the event may have reduced human populations to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. Yellowstone Caldera is another such supervolcano, having undergone 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions in the past 17 million years. Massive volcano eruption(s) will produce extraordinary intake of volcanic dust, toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with serious effects on global climate (towards extreme global cooling (nuclear winter when in short term and ice age when in long term) or global warming (if greenhouse gases prevail)).
  • An exceptionally devastating hypercane probably combined with global dust storm, taking up to the atmosphere enormous quantities of dust.
  • A global pandemic (assuming that the causing agent of the pandemic would have a natural origin) with very high or even 100% mortality rate.

Manmade events, including:

  • A global pandemic with very high or even 100% mortality rate caused by a human-made infectious agent, which could be released among population on purpose. The source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, governmental or international organization.
  • A nuclear, chemical, or biological war. A “softer” and “stealthier” case of each of these three types of warfare could be nuclear, chemical, or biological terrorism. Again the source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, religious zealots, governmental or international organization.
  • A grey goo scenario, in which self-replicating machines (often imagined to be nanomachines) get out of control and indiscriminately consume all kinds of matter in the process of building more replicas of themselves, eventually making earth inhospitable for biological life altogether. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_event

For an interesting list of ways the Earth could be destroyed, see Discover Magazine’s “20 Ways the World Could End” — although it doesn’t even mention one of the most likely ways, nuclear power plant accidents.

The very interesting academic paper, Echoes of Ancient Cataclysms in the Baltic Sea, by Ain Haas, Andres Peekna, Robert E. Walker, is well worth a read.

Ultimately, conditions will deteriorate to the point of a “sword-interval,” in which swords appear in the hands of all human beings, and they hunt one another like game. A few people, however, will take shelter in the wilderness to escape the carnage, and when the slaughter is over, they will come out of hiding and resolve to take up a life of skillful and virtuous action again. With the recovery of virtue, the human life span will gradually increase again until it reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_eschatology

Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, or the tenth and last Avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close, and Shiva dissolves and Brahma regenerates the universe.

Most Hindus acknowledge as part of their cosmology that we are living in the Kali Yuga, the last of four periods (Yuga) that make up the current age. Each period has seen a successive degeneration in the moral order and character of human beings, to the point that in the Kali Yuga where quarrel and hypocrisy are prevalent. Often, the invocation of Kali Yuga denotes a certain helplessness in the face of the horrors and suffering of the human condition and a nostalgia for a golden past or a future salvation.

However, Hindu conceptions of time, like those found in other non-Western traditions, is cyclical in that one age may end but another will always begin. As such, the cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and renewal at the individual level finds its echo in the cosmic order of all things, yet affected by the vagaries of the comings and goings of divine interventions in the Vaishnavite belief.

The Four Yugas
A Divya Yuga comprises four yuga’s and lasts for 4.3 billion years (close approximation to earth’s age Age of Earth of 4.54 billion years. One cycle of these four yugas complete the existence of the universe and the universe starts to contract backwards in time followed by a new beginning of big bang. Yuga Dharma is a self-realization in each yuga.

KRUTHA YUGA (SATYA YUGA) lasts 1.632 billion years. (Human beings as heavenly bodies)

TRETA YUGA silver age lasts 1.3 billion years.

DWAPARA YUGA Bronze Age lasts 884 million years.

KALI YUGA Iron Age of hypocrisy and quarrel lasts approximately 448 million years. (Lord Krishna’s Avatar – KALKI) —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_eschatology

The End of the Early Bronze Age
The Old Kingdom in Egypt, the period when the pyramids were built, a great and splendid age, came to its end in a natural disaster. “At the conclusion of the Sixth Dynasty . . . Egypt is suddenly blotted out from our sight as if some great catastrophe had overwhelmed it.” (1) The second city of Troy came to an end at the same time the Old Kingdom of Egypt fell; it was destroyed in a violent paroxysm of nature. The Early Bronze Age was simultaneously terminated in all the countries of the ancient East —a vast catastrophe spread ruin from Troy to the Valley of the Nile. This fact has been extensively documented by Claude F. A. Schaeffer, professor at College de France, excavator of Ras Shamra (Ugarit).

Schaeffer observed at Ras Shamra on the Syrian coast clear signs of great destruction that pointed to violent earthquakes and tidal waves, and other signs of a natural disaster. Among the greatest of these took place at the end of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. At the occasion of his visit to Troy, then under excavation by Carl Blegen, he became aware that Troy, too, had been repeatedly destroyed by natural catastrophes at the same times when Ras Shamra was destroyed. The distance from the Dardanelles near which the mound of Troy lies to Ras Shamra in Syria is about 600 miles on a straight line. In modern annals of seismology no earthquake is known to have occurred covering an area of such an extent. He then compared the findings of these two places with signs of earthquakes in numerous other localities of the ancient East. After painstaking work he came to the conclusion that more than once in historical times the entire region had been shaken by prodigious earthquakes. As to the destruction that ended the Early Bronze Age, Schaeffer wrote, “There is not for us the slightest doubt that the conflagration of Troy II corresponds to the catastrophe that made an end to the habitations of the Early Bronze Age of Alaca Huyuk, of Alisar, of Tarsus, of Tepe Hissar [in Asia Minor], and to the catastrophe that burned ancient Ugarit (II) in Syria, the city of Byblos that flourished under the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the contemporaneous cities of Palestine, and that was among the causes that terminated the Old Kingdom of Egypt.(2)

In the same catastrophe were destroyed the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Cyprus. What caused “the disappearance of so many cities and the upheaval of an entire civilization” ?(3) “It was an all-encompassing catastrophe. Ethnic migrations were, no doubt, the consequence of the manifestation of nature. The initial and real causes must be looked for in some cataclysm over which man had no control.” (4) Everywhere it was simultaneous and sudden.

The shortcoming in Schaeffer’s work was in not making the logical deduction that if catastrophes of such dimensions took place in historical times, there must be references to them in ancient literary sources. If a cataclysm terminated the Early Bronze Age, decimated the population, but left also survivors, then some memory of the events must have also found its way to be preserved in writing—if not by survivors, turned to vagrancy and having to take care for the first necessities of life, then by the descendants of the survivors.

In my scheme the end of the Early Bronze Age or Old Kingdom in Egypt is the time of the momentous events connected with the story of the patriarch Abraham, and described in the Book of Genesis as the overturning of the plain.(5) The cause of the catastrophe could not have been entirely unknown to the ancients. We must therefore become attentive also to other traditions connected with these events. —http://www.varchive.org/itb/bronzage.htm:

References
1. G. A. Wainwright, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 16 (1930), p. 43.
2. Claude F. A. Schaeffer, Stratigraphie comparee et chronologie de l’Asie Occidentale (IIIe et IIe millennaires) (Oxford University Press, 1948), p. 225.
3. R. de Vaux, “Palestine in the Early Bronze Age,” The Cambridge Ancient History, Third ed., vol. I, pt. 2 (1971), ch. xv, p. 236. [According to J. Mellaart (“The Catastrophe at the End of the Eartly Bronze Age 2 Period,” The Cambridge Ancient History third ed. [1971], Vol. I, pt. 2, p. 406) in the period after the catastrophe the number of settlements “is reduced to a quarter of the number in the previous period.” Jacques Courtois, reporting the results of a survey in the valley of the Orontes, writes of the “extreme density of habitation of the plain in the Bronze Age, and particularly in the Early Bronze Age.” (Syria, 50 [1973], p. 99). In eastern Arabia “a sharp downturn in settlements and activity becomes apparent” after ca. 2000 B.C. (Michael Rice, “The States of Archaeology in Eastern Arabia and the Persian Gulf,” Asian Affairs, 64 [1977], p. 143). According to Kathleen Kenyon, “The final end of the Early Bronze Age civilization came with catastrophic completeness . . . Jericho . . . was probably completely destroyed. . . . Every town in Palestine that has so far been investigated shows the same break. . . . All traces of the Early Bronze Age civilization disappeared.” (Archaeology in the Holy Land [London, 1960], p. 134). According to Ernest Wright, “one of the most striking facts about the Early Bronze civilization is its destruction, one so violent that scarcely a vestige of it survived. We do not know when the event took place; we only know that there is not an Early Bronze Age city excavated or explored in all Palestine which does not have a gap in its occupation between Early Bronze Age III and the Middle Bronze Age. To date this gap, we know that it must be approximately contemporary with a similar period in Egypt called the ‘First Intermediate Period’ between dynasties VI and XI (ca. 22nd and 21st centuries B.C.).” (“The Archaeology of Palestine” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright [1961], p. 103).

The destruction can be traced also in Greece. “The destruction of the Early Helladic II town at Lerna in the eastern Peloponnese” is an example of “the widespread and violent destruction that occurred ca. 2300 B.C. in the Aegean and East Mediterranean” (Marija Gimbutas, “The Destruction of the Aegean and East Mediterranean Urban Civilization around 2300 B.C.,” Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean, ed. by R. A. Crossland and Ann Birchall [London, 1973], pp. 129f.) For Lerna, see also J. Caskey, “The Early Helladic Period in the Argolid,” Hesperia 29 (1960), pp. 289-290. “The burning of the House of Tiles . . . was the end of an era at Lerna.” The settlement “came to a violent end.” Not only Lerna, but also “the tiled buildings at Tiryns and Asine were destroyed by fire.”

It is quite probable that the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur occurred at the same time. Thorkild Jacobsen wonders about “the reasons for the dire catastrophes that befell the city of Ur in the reign of Ibbi-Suen, the sudden collapse of its great empire, and the later utter destruction of the city itself at the hands of barbarian invaders. . . . How an empire like that of the Third Dynasty of Ur . . . could so quickly collapse is really quite puzzling.” (“The Reign of Ibbi-Suen,” The Journal of Cuneiform Studies 7 (1953), p. 36. Although Jacobsen refers to the text known as “Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur,” he does not treat it seriously. Yet this poem provides specific information about the causes of the disaster. It speaks of a “storm’s cyclone-like destruction” (99), of a “storm that annihilates the land” (178), “in front of the storm fires burned; the people groan” (188). It tells of the sun being obscured: “In the land the bright sun rose not, like the evening star it shone” (191). It describes earthquakes that shook the land: “the destructive storm makes the land tremble and quake” (199). “In all the streets, where they were wont to promenade, dead bodies were lying about” (217). “Mothers and fathers who did not leave their houses were overcome by fire; the young lying on their mothers’ laps like fish were carried off by the waters” (228-229). The city, prostrated by the storm “which overwhelmed the living creatures of heaven and earth,” fell prey to hostile tribes and was looted. See S. N. Kramer, “Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton, 1950). Another lament, Oh, Angry Sea, transl. by R. Kutscher (Yale University Press, 1975), tells of the destruction of Ur, Larsa, Nippur, Sippar, Babylon and Isin by inundations sent by Enlil. I consider Enlil to be Jupiter.].
4. Schaeffer, Stratigraphie comparee, p. 537. In Alaca Huyuk there are unequivocal signs that an earthquake was responsible for the destruction (pp. 296f.). Cf. B. Bell, “The Dark Ages in Ancient History,” American Journal of Archaeology 75 (1971).
5. [The archaeological evidence uncovered in recent years strongly supports the conclusion that the cities of the plain flourished during the Early Bronze Age and that their destruction took place at the end of this period, more specifically at the end of EB III. See H. Shanks, “Have Sodom and Gomorrah Been Found?” Biblical Archaeology Review VI:5 (Sept./Oct. 1980), p. 28. Cf. D. Cardona, “Jupiter—God of Abraham (Part III),” KRONOS Vol. VIII.1 (1982), pp. 69ff.]

Also see my posts on the Deluge: Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations; and The Sumerian Noah Built an Ark — and So Did Others.

sourceThe Deluge by Paul Gustave Doré, from Doré's English Bible, 1865.

source
The Deluge by Paul Gustave Doré, from Doré’s English Bible, 1865.

Dwarves and Bizarre Religious Rites Popular with Both Ancient Egyptians, Mesoamericans

Located far away from one another, without known interactions, how did the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Mesoamericans have so much in common? (Mesoamerica extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and was home to many pre-Columbian societies.)

Trait Ancient Egypt Ancient Mesoamerica

Loves and reveres dwarves. Believes dwarves are connected to the gods. Loves to watch dwarves dance. Makes lots of art showing dwarves.

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Religious system is built about nine all-powerful deities.

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Gods who die can be reborn as a star.

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To help a soul ascend directly to the heavens, without a journey through the underworld first, the high priest and four helpers conduct a ceremony at a pyramid, hitting the body very hard with a ceremonial knife.

