The Magonia Database Tracks 100 Years of UFOs


It’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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

A detail from the above painting.

A detail 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.
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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.
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'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?

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

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’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?

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

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 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.