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The afterlife is a journey full of peril, involving travel in a boat with a dog or dog-headed god, a bird or bird-headed god, and an ape or ape-headed god. The hearts of the dead are devoured by beasts.

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Graham Hancock, in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods, suggests that the Egyptians and Mesoamericans did not somehow influence each other, but were independently influenced by a third party, an advanced civilization that may have disappeared under an ice age. Hancock also points out many similarities between these two cultures and Sumeria, including the fact that all three sprang into existence seemingly from nowhere, with writing, science, mathematics, and many other skills appearing in an advanced state, with no developmental stages.

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a … Mace? Get a Clue

A jet nose-driving prior to crashing at a Chinese air show.

A jet nose-driving prior to crashing at a Chinese air show.

When I saw a recent photo of a jet nose-diving at a Chinese air show, it jogged a long-standing question in my mind. Why do anthropologists and archaeologists call rock-art pictures such as the ones in this post “maces”? My suggestion for an answer is “Because their academic world-view does not allow them to see these pictures as airplanes or spaceships.”

Here’s a precolumbian Mesoamerican “avian-motif stone” that served as a macehead:

Later maces look quite a bit different:

In the spring 2011 article “America’s Ancient Cave Art,” from the Paris Review, via slate.com, John Jeremiah Sullivan makes an interesting observation. He and his colleague are lying on their backs in a Tennessee cave, looking up at a “panel” of images:

…And last a picture of a crown mace, a thing shaped like an elongated bishop in chess, meant to represent a symbolic weapon, possibly held by the chiefly elite during public rituals. It’s a ‘type artifact’ of the Mississippian sphere, meaning that, wherever you find it [in the U.S.], you have the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, or, as it used to be called (and still is by archaeologists when they think no one’s listening), the Southern Death Cult. In this case the object appeared to be morphing into a bird of prey.

See this post for more (mind-blowing) S.E.C.C. art. Also, see the post on Thunder Gods. There are some very interesting photos of cave art that accompany Mr. Sullivan’s’ article, especially this one.

The University of Arkansas offers a website with many good pictures of local rock art, including many pictures of maces, and also this rather amazing rock art picture:

Meanwhile, while researching “mace,” I wasn’t surprised to discover that (as with the ancient Thunderbird gods), the U.S. Air Force is using the name. The USAF used to have a surface-to-surface missile it named the Mace, and still has a tactical squadron of jet fighters called the Royal Maces.

'Hawk petroglyph with crown mace wings,' Devil Step Hollow Cave, Tennessee.

‘Hawk petroglyph with crown mace wings,’ Devil Step Hollow Cave, Tennessee.

What Swallowed Jonah and Why?

Raised with Sunday School sensationalism, I was aware that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, but the finer points escaped me. The info I picked up from Geppetto and Pinocchio’s Disney adventures inside Monstro was not much help, either. Now I’ve learned the whole Jonah story, or as much of it as has survived the ages.

The Jonah best-known to Yahweh-followers is an Israeli prophet circa 8th century BCE, whose story is told in the Bible’s Book of Jonah. Many Christians call him a saint. Jewish tradition has it that Jonah was the boy that Elijah is famous for bringing back to life. He is one of the 12 minor prophets in the Tanakh, and the Book of Jonah is read every year on Yom Kippur. Jonah (Yunus in Arabic) is a very important Islamic prophet, and the big fish story in the Qur’an is very similar to the Bible’s. Jonah may be the Oannes of the Babylonians, and the Jason of the Greeks.

The whale in the story was originally a big fish, becoming a whale in a 16th-century Bible mistranslation. Even so, scientists assert that there is no known sea creature that would swallow a man whole. Some whales eat plankton and would choke on a herring. Others, while capable of consuming something the size of a man, have shown no interest in doing so, and prefer to chew their food first. The big fishes under consideration all have deal-breaker problems, such as sharp turns in their gullets, or throats only four inches wide.

And let’s not forget: Jonah stays “in the belly of the fish” for three days and nights, praying about how sorry he is. What kind of fish would allow that? And how did all this happen?

It all starts when Yahweh tells Jonah, a minor prophet, to go to the city of Nineveh and warn its people that Yahweh is offended by their behavior and they have 40 days to shape up or the city will be destroyed. Instead of doing Yahweh’s bidding, Jonah leaves town and gets on a ship going the other direction.

If you’re familiar with how Yahweh mistreats his prophets, you can’t help rooting for Jonah. But it’s very hard to hide from God, as Jonah discovers when Yahweh sends a “mighty tempest in the sea,” such a ferocious storm the sailors have never seen anything like it. Jonah tells them it is his fault and that they should throw him overboard. With some moral qualms, they do (although why he didn’t just jump, I don’t know), and the storm stops. The sailors become on-the-spot true believers in Yahweh, and fire up the sacrificial altar (throw some shrimp on the barbie, in Australian).

Jonah, meanwhile, is right where Yahweh wants him.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

After three days and nights in the belly of the fish, after Jonah repeatedly says he is so, so sorry, and he will do whatever Yahweh wants:

Jonah 2:10 …the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

So then Jonah goes to Nineveh and tells everybody they’d better repent, and, to his fury, they listen to him. Everybody from the king on down to the sheep fasts and puts on sackcloth and ashes, repenting.

Why is Jonah upset? Because these people are Assyrians, hated enemies of Judah and Israel. He wants Yahweh to nuke them. He is angry that he had to go warn them, and he is angry that they listened to him and aren’t going to get destroyed, and his pride is hurt because he is going to look like his prophecy has failed. He actually camps outside the town for a while, hoping it will get destroyed. Yahweh asks him if he is angry, and he replies, basically, “You bet I am.” But Yahweh is impressed with the sackcloth and ashes, and spares the city, while Jonah continues to wish Yahweh’s mercy would be reserved for the Israelites.

I think it’s obvious, from a 21st-century perspective, that the fish/whale/sea monster that Jonah entered and stayed in for three days and nights was a vehicle that Yahweh sent to fetch him, just as the flying elephants and thunderbirds and dragons associated with sky gods were vehicles under their control. The sky vehicles are now called UFOs, and the sea monsters are now called USOs (Unidentified Submarine Objects).

As with UFOs, people have been having encounters with USO “sea monsters” in oceans, lakes, and rivers throughout the world for thousands of years.

I’m sure that being forced into whatever “swallowed” Jonah was a severe shock to his system, but the “great fish” was no more a fish than the Lernaean hydra was a many-headed water serpent (with “poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly”), no more than Indra’s flying Airavata was a three-headed elephant. Mythical animals often have the characteristics of vehicles (such as being made of bronze).

Btw, as a Biblical prophet, Jonah had it easy — compared to Isaiah, for instance, who had to walk around naked for three years, or Ezekiel, who had to lie on his side for 390 days and eat “measured food.”

Who knows what Yahweh was thinking?

Humans Were Created to Be Workers According to Religious Texts

It looks like Adam is the only one getting any work done. It looks like Adam is the only one getting any work done.

A recurring piece of information found in ancient creation stories is that humans were created to be workers. Although people commonly speak of freedom as mankind’s birthright, that’s not so if you believe the ancient texts — we were created to serve “God” or “the gods” as physical laborers.

Despite numerous images of Adam and Eve lolling about in the Garden of Eden, enjoying paradise, Bible scripture says otherwise. Adam’s (and presumably Eve’s) job was to take care of the garden:

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it [apply fertilizer to it] and to keep it.

Many events in Genesis have strong parallels with earlier Mesopotamian “myths.” For instance, the Biblical creation story has long been recognized as sharing numerous key similarities with the Babylonian creation story, the Enuma Elish (“When on High”), which itself is thought to be a version of earlier Sumerian texts, such as the Eridu Genesis, updated to feature the contemporary Babylonian pantheon.

In both the Mesopotamian accounts and in Genesis, one god makes the suggestion (in the Mesopotamian versions, to a divine council) that they make man in “our” (plural) own image.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….

The Akkadian text Epic of Atrahasis (an “exceedingly wise” king) re-tells the Enuma Elish story of the rebellion of the Minor Gods (the Igigi), who were working hard digging canals or mining gold, depending on the story, and the subsequent creation of humans by the Great Gods (the Anunnaki) so that humans could take over the work:

When the gods, like man, bore the work, carried the labor-basket—the labor-basket of the great gods—the work was heavy, much was the distress.

The seven great Anunnaki caused the Igigi to bear the work.

Forty more years they bore the labor night and day. They wearied, complained, grumbled in the workpits. “Let us confront the throne-bearer that he may remove from us our heavy labor….”

They set fire to their implements, to their spades [they set] fire, their labor-baskets into the flames they threw. They held them [as torches]; they went to the gate of the shrine of hero Enlil. It was night; at mid-watch the house was surrounded; the god did not know. It was night; at mid-watch the Ekur was surrounded; Enlil did not know.

When Enlil wakes up to find his house surrounded by irate minor gods, the Divine Council is called together to address the problem. Enki has a suggestion:

“While [Nintu the birth-goddess] is present, let the birth-goddess create the offspring, let man bear the labor-basket of the gods.”

They called the goddess and asked [her], the midwife of the gods, wise Mami: “you are the birthgoddess, creatress of man. Create lul[l]u-man, let him bear the yoke. Let him bear the yoke, the work of Enlil; let man carry the labor-basket of the gods.”

Nintu opened her mouth and said to the great gods, ‘It is not properly mine to do these things. He is the one who purifies all; let him give me the clay, and I will do (it).”

Did you notice that the mother of humankind is named “Mami”? Nearly every language on Earth uses a word for “Mommy” that sounds like the goddess name. And did you notice that the first humans are called “lulus” (supposedly means workers or bunnies or wanton or …? I’m still trying to find a reliable translation)?

For the fascinating and appalling details of how Mami and Enlil proceed to create lulus (involving the killing of a god and the use of his flesh and blood and the spit of all the gods), see Enki and the Creation of Humankind.

In most ancient religions, the people were considered slaves of the city’s god, and the priests, as intermediaries, controlled everyone’s lives. It seems clear if you look at the history and current state of the world that slavery is more our birthright than freedom. We’ve been the worker-slaves of those “above us” — whatever form they take — for millennia.

A New Look at King David’s Song of Deliverance The Shield of Thy Salvation

The Triumph of David, circa 1630, by Nicolas Poussin. That's Goliath's head hanging at right. The Triumph of David, circa 1630, by Nicolas Poussin. That’s Goliath’s head hanging on the right.

David’s Song of Deliverance is well known as a beautiful Bible song praising Yahweh—but you should see the parts they ignore.

King David of Israel wrote this song to thank Yahweh for delivering him from his enemies. It sounds as if Yahweh gave David superpowers and super-weapons (for instance, “by my God I have leaped over a wall”). When he says God has given him “the shield of thy salvation,” it sounds like he’s speaking literally. This kind of physical help in battle — saving David from his enemies — may well be where the concept of salvation originated.

2 Samuel 22:1 And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song, in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:

7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13 Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice.
15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16 And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17 He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters:

30 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.

33 God is my strength and power; and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ [deer] feet; and setteth me upon my high places.
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.

43 Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth: I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.

Exodus: Into the Wilderness with Moses The Parting of the Red Sea and So Forth

For earlier parts of the Moses story, see:

He_led_them_by_a_pillar_of_cloud

So… Yahweh led the million-plus Hebrews towards the land of the Canaanites, which he promised them would be their new land:

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

After a while, Yahweh told Moses to have his people camp in a certain place, backed up to the Red Sea (or perhaps the Sea of Reeds), where the Pharaoh would think they were vulnerable and come after them — because Yahweh was still “hardening the heart” of the Pharaoh and wanting to display his might. Pharaoh took the bait and sent all his horses and chariots and armies against the Hebrews, who became alarmed when the huge forces appeared — and blamed Moses for bringing them to die in the wilderness when they had been better off as slaves in Egypt. Moses said, Stand back and watch Yahweh defend you; you’ll never see these Egyptians again. Then Moses went calling to God for help:

Exodus 14:15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

So Yahweh’s plan was for Moses to lift his rod, the sea would split, the Israelites would cross over, and then the sea would close upon the pursuing Egyptians. The night before this was to take place, the “angel of God” placed itself between the Hebrews and the Egyptians, as did the pillar of cloud, to protect them.

Moses Parts Red Sea

Moses then stretched out his hand (or rod?) over the sea, and the sea was pushed back by a “strong east wind” Yahweh caused to blow all night. The Hebrews were able to cross the sea on dry ground, while the pursuing Egyptians ran into trouble crossing the seabed when Yahweh took off their chariot wheels. He then told Moses to stretch out his hand (rod?) again, and the water returned, drowning all of Pharaoh’s troops. The Israelites were finally convinced that Yahweh was a God to be feared and believed in.

Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

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After crossing the sea, the Israelites traveled through the wilderness for three days without finding water — and blamed Moses.

Exodus 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

Pretty soon, people were complaining about the lack of food, blaming Moses. It did no good for Moses to tell them that blaming him was like blaming Yahweh. Yahweh told Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven;” but first he appeared before the Israelites.

Exodus 16:9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmurings.
10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

God told Moses to tell the people that there would be plenty to eat, quail every evening, and bread every morning. And indeed every evening “quails came up, and covered the camp.” And in the morning, with the evaporation of the dew, there was manna from heaven.

Exodus 16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

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Moses imparted Yahweh’s instructions to gather exactly how much manna they needed and to eat all of that, setting aside none for the morning. Nevertheless, some people kept some for later, and in the morning, it was full of worms and stank, and Moses was angry. For five days the Hebrews harvested and ate manna, and then on the sixth day there was twice as much manna as usual — which extra amount kept without spoiling so they had enough for both the sixth day and the seventh day, the sabbath, upon which day they were told to “abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So they ate manna for forty years, as they journeyed to Canaan, complaining about it more or less continually.

Exodus 16:31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

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The Hebrews again couldn’t find water, and blamed Moses.

Exodus 17:4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

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After a while, the Israelites had to deal with a war. Moses told Joshua to get his men together to go out and fight the enemy Amalek, while he would go stand on top of a hill with “the rod of God” in his hand.

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Whenever Moses held up his hand (or hands?), the Hebrews would win. Whenever he put his hand(s) down, the other side would win. But his hands were so heavy that he couldn’t keep them up; so he sat down on a stone, and Aaron and Moses’s nephew Hur held his hands aloft until sundown.

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Exodus 17:8 Then came Am’alek, and fought with Israel in Reph’idim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Am’alek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Am’alek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Am’alek prevailed.
12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Am’alek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Judges 5:4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.

Notes:

Moringa as Water Purifier. One possibility for the tree Moses used to purify water is the moringa tree. It likes dry, sandy, tropical to semi-desert conditions, and its seeds have been proven to purify water. It has many names in many languages, including some that translate as “tree of paradise” and “cannot be killed by the dry season.” When crushed moringa seeds are mixed with water, they create positively charged proteins, which attract the negatively charged bacteria and particles. In 1995, researchers at the University of Leicester released the results of a study showing that moringa seeds treat water as well as the commercial chemicals that are usually used — clearing the water of solids, and removing 90 to 99.99 percent of the bacteria.

The Pillar of Cloud. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that the Haggadah, the Jewish religious text that tells the story of Passover…mentions not one, but seven, “clouds of glory” as having accompanied Israel on its march through the desert; namely, one on each of the four sides, and one above, one below, and one in front of, these four. According to another passage there were even thirteen clouds, two on each side, two above, two below, and one in front. Others, again, speak of only four, or of two (Mek., Beshalla, i.; Sifre, Num. 83). The cloud in front prepared the way by leveling the heights and depths…, killing the snakes, and making the way pleasant. [These “clouds of glory” prevented the garments of the Israelites from becoming soiled or worn during the forty years in the wilderness].

From Wikipedia:

“Canaan: the biblical name for the area of ancient Palestine west of the Jordan River, the Promised Land of the Israelites, who conquered and occupied it during the latter part of the 2nd millennium bc.

“Canaan (Phoenician: ____________ or ________, Kana_n; Hebrew: ________ K_ná_an; Arabic: _____ Kan__n) is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel, Lebanon, and adjoining coastal lands, including parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the “Land of Canaan” extends from Lebanon southward to the “Brook of Egypt” and eastward to the Jordan River Valley.

“The Canaanites (Hebrew: ______, Modern Kna’anim Tiberian K_na__nîm) are said to have been one of seven regional ethnic divisions or “nations” driven out before the Israelites following the Exodus. Specifically, the other nations include the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites (Deuteronomy 7:1).”

Numbers 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

See Wikipedia entry on Manna

The clothing and shoes of Exodus travelers did not wear out even after 40 years:

Deuteronomy 8:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

Conquering Canaan/Promised Land

Popol Vuh, 4 patriarchs tell their children: “Go on your way and you shall see again the place from which we came.”

Eibp, “The return to the ancestral land [promised] is a major theme in the Bible,” starting w/Genesis 15:7-16.

Both Popol Vuh and Genesis divide people into 3 groups. Genesis says descendants of 3 brothers Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Ten lost tribes of Israel (besides Judah and Benjamin), conquered by Assyrians. South America? 17th cent. Jewish traveler said he met Indians reciting shema, devout Jewish prayer. American Indians religion/Hebrew practices? Jews of Ethioia/tribe of Dan? Bene Israel – Jewish community in India.

The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens

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For parts 1 and 2 of this story, see The Early Days of Moses and Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart.

To recap a bit: Moses frees the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah by inflicting ten plagues. They leave in a hurry, “borrowing” silver and gold jewelry, and clothes from the Egyptians, which items would later be used to build the Ark of the Covenant and its Tabernacle.

So, in the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the Sinai desert, where they camped “before the mount”:

Exodus 19:2 For they were departed from Reph’idim, and were come to the desert of Si’nai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.

The people say they’ll follow God’s rules, so God tells Moses to go among the people and sanctify them for two days, and they must wash their clothes, and then God will appear to them on the third day. Moses is also supposed to warn the people that they must not climb the mountain:

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Exodus 19:12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 there shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

So, it came to pass…

Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Si’nai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20 And the Lord came down upon mount Si’nai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.
22 And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.
23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Si’nai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24 And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.

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Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments to the gathered Israelites, mentioning a few points that are generally ignored when listing the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law on Mt. Sinai

Then the frightened people begged Moses to speak to them on Yahweh’s behalf, rather than have Yahweh speak to them directly.

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

God then gave Moses more rules to convey to the people: no golden or silver god images, build a certain kind of altar, perform a certain kind of animal sacrifice. He offered a great many other rules of his covenant that his people were required to follow if they wanted Yahweh’s help and to escape his wrath. The first section dealt with the treatment of servants. For instance:

Exodus 21:2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
6 then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

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Then there were some laws concerning violence and responsibility, some clearly cribbed from other ancient codes:

Exodus 21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

A lot of laws about restitution and oxen and thievery followed, then some laws about human relations:

Exodus 22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
24 and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
26 If thou at all take thy neighbor’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
27 for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.
28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors. The firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.

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The laws went on and on, a lot of rules for behavior, including that they must let their fields sit fallow in the seventh year, and that they must rest on each seventh day, so that “thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”

Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

Then Yahweh urged the people to move on, saying he was sending an angel in front of them to show them the way, and would also send “hornets” before them, to drive out the peoples currently occupying the land God wanted his Israelites to have.

Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Per’izzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites; and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfill.
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come; and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

Yahweh told Moses to bring some influential people closer, so as to see him, but not too close.

Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abi’hu, and seventy of the elders of Israel;
10 and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

The New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates verse 10 as “and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” Moses was told to come up to Yahweh “into the mount” to collect some stone tables (tablets):

Exodus 24:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Si’nai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

It isn’t clear from these verses whether Moses spent six days hanging around waiting to be invited in, or whether he made two visits “into the mount,” one of seven days and one of forty days.

The people got tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mount, and they asked Aaron to make them some gods they could believe in. They were used to worshipping idols, and this invisible god thing made them nervous. So Aaron made a golden calf and built an altar in front of it and made a sacrifice. He told the Israelites that, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” The he informed them they’d have a “feast to the Lord” the next day. He seemed to understand that they needed a representation of their god that they could see, and in fact all the people’s grumblings ceased as they enjoyed the festival day.

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But Yahweh had been watching what they were up to, and he’d had enough. He was ready to destroy the Israelites:

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Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked [haughty and stubborn] people:
10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

So, Yahweh suggested to Moses that he wanted to just wipe out this failed experiment and start over with Moses as the father of “a great nation.” But Moses talked him out of it, reminding Yahweh that the Egyptians would be pleased if he destroyed the Hebrews, and that Yahweh had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Israel there would be a promised land for their descendants.

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Finally, Moses came down from the mount carrying two tablets containing the ten commandments and the covenant:

Exodus 32:15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

As Moses approached the camp, he heard the sound of singing; then he saw the calf and the dancing, and he threw the tablets out of his hands “and brake them beneath the mount.” In those days, a covenant that was no longer in effect would be literally broken (being written in stone or ceramic), so Moses was just stating the obvious. [Earlier the people had agreed to follow the covenant.]

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Then he did something really interesting:

Exodus 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

[Musings about the ‘white powder of gold’.]

Moses was irritated with Aaron, but let him off lightly. On the other hand, when Moses noticed “the people were naked,” all hell broke loose.

Exodus 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked, (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies,)
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.

To summarize, Moses asked who was on the side of the god Yahweh. The male members of the tribe of Levi (who were charged with the Hebrews’ priestly duties as opposed to the military duties the other 11 tribes took on) all came to stand by Moses. He told them that Yahweh had said they were to go to the camps of the various Hebrew tribes and each man was to kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor. So they did, slaying about three thousand men. They did this like an entrance exam to be worthy of the favor of Yahweh.

The next day Moses went back up to the mount to see if he could “make an atonement for your sin.”

Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if you will forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written.

Yahweh explained he was going to blot sinners out of his book, period, and that Moses should get back down and lead the people towards Canaan. Yahweh was angry, and although “mine angel shall go before thee,” Yahweh went out of his way to make the journey difficult for the Israelites.

Exodus 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Yahweh told Moses to tell the people that they were “stiffnecked” and he was going to “come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee” unless they took off their “ornaments,” which they did, by the mount.

Exodus 33:5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

The next day Moses went back up to the mount to see if he could “make an atonement for your sin.”

Yahweh told Moses to go hew another couple of stone tablets to the same specs as the first pair, now broken, and to meet him in the morning on the top of the mount.

Exodus 34:3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Si’nai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD….

10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Per’izzite, and the Hivite, and the Jeb’usite.
12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13 but ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: Deut. 16.21
14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Moses stayed on the mount with Yahweh for 40 days and 40 nights, during which time he wrote on the tablet the 10 commandments plus the covenant, a long list of rules — for instance, keep the sabbath, undertake thrice-yearly pilgrimages, and do “not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.”

Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Yahweh dictated to Moses the kinds of offerings the people were required to make to him, and said they must use those offerings to make him a sanctuary so that he “may dwell among them.” See the Ark of the Covenant.

The_erection_of_the_Tabernacle_and_the_Sacred_vessels

Notes:

Circumcision
Joshua 5: Gilgal circumcisions
Jesus says no in gospel of Thomas

circumcision-Perugino,_Viaggio_di_Mosè_in_Egitto_04

The First Circumcision,
Zipporah at the inn
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipporah
“After all the men in Egypt who had sought his death had died, God commanded Moses to return to Egypt. Moses took his wife and sons and started his journey back to Egypt. On the road, they stayed in an inn, where a mysterious and much-debated incident that features Zipporah took place. The Bible tells us that God came to kill Moses (Exodus 4:24-27). The passage contains four of the most difficult sentences in Biblical text.”

Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.
26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

Zipporah quickly circumcised Gershom with a sharp stone and touched Moses’ feet with it, saying “A bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision.” (Exodus 4:26.) One possible interpretation is that something (perhaps God, perhaps an agent of God) tries to kill Moses, until Zipporah carries out a circumcision on their son. Other interpretations suggest that it is their son, Gershom, who is attacked, and yet another is that Moses tries to kill his own son and only after Zipporah cuts the child’s foreskin, drawing blood and pain, does his anger subside.

“While Exodus is unambiguous about Yahweh (God) himself performing the attack on Moses, other texts make the attacker an “angel of the Lord”.

“The version in the Book of Jubilees (2nd century BC) is attributing the attack to Prince Mastema, a title that was another name for Satan:

… and what Prince Mastema desired to do with you when you returned to Egypt, on the way when you met him at the shelter. Did he not desire to kill you with all of his might and save the Egyptians from your hand because he saw that you were sent to execute judgment and vengeance upon the Egyptians? And I delivered you from his hand and you did the signs and wonders which you were sent to perform in Egypt. —Jubilees 48:2-4

“The Septuagint version subtly alters the text by translating the Tetragrammaton not as κύριος “the lord” but as ἄγγελος κυρίου “the angel of the lord”. “Angel” (ἄγγελος ) is the translation throughout the Septuagint of the Hebrew “mal’ak”, the term for the manifestation of Yahweh to humanity. (It is the mal’ak that speaks to Moses from the burning bush).”

“The standard interpretation of the passage is that Yahweh wants to kill Moses for neglecting the rite of circumcision of his son. Zipporah averts disaster by reacting quickly and hastily performing the rite, thus saving her husband from Yahweh’s anger.

“In Hebrew, the word “feet” is used as an euphemism for the word “genitals.” Very few translators chose to use the word “genitals” in their interpretation, so it’s not clear what Zipporah touched with the bloody foreskin.

“The Hebrew for “bridegroom of blood” written as “hatan dimim,” is derived from a Semitic root verb which means “perform marriage.” In the Arabic language this phrase is linked to Hebrew, but means “perform circumcision.” In ancient Akkadian language related to Arabic and Aramaic/Hebrew, this phrase means “to protect.”

“Zipporah was a Midian woman. Midian is present day Saudi Arabia where Arabic is spoken. However, in Zipporah‘s day, Akkadian was spoken. In the ancient Akkadian language, casting the foreskin meant “to protect.” So “You are a bridegroom of blood,” can also mean, “This blood will protect you.”[1]

“The details of the passage are unclear and subject to debate. One problem is that the text uses pronouns multiple times, without ever identifying which of the three individuals of Moses, Yahweh (the LORD), and Moses and Zipporah’s son, is being referred to by each instance. In particular, it is unclear whose feet, Yahweh’s, Moses’ or her son’s, Zipporah touches with the foreskin, and the meaning of “bloody bridegroom”.

Abraham_Took_Ishmael_with_All_the_Males_Born_in_His_House_and_Circumcised_Them

Goltzius_circumcision

Isaac's_circumcision,_Regensburg_c1300

“Cleanliness” of animals in the Bible determines whether they can be eaten or not. Presumably, Noah took more of the clean animals onto the Ark (seven pairs as opposed to two) to serve as food.

Information re what was okay to eat is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Animals were clean if they had cloven (split) hooves and they did not chew their cud. Water-dwelling creatures who did not have fins and scales were unclean. “Every creeping thing that flieth” was unclean, and so on.

These are the animals specifically mentioned in the Bible as unclean (although translations vary):

Bat
Camel
Chameleon
Coney (Hyrax)
Cormorant
Cuckow
Eagle
Ferret
Gier Eagle[4]
Glede
Great Owl[5]
Hare
Hawk
Heron
Kite
Lapwing
Little Owl
Lizard
Mole
Mouse
Night Hawk
Osprey
Ossifrage
Owl
Pelican
Raven
Snail
Stork
Swine
Tortoise
Vulture
Weasel

Here are animals that, while not specifically mentioned in the Bible as unclean, fulfill the requirements of uncleanliness.

Abalone
Alligator
Ape
Bear
Cat
Catfish
Cheetah
Clam
Cockatoo
Crow
Dog
Dolphin
Eel
Elephant
Fox
Gecko
Gibbon
Hedgehog
Horse
Hyena
Iguana
Jaguar
Kangaroo
Koala
Kookaburra
Leopard
Lion
Lobster
Lynx
Magpie
Parrot
Penguin
Prawns
Quokka
Quoll
Rhinoceros
Ratel
Raccoon
Rat
Scallop
Seal
Shark
Squid
Squirrel
Snake
Starfish
Skunk
Tasmanian Devil
Tiger
Turtle
Umbrella bird
Viper
Wallaby
Wolf
Wombat
Worm

cud |k_d|
noun
partly digested food returned from the first stomach of ruminants to the mouth for further chewing.
PHRASES
chew the cud 1 (of a ruminant animal) further chew partly digested food. 2 think or talk reflectively.
ORIGIN Old English cwidu, cudu, of Germanic origin; related to German Kitt ‘cement, putty’ and Swedish kåda ‘resin.’

Numbers 5:11 bitter water test
Numbers 15:32: Man stoned for gathering sticks on the Sabbath

Healing on the Sabbath

Luke 14:3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

Numbers 16:2: Yahweh destroys rebel Hebrews, leaders swallowed[?], supporters fired.

Numbers 20:12: Moses disobeys Yahweh, denied promised land. Deut 34:6: Moses is buried.

Yom kippur should not be atone, should be purge/purify, levit 16:1-28, htrtb p. 74
Noah’s covenant
Abram’s covenant
Isaac’s covenant
Moses’s covenant(s): 10 commandments #1 and #2
Each covenant from diff time period, w/diff “ideological perspective” p. 69-72 htrtb/brettler
Covenant (Code) Collection exodus 20:19-23:33

Priestly code and Holiness code collection of Leviticus 17-26 et al.
Ordination of Aaron and his sons
Priests

2 Chronicles 26:19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar.
20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the Lord had smitten him.
21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord….

A Blasphemer Stoned [?]
Deuteronomic law collection, deut 12-26

Next: Exodus: Into the Wilderness with Moses

Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart

'The Angel of Death and the First Passover.

‘The Angel of Death and the First Passover.’ Because this family have identified themselves as Hebrew by sacrificing a lamb and smearing the doorposts with its blood, their firstborn will be spared the death inflicted on other firstborns. In the background, the Lord’s angel flies with his weapon.

For the first part of this story, see The Early Days of Moses.

To recap a bit, Yahweh (or his angel) appeared in a burning bush and told Moses his mission from God was to go back to Egypt, free the Hebrew slaves, and lead them to the promised land, Canaan, which was already occupied by numerous tribes.

Moses was not interested in fulfilling this mission; he explained that he wasn’t eloquent enough, and that no one would ever believe Yahweh had appeared to him. The god told him that Moses’s brother Aaron was a good speaker and would help out, and that Yahweh himself would put the right words in Moses’s mouth. He also provided Moses with a rod that turned into a serpent and a couple of extra miracles to use if needed—an appearing/disappearing leprosy and the ability to turn river water into blood.

So Moses, along with Aaron, went to Egypt and organized the Hebrew slaves, and then went before the Pharaoh to demand the slaves’ release.

Moses_and_Aaron_before_Pharaoh-An_Allegory_of_the_Dinteville_Family',_oil_on_wood,_mid_16th_century

Moses made his rod turn into a snake, but the Pharaoh was not impressed. He called his own wise men/sorcerer/magicians, and they also threw down rods that became serpents, although Moses’s snake ate the others.

Exodus 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

In the Young Literal Translation, the rods do not become serpents; they become monsters.

Exodus 7:10 And Moses goeth in — Aaron also — unto Pharaoh, and they do so as Jehovah hath commanded; and Aaron casteth his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it becometh a monster.
11 And Pharaoh also calleth for wise men, and for sorcerers; and the scribes of Egypt, they also, with their flashings, do so,
12 and they cast down each his rod, and they become monsters, and the rod of Aaron swalloweth their rods….

The_Rods_of_Moses_and_the_Magicians_Turned_into_Serpents

But Pharaoh did not relent. In fact, he made life even worse for the Hebrew slaves, who blamed Moses and Aaron. So Moses tried another trick, holding the rod above the river, which turned the water to blood, so that the fish died, and the river stank, and nobody could drink the water. But the Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to do the same trick, so the Pharaoh refused to give an inch.

Exodus 7:20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.
23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.

Next Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that if he didn’t let his people go, there would be frogs:

Exodus 8:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
3 and the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:
4 and the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.

Pharoah didn’t blink at the threat, so Yahweh told Moses to tell Aaron to hold the rod “over the waters of Egypt,” and, sure enough, frogs infested the land. The Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to conjure up some frogs, too, but Pharaoh was desperate to get rid of the ones Moses and Yahweh had brought, so he told Moses that if he’d get rid of the frogs, the Hebrews would be given their freedom. So Moses went and talked to Yahweh (it’s never clear how he talks to Yahweh, except for the times he goes up into the mount and talks face to face), who obligingly killed all the frogs. The people heaped them into huge stinking piles. But, once the frogs were dead, Pharaoh went back on his promise.

Bad move, since Yahweh upped the game with a massive infestation of lice (sometimes translated as “gnats”).

Exodus 8:16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

The magicians tried to make more lice, but they couldn’t. They told Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God,” but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. So then Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that flies were going to be next — except there would be no flies in the Hebrew’s area of residence, the land of Goshen. (Does this mean Goshen got the earlier frogs and lice?) “Flies” is sometimes translated as beetles, insects, dog-flies, or even wild animals. But Pharaoh wouldn’t buckle, so:

Exodus 8:24 And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.

Now under serious duress, Pharaoh said, Okay, I’ll let you all go away to worship your god — although I won’t let you go quite so far away as you ask — just get rid of the flies. So Moses told Yahweh the deal, and Yahweh got rid of every single fly. But Pharaoh again went back on his word.

Next came a plague of pestilence upon the Egyptians’ cattle; the plague did not touch Hebrew cattle.

Exodus 9:1 Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
3 behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain [epidemic, infectious disease].
4 And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel.
5 And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land.
6 And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead.

But Pharaoh still refused to relent. After all, by some accounts [including Exodus], Egypt held 600,000 male Hebrew slaves, plus their wives, children, and herds. [historicity] So Yahweh told Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and told Moses to sprinkle it towards the heavens with the Pharaoh watching.

Exodus 9:10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains [sores] upon man, and upon beast.
11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

So the Egyptian sorcerers could not match Moses’ trick. But Pharaoh still would not relent. So Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that he would send a plague of “very grievous hail.” The hail turned out to be fiery, and every unsheltered man, beast, herb, and tree was destroyed — except in the Hebrew area, the land of Goshen, where there was no hail.

Exodus 9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
20 He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21 and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

Moses went a short distance out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord, for he did not desire to pray to God within, where there were many idols and images. At once the hail remained suspended in the air. Part of it dropped down while Joshua was engaged in battle with the Amorites, and the rest God will send down in his fury against Gog. —Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg, Book 2.

The Seventh Plague.

“The Seventh Plague.” Thunder was followed by hail mingled with fire, which destroyed everything that was outside, throughout Egypt — except for the Hebrews’ area, the land of Goshen, which was spared. The hail was described as very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.”

Pharaoh said to Moses, You’re right; your god is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. I’ll let the Hebrews go. So Moses relayed this to Yahweh, who stopped the grievous hail.

But once more, Pharaoh went back on his word. If this seems unintelligent, note that Yahweh claimed to be hardening the Pharaoh’s heart on purpose so that Yahweh would get a chance to show how mighty he was (and how lame the Egyptian gods were by comparison). Remember, before his interactions with Moses, Yahweh had been absent from the Hebrews’ lives for [over 400 years]. He was using these terrifying, impressive spectacles to remind them that he is their god, and better than the Egyptian gods.

Exodus 10:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him:
2 and that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

So next comes a plague of locusts:

Exodus 10:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

At this point Pharaoh was begging for forgiveness, so Moses asked Yahweh to take away the locusts:

Exodus 10:19 And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Since Pharaoh still wouldn’t relent, a plague of “thick darkness” was inflicted:

Exodus 10:21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

The Ninth Plague, Darkness.

The Ninth Plague, Darkness.

The Egyptians must have wondered if their sun god Ra had been vanquished. Pharaoh said, Right, take yourselves and your children and go; just leave behind your livestock. Moses explained that they needed their flocks and herds, every last hoof, because they had to go make animal sacrifices and burnt offerings to Yahweh.
Yahweh tells Moses there is going to be one more plague, and that this is going to break the Pharaoh’s resolve once and for all. Moses gave Pharaoh the final, chilling warning:

Exodus 11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

Yahweh told Moses and Aaron to have each Hebrew household kill and roast a lamb on a certain night, and smear its blood on the doorposts:

Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

Yahweh directed that the people be ready to move on out at a moment’s notice:

Exodus 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover.

Yahweh ordered that the Israelites were not to go out of their houses until morning.

Exodus 12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt: for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

Yahweh killed all the firstborn male Egyptians, human and animals. [angel of the lord, the lord, There is no clue in the Bible how it was done.]

"The Death of the Firstborn." “The destroyer” came “in unto [the Egyptians’] houses to smite” their firstborn males. Note the angel lurking in the background.

“The Death of the Firstborn.” “The destroyer” came “in unto [the Egyptians’] houses to smite” their firstborn males. Note the angel lurking in the background.

"The Firstborn of the Egyptians Are Slain." The Lord’s Angel is usually pictured as doing the work. “Natural” theories as to how the firstborn could have been singled out generally center around the fact that the firstborn received special privileges in the family, such as eating before the younger siblings, and therefore might have received a lethal dose of a food-borne toxin that had perhaps developed during the days of darkness.

“The Firstborn of the Egyptians Are Slain.” The Lord’s Angel is usually pictured as doing the work. “Natural” theories as to how the firstborn could have been singled out generally center around the fact that the firstborn received special privileges in the family, such as eating before the younger siblings, and therefore might have received a lethal dose of a food-borne toxin that had perhaps developed during the days of darkness.

Finally, the Pharaoh said, Get out, right now! The undertone was, “…before I change my mind and slaughter you all.” So the Hebrews gathered up their belongings, and, following Yahweh’s orders, they also “borrowed” silver and gold jewelry, and clothes from the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:31 And he [Pharaoh] called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36 and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required: and they spoiled the Egyptians.

This collection of silver, gold, jewels, and raiment would be needed to build the Ark of the Covenant and its Tabernacle.

Next: The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens

Notes:

Body Lice. This plague reportedly was responsible for many deaths of people and animals, their corpses covered with lice, or gnats, depending on the translation.

Flies. This plague might even have happened naturally, without Yahweh’s intervention, due to all the dead bodies from the previous plague. But, while it’s not clear whether the Hebrew slaves experienced the plagues of frogs and lice, they were specifically exempted from suffering the plague of flies.

Only Non-Hebrew Cattle Afflicted. Cattle were important not only as food but as sacrificial animals. They could not be sacrificed if they were imperfect. Yahweh took every opportunity to show his superiority to the Egyptian gods, and to induce the Hebrews to fear him as their God.

Boils on People and Animals. Some suggest that the plagues of lice, flies, and pestilence were natural results of the deaths of so many frogs. It’s not clear, though, how the Hebrews could have been spared. Also, Yahweh performed his [tricks] at specifically stated times, so as to prove they were his doing. What scenario seems more likely than these “natural” explanations? Yahweh was inflicting chemical and/or biological warfare.

Boil: an inflamed pus-filled swelling on the skin.

The Plague of Fiery Hail. A rain of fire, often containing “blood,” is a fairly common motif in ancient stories. According to the Aztec Codex Chimalpopoca, during the third sun (world age), the people were destroyed by a rain of fire sent by Quetzalcoatl. [popul-vuh “it was ruin and destruction…etc.” and Manuscript Quiche quote: “there descended from the sky a rain of bitumin, etc.”] [and Siberia/Vogul quote, “God sent a sea of fire upon the earth, etc.” and East Indies aboriginals quote “water of fire” etc. and Midrash Tanhuma, Midrash Psikta Raboti, Midrash Wa-Yosha quotes re naptha and hot stones pouring down upon Egypt (petroleum, common in Middle East, bubbles to ground). [hail actually translates as rocks] and in Homer’s Iliad, where Zeus twice caused a rain of blood, on one occasion to warn of slaughter in a battle.] [“since the foundation thereof even until now.” – ancient [nuclear] war]

Revelation 8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

Napalm is a generic name used to describe various flammable liquids used in warfare, often forms of jellied gasoline. [naptha]

Enough Locusts to Cover “the Face of the Whole Earth.” Suggestions for a natural explanation include locust swarms forming because of a lack of predators, or in order to focus on what few plants remained after previous plagues.

Thick Darkness. Throughout the Old Testament, the words “thick darkness” are associated with Yahweh’s appearance. For instance:

Psalms 18:9 And He inclineth the heavens, and cometh down, And thick darkness is under His feet. (Young’s Literal Translation)

Deuteronomy 4:11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.

I Kings 8:12 and 2 Chronicles 6:1 Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

Suggestions for natural explanations include solar eclipse, sandstorm, volcanic ash, or swarms of locusts blocking out the sun.

Gird: encircle (a person or part of the body) with a belt or band; secure (a garment or sword) on the body with a belt or band.

Loin: the part of the body on both sides of the spine between the lowest (false) ribs and the hipbones.

Gird Up One’s Loins: prepare and strengthen oneself for what is to come.

See How to Gird Up Your Loins: an Illustrated Guide.

Read the next part of the Moses story: The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens

The Early Days of Moses

Discovery of Baby Moses by Paul Delaroche

As the story goes, Moses was born in Egypt, probably in the 13th century BCE, at a time when Hebrews — in slavery for centuries — were required, by order of the Pharaoh, to drown their male babies in the Nile at birth. His mother instead set him adrift on the river in a papyrus basket, and he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who raised him in the palace as if he were her son, naming him Moses.

Here’s the story as told by an old illustration caption:

Moses’s mother Jochebed kept him hidden for three months to avoid having to drown him in the Nile River as the Pharaoh — perhaps Thutmose III — required for all newborn Hebrew boys. When she could no longer keep the baby concealed, she set him in the Nile in an “ark of bulrushes … daubed with slime and with pitch.” The Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing downstream, and, glimpsing the little boat, had her servant fetch it. The baby inside was crying, and she felt compassion for him. Miriam, Moses’s sister, had been watching the basket’s progress from a nearby hiding place. When she saw that the Pharaoh’s daughter felt tenderly toward the baby, Miriam offered to find a Hebrew nursemaid for him. Thus, the Pharoah’s daughter unknowingly ended up paying Moses’s own mother, Jochebed, to nurse him until he was big enough to be raised as the Pharoah’s daughter’s own son. Perhaps young Moses was a friend to the future Pharoah — likely Amenhotep III — to whom he would later deliver Yahweh’s command: “Let my people go.”

moses-found-1904_Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_-_The_Finding_of_Moses

As an adult, Moses killed an Egyptian whom he saw beating a Hebrew slave, and then fled for his life to the Arabian town of Midian. There, he married a priest’s daughter and worked for many years as a shepherd.

At this time, the Hebrew god Yahweh (Yahweh, Jehovah, God) had been absent from his people, the Israelites, for hundreds of years. Moses was tending his sheep in the desert near “the mountain of God” when Yahweh appeared to him in a burning bush.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Mid’i-an: and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Yahweh (or his angel) told Moses his mission from God was to go back to Egypt, free the Hebrew slaves, and lead them to the promised land, Canaan, which was already occupied by numerous tribes.

Exodus 3:8 and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Per’izzites, and the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites.

Moses was not interested in fulfilling this mission; he explained that he wasn’t eloquent enough, and that no one would ever believe Yahweh had appeared to him. The god told him that Moses’s brother Aaron was a good speaker and would help out, and that Yahweh himself would put the right words in Moses’s mouth. He also provided Moses with a rod that turned into a serpent and a couple of extra miracles to use if needed—an appearing/disappearing leprosy and the ability to turn river water into blood:

Exodus 4:1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.
2 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
3 And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
5 that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

Moses really, really did not want to go back to Egypt, and he told Yahweh to please choose someone else. The god became angry and told him to just do it. He told Moses that all the people who had been after him for the murder he had committed were dead now. So Moses, along with Aaron, went to Egypt and organized the Hebrew slaves, and then went before the Pharaoh to demand the slaves’ release.

Next: Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart

Lots of Deities Drove Cooler Vehicles than Yahweh Much Cooler

The Pushpak Aircraft

The Pushpak Aircraft, by Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi, 1916.

In addition to the very interesting divine vehicles associated with Yahweh (the God of the Christians and Jews), many gods and goddesses have driven massively cool vehicles. In fact, as I point out elsewhere, many of their avatars (changed aspects) may be the vehicles themselves rather than a transformation of the deity.

Divine chariots are described quite a bit in the Bible, and also are described a lot in religions around the world. For instance, ancient Hindu texts are crammed full of descriptions of various types of flying chariots — vimanas — and information on how to make them, fuel them, and control them.

According to Wikipedia, a vimana is:

A chariot of the gods, any mythical self-moving aerial car, sometimes serving as a seat or throne, sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air; other descriptions make the Vimana more like a house or palace, and one kind is said to be seven storeys high.

The pushpaka (“flowery”) is the vimana of Ravana, who is the hero of the great Hindu epic The Ramayana, which describes the pushpaka as follows:

The Pushpaka chariot that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana; that aerial and excellent chariot going everywhere at will …. that chariot resembling a bright cloud in the sky … and the King [Rama] got in, and the excellent chariot at the command of the Raghira, rose up into the higher atmosphere.

Rama being welcomed back to Ayodhya. He is also shown flying in the celestial flying machine, the Pushpak Vimana.

Rama being welcomed back to Ayodhya. He is also shown flying in the celestial flying machine, the Pushpak Vimana.
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The Thunderbirds of the Native Americans are similar to the flying things called “gods” by very many ancient cultures — and similar to the United States Air Force Thunderbirds of today. See my post on Thunder Gods, Such as Yahweh….

The Persian king Kai Kavus built himself a Flying Throne and flew it to China.

King Solomon reportedly had a flying carpet 60 miles square that could “get from Damascus to Medina within a day”. The wind once caused the carpet to drop 40,000 people to their deaths, due to Solomon having too much pride.

The Greek god Helios drove the Chariot of the Sun across the sky every day; it was drawn by fire-darting steeds. Phaëton, his son, borrowed the chariot, but lost control and plunged into the river Eridanos. Thor drove his Chariot of Thunder across the sky; it was pulled by his two magic goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. Poseidon frequently drove his Chariot of the Sea through and atop the ocean, pulled by hippocampi (sea-going horses with fish-like hindquarters).

Kali with her chariot Vitthakalai.

Kali with her chariot Vitthakalai.
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Maa Kali drives a gold-decorated chariot called the Vitthakalai. Sol, the Norse sun goddess, flew in a chariot pulled by the horses Arvak and Alsvid, whose manes shone like the sun. Dionysus’s chariot was pulled by panthers, tigers, or centaurs, or by a bull, a panther, and a griffin, or something — as usual, no one was exactly clear on what they were seeing.

Dinoysius driving his chariot pulled by a bull, a panther, and a griffin.

Dinoysius driving his chariot pulled by a bull, a panther, and a griffin.
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Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations

Dove_Sent_Forth_from_the_Ark

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Like Enoch, Noah also “walked with God”:

Genesis 6:9 … Noah is a righteous man; perfect he hath been among his generations; with God hath Noah walked habitually. —Young’s Literal Translation

So Noah built an ark according to the instructions Yahweh gave him. Rabbinical texts say that Noah kept preaching at his neighbors, which annoyed them, and that Yahweh had to post guards — lions and other wild animals — in order to protect them. Yahweh, or his angels, were reportedly the ones to provide the animals and food for the trip.

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind; two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

But apparently it was a little more complicated than just two of every living thing of all flesh:

Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

OR

Genesis 7:2 [O]f all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female;
3 also, of fowl of the heavens seven pairs, a male and a female, to keep alive seed on the face of all the earth…. —Young’s Literal Translation

“Cleanliness” of animals in the Bible determines whether they can be eaten or not. Presumably, Noah took more of the clean animals onto the Ark (seven pairs as opposed to two) to serve as food. Information re what was okay to eat is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Animals were clean if they had cloven (split) hooves and they did not chew their cud. Water-dwelling creatures who did not have fins and scales were unclean. “Every creeping thing that flieth” was unclean, and so on.

Finally Noah (who was 600 years old) and his sons and their wives and all their beasts went onto the boat, having been given a week’s warning by Yahweh as to when the rain would start, and “the LORD shut him in.”

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside.

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside. This painting from 1340, in Gurk Cathedral, Austria, reflects biblical descriptions of the ark, which make it sound more like a chest (from Latin arca) than a boat.

Genesis 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.

'World Destroyed by Water'

‘World Destroyed by Water’

It then rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and the Earth stayed flooded for another 150 days.

noahs-leak-Schnorr_von_Caro

Noah’s ark has a leak.

When Noah was able to send out a dove who first returned with an olive leaf and then didn’t come back at all, he knew there was dry land to be found. Noah “removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.”

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Foster_Bible_Pictures_0021-

The Sumerian Noah Built an Ark And So Did Others

'The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land. In the British Museum.'

‘The Flood Tablet. This is perhaps the most famous of all cuneiform tablets. It is the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, and describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land. In the British Museum.’

In a great story that has survived the ages, Gilgamesh, a great King of Sumer, went looking for eternal life. He did not succeed, but he did bring back a tale from Utnapishtim (whose name means The Faraway) —himself a great king thousands of years before— about the deluge. Utnapishtim told how he had saved “the seed of all living things” in a boat he built after being forewarned by the god Ea, and how he and his wife had been made immortal in exchange for services rendered. Here are some excerpts from Tablet XI of the The Epic of Gilgamesh, “The Story of the Flood,” [older than Noah’s story], probably adapted from the ancient Epic of Atrahasis. Utanapishtim is speaking to Gilgamesh, having promised, “I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden, a secret of the gods I will tell you!”

You know the city Shurrupak, it stands on the banks of the Euphrates. That city grew old and the gods that were in it were old. There was Anu, lord of the firmament {earth}, their father, and warrior Enlil their counselor, Ninurta the helper, and Ennugi, watcher over canals; and with them also was Ea. In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamor. Enlil heard the clamor and he said to the gods in council, “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel {everyone talking at once}.” So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. Enlil did this, but Ea warned me in a dream. —N.K. Sandars, translating The Epic of Gilgamesh

Another translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh continues Utnapishtim’s telling of the Deluge:

[Ea was bound by oath to not tell humans about the impending deluge, so instead he told it to a wall through which Utanapishtim could hear him.]
‘Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall!
O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu:
Tear down the house and build a boat!
Abandon wealth and seek living beings!
Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings!
Make all living beings go up into the boat.
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Roof it over like the Apsu.
I understood and spoke to my lord, Ea:
‘My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered
I will heed and will do it.
But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders!’
Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant:
‘You, well then, this is what you must say to them:
“It appears that Enlil is rejecting me
so I cannot reside in your city (?),
nor set foot on Enlil’s earth.
I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea,
and upon you he will rain down abundance,
a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes.
He will bring to you a harvest of wealth,
in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!”‘
Just as dawn began to glow
the land assembled around me-
the carpenter carried his hatchet,
the reed worker carried his (flattening) stone,
… the men …
The child carried the pitch,
the weak brought whatever else was needed.
On the fifth day I laid out her exterior.
It was a field in area,
its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height,
the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times It cubits each.
I laid out its (interior) structure and drew a picture of it (?).
I provided it with six decks,
thus dividing it into seven (levels).
The inside of it I divided into nine (compartments).
I drove plugs (to keep out) water in its middle part.
I saw to the punting poles and laid in what was necessary.
Three times 3,600 (units) of raw bitumen I poured into the bitumen kiln,
three times 3,600 (units of) pitch …into it,
there were three times 3,600 porters of casks who carried (vegetable) oil,
apart from the 3,600 (units of) oil which they consumed (!)
and two times 3,600 (units of) oil which the boatman stored away.
I butchered oxen for the meat(!),
and day upon day I slaughtered sheep.
I gave the workmen(?) ale, beer, oil, and wine, as if it were river water,
so they could make a party like the New Year’s Festival.
… and I set my hand to the oiling(!).
The boat was finished by sunset.
The launching was very difficult.
They had to keep carrying a runway of poles front to back,
until two-thirds of it had gone into the water(?).
Whatever I had I loaded on it:
whatever silver I had I loaded on it,
whatever gold I had I loaded on it.
All the living beings that I had I loaded on it,
I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat,
all the beasts and animals of the field and the craftsmen I
had go up.
Shamash had set a stated time:
‘In the morning I will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!
Go inside the boat, seal the entry!’
That stated time had arrived.
In the morning he let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat.
I watched the appearance of the weather–
the weather was frightful to behold!
I went into the boat and sealed the entry.
For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman,
I gave the palace together with its contents.
Just as dawn began to glow
there arose from the horizon a black cloud.
Adad rumbled inside of it,
before him went Shullat and Hanish,
heralds going over mountain and land.
Erragal pulled out the mooring poles,
forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow.
The Anunnaki lifted up the torches,
setting the land ablaze with their flare.
Stunned shock over Adad’s deeds overtook the heavens,
and turned to blackness all that had been light.
The… land shattered like a… pot.
All day long the South Wind blew …,
blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
overwhelming the people like an attack.
No one could see his fellow,
they could not recognize each other in the torrent.
The gods were frightened by the Flood,
and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.
The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.
Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,
the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:
‘The olden days have alas turned to clay,
because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods!
How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,
ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!!
No sooner have I given birth to my dear people
than they fill the sea like so many fish!’
The gods–those of the Anunnaki–were weeping with her,
the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?),
their lips burning, parched with thirst.
Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.
When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war–struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor).
The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up.
I looked around all day long–quiet had set in
and all the human beings had turned to clay!
The terrain was as flat as a roof.
I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of my nose.
I fell to my knees and sat weeping,
tears streaming down the side of my nose.
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm,
Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
When a seventh day arrived
I sent forth a dove and released it.
The dove went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a swallow and released it.
The swallow went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a raven and released it.
The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back.
It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me.
Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed (a sheep).
I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat.
Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place,
and (into the fire) underneath (or: into their bowls) I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle.
The gods smelled the savor,
the gods smelled the sweet savor,
and collected like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice.
Just then Beletili arrived.
She lifted up the large flies (beads) which Anu had made for his enjoyment(!):
‘You gods, as surely as I shall not forget this lapis lazuli around my neck,
may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them!
The gods may come to the incense offering,
but Enlil may not come to the incense offering,
because without considering he brought about the Flood
and consigned my people to annihilation.’
Just then Enlil arrived.
He saw the boat and became furious,
he was filled with rage at the Igigi gods:
‘Where did a living being escape?
No man was to survive the annihilation!’
Ninurta spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:
‘Who else but Ea could devise such a thing?
It is Ea who knows every machination!’
La spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:
‘It is yours, O Valiant One, who is the Sage of the Gods.
How, how could you bring about a Flood without consideration
Charge the violation to the violator,
charge the offense to the offender,
but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off,
be patient lest they be killed.
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a lion had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a wolf had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that famine had occurred to slay the land!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that (Pestilent) Erra had appeared to ravage the land!
It was not I who revealed the secret of the Great Gods,
I (only) made a dream appear to Atrahasis [Utanapishtim], and (thus) he heard the secret of the gods.
Now then! The deliberation should be about him!’
Enlil went up inside the boat
and, grasping my hand, made me go up.
He had my wife go up and kneel by my side.
He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us:
‘Previously Utanapishtim was a human being.
But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods!
Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.’
They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers.

Graham Hancock, in his book Fingerprints of the Gods, discusses some of the many other “Noahs” around the world:

In other [Sumerian] tablets —some almost 5000 years old, others less than 3000 years old— the “Noah figure” of Utnapishtim is known variously as Zisudra, Xisuthros or Atrahasis. Even so, he is always instantly recognizable as the same patriarchal character, forewarned by the same merciful god, who rides out the same universal flood in the same storm-tossed ark and whose descendants repopulate the world….

According to Aztec mythology only two human beings survived [the deluge at the Destruction of the Fourth Sun]: Coxcoxtli and his wife Xochiquetzal, who had been forewarned of the cataclysm by a god. They escaped in a huge boat they had been instructed to build and came to ground on the peak of a tall mountain. There they descended and afterwards had many children who were dumb until the time when a dove on top of a tree gave them the gift of languages. These languages differed so much that the children could not understand one another.

[According to a] related Central American tradition, that of the Mechoacanesecs, …the god Tezcatilpoca determined to destroy all mankind with a flood, saving only a certain Tezpi who embarked in a spacious vessel with his wife, his children and large numbers of animals and birds, as well as supplies of grains and seeds, the preservation of which were essential to the future subsistence of the human race. The vessel came to rest on an exposed mountain top after Tezcatilpoca had decreed that the waters of the flood should retire. Wishing to find out whether it was now safe for him to disembark, Tezpi sent out a vulture which, feeding on the carcases with which the earth was now strewn, did not return. The man then sent out other birds, of which only the hummingbird came back, with a leafy branch in its beak. With this sign that the land had begun to renew itself, Tezpi and his family went forth from their ark, multiplied and repopulated the earth.

The Popol Vuh, an ancient sacred text of the Quiche Maya, also says there was a great flood “brought about by the Heart of Heaven” because humans did not “remember their Creator”:

[A] great flood was formed which fell on the heads of the wooden creatures…. A heavy resin fell from the sky … the face of the earth was darkened and a black rain began to fall by day and by night….

Fortunately, the Great Father and Great Mother survived to be fruitful and replenish the Earth.

Neptune, king of waters. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses Book I.

Neptune, king of waters. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book I.
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More than 500 ancient civilizations have deluge stories, including the Chibcas of central Colombia, Canarians of Ecuador, Tupinamba of Brazil, numerous Peruvian Indians, Araucnaians of Chile, Yamana and Pehuenche of Tierra del Fuego, Inuit of Alaska, Luiseno of California, Hurons, Montagnais (Algonquin), Iroquois, Chickawas, Sioux, Chinese, Chewong of Malaysia, Laotians, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Australian Aborigines, Japanese, Hawaiians, Samoans, Greeks (Zeus, Prometheus, Deucalion, Pyrrha), Vedic Indians, and Egyptians.[fn Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods] Graham Hancock says that in a study of 86 deluge legends “(20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr. Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.”

For a great look at Flood myths around the world, see mythencyclopedia.com.

Manabozho in the Flood.

Manabozho in the Flood.

Enlil Rides Zu, a Huge Storm-Bird, His Firebreathing “Servant”

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Eagle-Headed Enlil (Ashur): A marble slab at the British Museum.

The third member of the main triad of Sumerian gods — along with An and Enki — Enlil is the tutelary deity of Nippur. He was originally the most powerful Mesopotamian god, but his position was taken over by the Babylonian god Marduk (who also replaced Enki), and then by Ashur (his Assyrian version).

Enlil was the god of “breath, wind, loft and breadth (height and distance),” known for causing plants to grow and for inventing the mattock (an agricultural tool). He was also the god of weather, which came in handy: He helped create humans, then got fed up with all the noise and sent a deluge to polish everyone off.

His temple was named Ekur, “House of the Mountain.”[8]… As Enlil was the only god who could reach the heaven god An he held sway over the other gods who were assigned tasks by his agent and would travel to Nippur to draw in his power. He is thus seen as the model for kingship.[11] … Grouped around the main sanctuary, there arose temples and chapels to the gods and goddesses who formed his court, so that Ekur became the name for an entire sacred precinct in the city of Nippur. The name “mountain house” suggests a lofty structure and was perhaps the designation originally of the staged tower at Nippur, built in imitation of a mountain, with the sacred shrine of the god on the top. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlil

Paraphrasing ancient tablets, [Samuel] Kramer [The Sumerians] noted that “it is Enlil who has given them kingship of the land, who has made the land prosperous for them, who gave them all the lands to conquer by his strength. It is Enlil who pronounces the king’s name and gives him his scepter and looks upon him with a favorable eye.”[footnote in orig] Enlil was believed to dwell in his temple in the city of Nippur, “the most important religious center of the Sumerians.”[footnote in orig] —Discovering God, Rodney Stark.

His servant is Zu (or Anzu, To Know Heaven), the huge storm-bird, sometimes shown as a lion-headed eagle, who can breathe fire and water and who guards Enlil’s throne in his sanctuary—ultimately stealing the Tablet of Destinies from him.

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'Votive relief of Ur-Nanshe, king of Lagash, representing the bird-god Anzu (or Im-dugud) as a lion-headed eagle. Alabaster, Early Dynastic III (2550–2500 BC). Found in Telloh, ancient city of Girsu.'

The story of Enlil’s romance with Sud is a classic.

[1-8.] The …… of the young girl [Sud] burgeoned, and she became full of flourishing beauty. …[A]t the gate of the E-zagin, …… she stood, the object of admiration, like a tall, beautifully shaped cow.

9-26. At that time Enlil had not yet been given a wife in the E-kur; Ninlil’s name was not yet famous in the Ki-ur. After travelling through Sumer and to the ends of the universe, he ……; in his search throughout the Land, Enlil, the Great Mountain, stopped at Erec.

He sees Sud and, overcome by her beauty, decides she will become his wife. She is not impressed and closes the door in his face. Enlil tells his vizier, Nuska, to intercede on his behalf.

Sud’s mother, Nanibgal (goddess of writing and learning) points out that they would be foolish to not accept this great honor and good fortune, and tells Sud to get the vizier a beer:

“Nuska is knowing and wise. …… to his presence and pour him beer.” According to the instructions of her mother, she washed his hands and placed a tankard in his hands. The minister opened his left hand and gave her the jewellery, …… everything …… and set it before her. She received the gifts …….

When Enlil got the good news, there was:

…great rejoicing in Enlil’s heart. He raised his head ……, and animals came running. …… herds of four-legged animals that graze together in the desert. He caught …… living in the mountains, he made wild bulls, red deer, elephants, fallow deer, gazelles, bears, wild sheep and rams, lynxes, foxes, wild cats, tigers, mountain sheep, water buffaloes, monkeys, and thick-horned fat cattle jostle together noisily. Cows and their calves, wild cattle with wide-spread horns, …… rope, {ewes and lambs, goats and kids, romping ……} {(1 later ms. from Susa has instead:) …… and fighting}, large kids with long beards, scratching with their hooves, lambs, ……, and majestic sheep were despatched by Enlil toward Erec.

Large cheeses, mustard-flavoured cheeses, small cheeses, ……, milk ……, the sweetest dry honey and white honey, ……, and thick and large …… were despatched by Enlil toward Erec.

……, dates, figs, large pomegranates, ……, jipar fruits, plums (?), halub nuts, almonds, acorns, Dilmun dates packed in baskets, dark-coloured date spadices, large pomegranates gathered from orchards, big clusters of grapes on high, …… trees in fruit, trees from orchards, …… grown in winter, and fruits from orchards were despatched by Enlil toward Erec.

Ores (?) from Harali, the faraway land, …… storehouses, ……, rock-crystal, gold, silver, ……, the yield of the uplands ……, heavy loads of them, were despatched by Enlil toward Erec. After the personal presents, the transported goods ……, Ninmah and the minister ……. The dust from their march reached high into the sky like rain clouds. Enormous marriage gifts were being brought for Nanibgal to Erec; the city was getting full inside and out….

Ashur (Assur, Aš), the head of the Assyrian pantheon, may have started out as the deification of the ancient city of Assur (pronounced Ashur). He eventually merged with Enlil, acquiring Enlil’s goddess wife, Ninlil (Assyrian Mullisu), and his sons Ninurta and Zababa. [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashur_%28god%29.]

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Ashur is associated with a horned winged disc, or sun disc, and with an archer drawing his bow.

From Myths of Babylonia and Assyria, by Donald A. Mackenzie (1915):

Mesopotamia and Its Gods

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'Rectangular, baked clay relief panel; modeled in relief on the front depicting a nude female figure with tapering feathered wings and talons, standing with her legs together; shown full frontal, wearing a headdress consisting of four pairs of horns topped by a disc; wearing an elaborate necklace and bracelets on each wrist; holding her hands to the level of her shoulders with a rod and ring in each; figure supported by a pair of addorsed lions above a scale-pattern representing mountains or hilly ground, and flanked by a pair of standing owls. Known as the 'Burney Relief' or the 'Queen of the Night'.'

The ancient area of Mesopotamia is considered “the cradle of civilization” for much of the world. The name means land between rivers, comprising the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river system, roughly modern-day Iraq, plus parts of northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and southwestern Iran.

A non-Semitic tribe calling themselves the black-headed people lived in southern Mesopotamia; the Semitic Akkadians who inhabited the north gave them the name Sumerians. The Sumerians had an advanced civilization that seems to have sprung into being more or less from nowhere around 4000 BCE.

Sumerians were the first known people to grow grains and raise sheep and cattle on a large scale. They were the first to practice “modern” agriculture: large-scale, year-round production, using mono-cropping, irrigation, and specialized workers. Sumer drained marshes for agriculture, aided by the fact that the temples and their high priests owned vast amounts of land—and required that everyone donate labor to the temple, on a moment’s notice and for as long as needed.

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The Fertile Crescent.

The Sumerians’ success at growing and storing grains and herding animals meant they could settle instead of living as nomads. A dozen city-states, of 10,000 or more population each, sprang up in Sumer, such as Eridu and Sippar, each with its own temple for its own tutelary deity, and each ruled by its king or high priest.

Sumer is thought to have been the birthplace of writing; written records begin here about 3100 BCE, consisting of cuneiform text on clay. The Sumerians had a complex system of metrology, the science of measurement; they understood, and perhaps created, arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. Their number system was sexagesimal, based on alternating bases of 10 and 60, and is still used today to measure time and angles. Sumer is said to have been the first to use place values in arithmetic, and the first to calculate the volume of a cube and the area of a triangle.

Sumerians were knowledgeable astronomers; they made star maps. They gave the world its first bureaucracy, with codified systems of law and administration, including “paperwork” (on clay), courts, and jails. They may have been responsible for inventing military formations. They were avid traders and boat-builders and were accomplished at leather- and metalwork, weaving, masonry, and pottery. They may even have invented the wheel—it appears, as a potter’s wheel, nearly simultaneously in the mid-4th millennium BCE, in Mesopotamia, Central Europe, and the northern Caucasus (at the border of Europe and Asia). Soon wheels were propelling carts and grinding grain.

Where did all this advanced knowledge come from? Archaeological findings show that just before the time Sumer blossomed, “civilization” locally consisted, most likely, of peasant farmers, hunter-fishermen, and nomads — and indications are that these rude lifestyles were on their way down, devolving not evolving, at the time Sumer blossomed.

Annunakisource

'1st Millennium seal showing a worshipper and a fish-garbed sage before a stylised tree with a crescent moon & winged disk set above it. Behind this group is another plant-form with a radiant star and the Star-Cluster (Pleiades cluster) above. In the background is the dragon of Marduk with Marduk's spear and Nabu's standard upon its back.'

Stories from many civilizations tell of divine teachers — gods and demigods — and sometimes humans specially endowed by the gods with knowledge — who teach humans the arts and sciences needed for civilized living. Ancient texts suggest that one such teacher, Oannes, and his helpers oversaw the education of humans when “kingship” first “from heaven was lowered,” giving rapid rise to Sumerian civilization. Here is what Carl Sagan and his co-auther I.S. Shklovskii had to say about Oannes in the 1966 edition of their book, Intelligent Life in the Universe:

[S]tories like the Oannes legend, and representations especially of the earliest civilizations on Earth, deserve much more critical studies than have been performed heretofore, with the possibility of direct contact with an extraterrestrial civilization as one of many possible alternative explanations.

With or without the help of Oannes, Sumer prospered—and was a popular target for takeover, falling to the Akkadians in 2270, and then being conquered in turn by the Babylonians and Assyrians, among others, with Alexander the Great taking over for Greece in 332 BCE.

Mesopotamians worshiped about 2400 gods and goddesses in the early days, winnowing those to a few hundred over time, as Sumerian gods merged with Akkadian gods, and so forth, and as less popular gods fell by the wayside. Each city-state had its own tutelary deity, who was considered the most superior of all the gods worshipped in that vicinity — although most of the many written prayers that have been found exalt whichever god they’re addressed to as being the best god in every way. Many Mesopotamian gods and goddesses were especially popular with Yahweh’s followers.

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'Bust of a male, bearded orant (an image of someone with her or his hands in prayer position), found in the temple of Ishtar at Mari. Gypsum alabaster, traces of bitumen in the holes of the beard, ca. 2500–2400 BC.'

Praying statues mesopotamian

These praying figures lived in Mesopotamian temples, where they represented constantly praying worshippers. As with idols of the gods themselves, these statues were thought to actually embody the entity depicted.

In addition to their many gods, Mesopotamians also had many demons to make their lives difficult with plagues and misfortunes, often requiring exorcism. The edimmu, for instance, were ghosts of people who did not have proper burial; [they were vengeful against their former loved ones, love having turned to hate in equal proportion.] They were thought to suck the breath out of sleeping children.

With its lively, multifaceted pantheon, Mesopotamian religion prospered for more than 4000 years. Beginning in the first century CE, it became admixed or replaced with Christianity and Judaism, but remnants of the native religion remained until at least the 4th century CE.

The religious stories of Sumeria, which probably were the first ever to be written down, not only show up transformed into Bible classics—such as the Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, Moses’s Birth, and the Ten Commandments — but also form the basis of Egyptian and Greek mythologies. Professor Rodney Stark writes in Discovering God that the pantheons of the ancient gods were “remarkably similar”:

Indeed the great Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484-425 BCE) claimed that the gods of Greece had been adopted from Egypt, and many modern scholars agree. [fin][fn: Griffiths, “The Orders of Gods in Ancient Greece and Egypt.”] There is equally strong evidence that both Greek and Egyptian religions display strong Sumerian influences.

Sumer’s was a temple religion; there was no separation of church and state; the highest priest was the king himself. All the people were considered slaves of the city’s god, and the priests, as intermediaries, controlled everyone’s lives.

Priests were mostly descendants of previous priests; it was a closed order. They were highly trained in ritual; important parts were played by dance, hymns, and music — harps, lyres, drums. Sacred temple Sumerian texts were rhythmic, sometimes with much repetition of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” sort, and catchy choruses.

Ordinary people did not take place in temple activities, except occasionally in public ceremonies. Upper nobility might be able to gain access to some temple rites, but usually Sumerian temple rituals were performed and witnessed exclusively by priests. The temple was considered the house of the god(s), and the holy sanctuary where the god(s) resided was out of view of everyone except priests. The gods were believed to actually inhabit the sacred temple idols made in their images, in one or another of their forms, and they needed to be bathed, fed, and similarly cared for, in addition to being petitioned and propitiated.

Temples were huge, built on high spots atop raised platforms, and made of baked mud bricks. When the old temple was worn out, the mud bricks were torn down and flattened, and a new temple was built atop the remains of the old one—the only acceptable, sacred site, making the temple that much higher yet than the surrounding city.

Starting about 2300 BCE, the building style shifted to step pyramids called ziggurats—from two to seven successively smaller tiers of sun-baked bricks, with colorful fired and glazed brick facings outside; inside walls were painted with frescos.

The ziggurats were believed to connect heaven and Earth. Etemenanki, the name of a Babylonian temple dedicated to Marduk, means Temple of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth, or perhaps House of the Platform between Heaven and Earth. It had seven multi-colored tiers, with the temple on top—where the god(s) lived—painted indigo blue. The ziggurat included living quarters for the priests, and was a fortress of privacy at the center of a busy city.

There were five dozen or more significant temples in Sumeria, for various gods. The main triad of deities were known by different names at different times, and fused identities when convenient, but the basic story is that the high god An and his (literal or metaphorical) sons Enki and Enlil create heaven and earth, and then the sons come down to Earth to implement plans to mine and farm and provide a nice lifestyle for the gods. [300 come down; 300 stay up]

The gods cast lots and divided (the Cosmos):
[Anu] went up to [heaven]
[Enlil had] the earth as his subject;
[the lock,] the snare of the sea
[was given] to Enki the wise.[footnote: atrahasis]

Mesopotamia wasn’t the only springboard for civilization. Others around the world are: (dates vary widely among sources) Egypt (starting about 3000 BCE); Yellow River Valley (China, 2200 BCE); Indus Valley (India, 1500 BCE); Andes (Peru, 800 BCE); and Mesoamerica (Mexico, 3rd century BCE).

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A Cuneiform Tablet.

Ugarit was an ancient port city, the site of modern-day Ras Shamra in Syria.

Ugarit’s location was forgotten until 1928 when a peasant accidentally opened an old tomb while ploughing a field. The discovered area was the Necropolis of Ugarit located in the nearby seaport of Minet el-Beida. Excavations have since revealed an important city that takes its place alongside Ur and Eridu as a cradle of urban culture, with a prehistory reaching back to ca. 6000 BC, perhaps because it was both a port and at the entrance of the inland trade route to the Euphrates and Tigris lands.

The excavations uncovered a royal palace of ninety rooms laid out around eight enclosed courtyards, and many ambitious private dwellings. Crowning the hill where the city was built were two main temples: one to Baal the “king”, son of El, and one to Dagon, the chthonic god of fertility and wheat.

On excavation of the site, several deposits of cuneiform clay tablets were found; all dating from the last phase of Ugarit, around 1200 BC. These represented a palace library, a temple library and—apparently unique in the world at the time—two private libraries, one belonging to a diplomat named Rapanu. The libraries at Ugarit contained diplomatic, legal, economic, administrative, scholastic, literary and religious texts. The tablets are written in Sumerian, Hurrian, Akkadian (the language of diplomacy at this time in the ancient Near East), or Ugaritic (a previously unknown language). No less than seven different scripts were in use at Ugarit: Egyptian and Luwian hieroglyphs, and Cypro-Minoan, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian, and Ugaritic cuneiform. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit

Babyloniaca, written by Babylonian priest Berossus circa 280 BCE, says that all the arts and sciences were brought by a “primeval being, half-man, half-fish, Oannes” who came out of the Persian Gulf and “taught man everything there is to know. Since then nothing new has been learned, though much has been forgotten.” In the 1832 edition of Ancient Fragments, author I.P. Cory translates the writings of Berossus concerning Oannes:

At Babylon there was (in these times) a great resort of people of various nations, who inhabited Chaldæa, and lived in a lawless manner like the beasts of the field. In the first year there appeared, from that part of the Erythræan sea which borders upon Babylonia, an animal destitute1 of reason, by name Oannes, whose whole body (according to the account of Apollodorus) was that of a fish; that under the fish’s head he had another head, with feet also below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish’s tail. His voice too, and language, was articulate and human; and a representation of him is preserved even to this day.

This Being was accustomed to pass the day among men; but took no food at that season; and he gave them an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and shewed them how to collect the fruits; in short, he instructed them in every thing which could tend to soften manners and humanize their lives. From that time, nothing material has been added by way of improvement to his instructions. And when the sun had set, this Being Oannes, retired again into the sea, and passed the night in the deep; for he was amphibious. After this there appeared other animals like Oannes, of which Berossus proposes to give an account when he comes to the history of the kings.

In the story of how Enki gets drunk and gives the 100 [sacred] mes to Inana, repetition is used to recall again and again what each me is:

Holy Inana received deceit, the rebel lands, kindness, being on the move, being sedentary. [El said,] “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter….”

Holy Inana received the craft of the carpenter, the craft of the coppersmith, the craft of the scribe, the craft of the smith, the craft of the leather-worker, the craft of the fuller, the craft of the builder, the craft of the reed-worker. “In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter…”

This goes on for a long time, and then repeats as Inana acknowledges what she has been given:

“He has given me deceit. He has given me the rebel lands. He has given me kindness. He has given me being on the move. He has given me being sedentary…He has given me the craft of the carpenter. He has given me the craft of the coppersmith. He has given me the craft of the scribe. He has given me the craft of the smith. He has given me the craft of the leather-worker. He has given me the craft of the fuller. He has given me the craft of the builder. He has given me the craft of the reed-worker….”

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The Ziggurat of Ur.

Etemenankisource

A reconstruction of the Etemenaki, a seven-story ziggurat dedicated to Marduk in the 6th century BCE.

Chichen-Itza El Castillosource

At Chichén-Itzá, in the Yucatan, stands the Temple of Kukulcan. Step pyramids are features of ancient societies not only in Mesopotamia, but in Egypt, Mesoamerica, South America, and North America. Like the earthen mound templess of pre-Columbian peoples in what is now the southeastern United States, the mud-brick pyramids of the Mesopotamians did not survive the centuries well, whereas the stone pyramids of other cultures are still impressive today.

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babylonian-demon1

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Quetzalcoatl

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The plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl, at Teotihuacán, Mexico. To me, these plumes look like the flames from a rocket.

There’s a class of ancient stories about knowledge bringers. These were highly accomplished beings who came from the sky and taught the people the skills they needed to survive and thrive. Not surprisingly, many of these knowledge bringers are known as gods, usually creator gods. One of my favorite knowledge bringers is Quetzalcoatl. Lots of people have loved him through the ages, and love him still.

According to Graham Hancock in Fingerprints of the Gods, Quetzalcoatl was the main god of the ancient Mexicans. Hancock cites descriptions of Quetzalcoatl that sound much like Viracocha: “a fair and ruddy complexioned man with a long beard”, “a white man, a large man, broad browed, with huge eyes, long hair, and a great, rounded beard”, also:

…a mysterious person … a white man with strong formation of body, broad forehead, large eyes, and a flowing beard. He was dressed in a long, white robe reaching to his feet. He condemned sacrifices, except of fruits and flowers, and was known as the god of peace…. When addressed on the subject of war he is reported to have stopped up his ears with his fingers.

Another source cited by Hancock, The Mythology of Mexico and Central America, by John Bierhorst, says that the “wise instructor” Quetzalcoatl:

… came from across the sea in a boat that moved by itself without paddles. He was a tall, bearded white man who taught people to use fire for cooking. He also built houses and showed couples that they could live together as husband and wife; and since people often quarreled in those days, he taught them to live in peace.

In Fair Gods and Stone Faces, by Constance H. Frick Irwin, Quetzalcoatl is described as arriving at Coatzecoalcos (Serpent Sanctuary) by sea in vessels “with sides that shone like the scales of serpents’ skins”.

Quetzalcoatl_tellerianosource

Quetzalcoatl in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 16th century CE.

The legends say that Quetzalcoatl had come from very far away, across the Eastern Sea. They also say he left, with much sadness, supposedly from Coatzecoalcos (Serpent Sanctuary), sailing on a “raft of serpents,” saying he would be back someday [like Viracocha]. Hancock cites The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology: “[Quetzalcoatl] burned his houses, built of silver and shells, buried his treasure, and set sail on the Eastern Sea preceded by his attendants who had been changed into bright birds.”

Since the sixteenth century it has been widely held that the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II initially believed the landing of Hernán Cortés in 1519 to be Quetzalcoatl’s return. This has been questioned by ethno-historian Matthew Restall (and a great majority of others) who argues that the Quetzalcoatl-Cortés connection is not found in any document that was created independently of post-Conquest Spanish influence, and that there is little proof of a pre-Hispanic belief in Quetzalcoatl’s return. Most documents expounding this theory are of entirely Spanish origin, such as Cortés’s letters to Charles V of Spain, in which Cortés goes to great pains to present the naïve gullibility of the Aztecs in general as a great aid in his conquest of Mexico. (Read more.) —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

Like Viracocha in South America, Quetzalcoatl went by different names in different parts of Mexico and Central America. He was Gucumatz to the Quiche Maya; he was Kukulkan to workshipers at Chichen Itza. All three of these names mean “Feathered Serpent”. Quetzalcoatl may also be at the core of the Mayan gods Votan and Itzamana. Quetzalcoatl was known to travel with assistants, so the numerous similar stories may reflect multiple “gods” spread across the New World.

Certain myths set out in the Ancient Mayan religious texts known as the Books of Chilam Balam, for instance, reported that “the first inhabitants of Yucatan were the “People of the Serpent”. They came from the east in boats across the water with their leader Itzamana, “Serpent of the East”, a healer who could cure by laying on hands, and who revived the dead.

“Kukulkan,” stated another tradition, “came with nineteen companions, two of whom were gods of fish, two others gods of agriculture, and a god of thunder…. They stayed ten years in Yucatan. Kukulkan made wise laws and then set sail and disappeared in the direction of the rising sun…. —Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

Quetzalcoatl and his kind were credited with introducing writing, mathematics, the calendar, masonry, architecture, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, medicine, herbalism, law, and arts and crafts. He also forbade human sacrifice, although it reappeared after he left.

Quetzalcoatl was defeated by an evil god called Tezcatilpoca (Smoking Mirror) at Tollan, modern-day Tula (in Hidalgo, central Mexico). Supposedly, Tezcatilpoca had a magic mirror, called Tezcat, in which he could see things from far away, and from which other mirrors were made for wizards.

Graham Hancock has noted that idols in the Tula ruins are holding weapons similar to those held by Viracocha-related idols in the Kalasasaya Temple at Tiahuanaco —weapons unidentifiable as anything known. He suggests they may be the legendary xiuhcoatl,fire serpents— weapons of the gods. He references An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya, by Mary Ellen Miller and Karl Taube, that these fire serpents “apparently emitted burning rays capable of piercing and dismembering human bodies.”

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The Mayan Fire Serpent Xiuhcoatl.

Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of suns. Usually, our current time was considered the fifth sun, the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl allegedly went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind [us] from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Chihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound in his penis, to imbue the bones with new life.

His birth, along with his twin Xolotl, was unusual; it was a virgin birth, to the goddess Coatlicue.[citation needed] Alternatively, he was a son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl. One Aztec story claims that Quetzalcoatl was seduced by Tezcatlipoca into becoming drunk and sleeping with a celibate priestess (in some accounts, his sister Quetzalpetlatl) and then burned himself to death out of remorse. His heart became the morning star (see Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli). — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

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Quetzalcoatl, as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, 16th century CE.

Speaking of a relief found carved on granite at La Venta, an Olmec site near the port of Coatzecoalcos (Serpent Sanctuary) on the Gulf of Mexico, and now obliterated by petroleum interests, Graham Hancock says:

The relief…showed a man sitting with his legs stretched out in front of him as though he were reaching for pedals with his feet. He held a small, bucket-shaped object in his right hand. With his left he appeared to be raising or lowering a lever. The “head-dress” he wore was an odd and complicated garment. To my eye it seemed more functional than ceremonial, although I could not imagine what its function might have been. On it, or perhaps on a console above it, were two x-shaped crosses.

I turned my attention to the other principal element of the sculpture, the “feathered serpent”. On one level it did, indeed, depict exactly that: a plumed or feathered serpent, the age-old symbol of Quetzalcoatl, whom the Olmecs, therefore, must have worshipped (or at the very least recognized). Scholars do not dispute this interpretation. It is generally accepted that Quetzalcoatl’s cult was immensely ancient, originating in prehistoric times in Central America and thereafter receiving the devotion of many cultures during the historic period.

The feathered serpent in this particular sculpture, however, had certain characteristics that set it apart. It seemed to be more than just a religious symbol; indeed, there was something rigid and structured about it that made it look almost like a piece of machinery. —Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods

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Quetzalcoatl, left, and Tezcatlipo.

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Resplendent Quetzal (Male).

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'Quetzalcoatl, using the attributes of Ehecatl the wind god, thus representing the winds that bring the rain. Also known as the feathered serpent.'

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Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 16th century CE.

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'Man in Serpent', Olmec stele from La Venta, in Mexico. Click to enlarge.

quetzlcoatl2

Quetzalcoatl

Abzu Adam adam and eve ages of history ages of man ahab Ahura Mazda all-seeing alternative look at bible stories Amadioha Amun ancient ancient art ancient astronaut ancient astronauts ancient egypt ancient flying vehicles ancient gods ancient history ancient maya ancient mesoamerica ancient mexico ancient sumer ancient symbolic motif ancient technology angels angels' jobs annunciation anomalies are mormons christians ark ark of the covenant artificial insemination Asherah asherah pole Athirat Atrahasis authentic authentic experience authentic religious experience avatar avatars Awwaw Aztec suns ba'al babylon balam-acab balam-quitze Bantu Baptist barbecue barbecue contest book of mormon bringer of wisdom bronze age Buddhist burning lightning caduceus canaan canaanite god casement catastrophe Chaac chariots chariots of the gods cherubim city of the dead Coatlicue Codex Borgia communication with god craftsman god creation creation of humankind creation of humans creation of man creation of mankind creator god cross-cultural crushing lightning cueniform Dagon deluge demons destruction myths destruction of the Earth different types of lightning diffusion diffusionism divine chariots divine council divine teacher divine vehicles dwarves ea egypt Ekur electrocution elijah elves end of the world enki Enlil enlil and sud Epic of Gilgamesh eschatology Eve ezekiel ezekiel and the wheel fairies fall from grace feathered serpent fiery chariot fifth sun fire gods first men first people flood flood myths fourth sun Garden of Eden genesis Gilgamesh global cataclysms global catastrophe god god in a fish suit god is an astronaut God will get you god's vehicles God's wife goddesses godlike powers gods golden age gorget Graham Hancock Great Flood Haokah high god Hindu storm gods historical Bible Hopi Horagalles horns humankind humans Igbo immaculate conception immortality Indra iqui-balam iron age iron teeth Jesus Jesus's conception John the Baptist jonah jonah and the whale joseph smith Jupiter kali yuga kingship knowledge bringer Kothar-wa-Khasis lightning lightning bolt lightning readings lord of heaven and earth mace magic magic tricks in the bible mahucutah Mamaragan manabozho Maori Maruts Mary and Joseph maya mayan calendar mayan legend Mayan rain god mercy seat mesoamerica Mesopotamia mesopotamian gods mexico mica missile silo mississippi birdman Mjolnir mormon salvation plan mormonism mormons moses mother goddess movement of the north pole myths Native American Thunderbird netsuke Nigeria Nile god nippur Noah noah's ark Noahs around the world Noahs in other cultures Novensiles oannes one god Osiris other Noahs Ovid Papa perforating lightning persian gulf petroglyph popol vuh pre-Colombian prehistoric designs pushpaka pyramid Queen of Heaven Quetzalcoatl quiche maya Raijin ramayana Rangi ravana religion resurrection rides a storm cloud rock art s.e.c.c. Samson scrying seal cylinders semitic god seven suns Shurrupak silver age sky father sky god sky gods slavery sons of El southeast ceremonial complex southeastern ceremonial complex sud sumeria sumerian genesis sumerian gods Sumerian Noah sun circles sun gods suns supernatural conception sword-interval symbolic motif symbols tabernacle temple ten commandments teotihuacán Teshub the first men the place where men became gods Thor throw lightning bolts thunder gods thunderbird thunderstone Tinia too much knowledge transmitter tutelary deity ufo underwear underworld unidentified submarine object uso Utnapishtim Vajra venus vimanas viracocha Vishnuvishvarupa voice of thunder war gods ways the earth could end weather gods wedding feast whale what about the underwear what did god drive what did yahweh drive whelk carvings why are people religious why was man created winged disc worker workhorse world ages Xolotl Yahweh Yahweh as a flying vehicle Yahweh's wife yuga Zechariah Zeus