Archives February 2022

Jesus Reclaims the Land of the Snake-Dragon (Hermon) 

Chapter 20 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Jesus Reclaims the Land of the Snake-Dragon (Hermon)

There in the land of Bashan: land of the Snake-dragon, land of Og and the dead and deified king, land of the Rephaim, the abode of the dead—Jesus made it clear that He, the anointed one of Israel, had come to win. He would free mankind from the snares of the ultimate snake-dragon (Rev 12:9). He declared His victory at the base of the snake-dragon’s mountain when He said the Gates of Hades (Kingdom of Darkness) will not prevail.  

He then declared: “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1 NET). Then just “six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John and led them alone up a high mountain privately” (Mark 9:2), to stake His claim at the top of the mountain Hermon,ccvimeaning “devoted to destruction”. Also known as Mt. Bashan (batios), it is where the watchers came down and execrated themselves: “According to the command of the great bull god Batios, those swearing an oath in this place go forth.” It was on that mountain that: 

He was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiantly white, more so than any launderer in the world could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared before them along with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus (Mark 9:2–4 NET).  

On the mountain that Satan’s team claimed as their own, Jesus showed them that the kingdom of God had come with power.  

So Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three shelters [σκηνας skenas]—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (For they were afraid, and he did not know what to say.) Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came from the cloud, 

“This is my one dear Son. Listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more except Jesus. As they were coming down from the mountain, he gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept this statement to themselves, discussing what this rising from the dead meant (Mark 9:5–10). 

It must have been amazing to see Him transfigure and to hear the Father’s voice, but why was this event so important? Why did Jesus go on a secret excursion on that mountain? Why did he need to transfigure in front of Peter, James and John? Did he just want to encourage them by letting them witness His glory, or could there be another reason? King David provides important clues in Psalm 68:  

MT. BASHAN IN PSALM 68 

A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan. Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks, At the mountain which God has desired for His abode? Surely the LORD will dwell there forever. The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness. You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there (Ps 68:15–18 NASB).ccvii  

There are in fact, three peaks at the top of Hermon, which led Easton’s Bible Dictionary to suggest: “There is every probability that one of its three summits was the scene of the transfiguration.”ccviii It very well may be the reason Peter suggested building three tabernacles—one on each peak.  

Peter later mentions the experience in his second epistle and explained how God the Father’s “voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (2 Pet 1:17). Peter implies they were on Hermon (meaning devoted, set apart for destruction) when he says: “We heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet 1:18). 

The top of Hermon is also loaded with pagan temples, and perhaps Peter considered this landscape and thought it would be fitting for their team to stake a claim by having tabernacles (dwelling places) there, as well. We may never know the exact reason. The Psalmist seems to mock Bashan, the mountain with many peaks, because it is envious of God’s mountain. It is not clear in the text if Zion is being referenced as God’s mountain, or if this is a tacit reminder that ultimately, Bashan also belongs to God.  

The presence of the mighty prophets, Moses and Elijah, at the transfiguration served as a reminder to the forces of darkness that God intended to keep His promises to His servants. The three apostles watched as Jesus radiated with His glory, then Moses and Elijah appeared, and God’s voice boomed from the sky, calling him “Son”. Moses was, of course, the one who brought God’s people to the edge of the Promised Land. When they saw the people of Bashan: the snake-dragons, the Nephilim-Rephaim corrupted-people—they lost their faith in God and retreated, to wander the wilderness for forty years. In a sense, the snake-dragon people contributed to Moses himself not being allowed to enter the Promised Land.  

Moreover, Elijah was forced to deal with the corrupted king and queen of the Northern Kingdom, Ahab and Jezebel, who were caught in the grip of Batios / Baal (Melqart / Ninurta) and Ashtoreth (Ishtar), which are manifestations of the snake-dragon. Elijah, who ironically was called “troubler of Israel,” 

confronts this power couple and exposes them as the ones who have grievously troubled Israel. Elijah sets up a public test of the powers resulting in Yehovah / God triumphing over the Baal / Ashteroth, et al.  

Jesus transfiguring on top of Hermon was also a fulfillment of a promise He had made earlier in Psalm 68, that He would bring back captives from Bashan. If we keep in mind that Bashan is not just a place, but is the snake-dragon, then we discover an entirely new perspective. Charlesworth reminds us: 

M. Dahood, who wisely employs Ugaritic to shine light upon dark passages in the Psalter, perceives that Bashan in Ps 68:23[22] refers to a dragon-snake or serpent … The translators of the NEB also opted to bring out a reference to a snake in Ps 68:23[22]: “from the Dragon”. It is clear that in antiquity Bashan meant not only a mountain but also a mythological dragon-snake. The meaning “dragon-snake” is what was intended in Psalm 68:23[22] (Emphasis mine).ccix  

We also recall how on the pinnacle of the Temple, Satan challenged Jesus to throw himself down using Psalm 91:11–12, but stopping before the next verse: “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra (peten – venomous snake), The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot (Ps 91:13). Jesus would tread on the peten [[פתן, a creature which is closely related linguistically to the Bašmu snake-dragon. (See Figure 63, opposite). DDDB notes the tension between Mt. Sinai, where God came down after the Exodus, and Mt. Bashan, where the “gods” or fallen angels descended, according to 1 Enoch and the Hermon inscription. 

In Ps 68: 16 … Bashan is a har ‘elohim, the same expression used in the Bible to designate -Yahweh’s abode … According to the same Ps 68:9, 19 Yahweh has His original abode in Sinai … Mount Bashan is rather set against Sinai.ccx  

King David thus prophesied that God would take possession “of this divine mountain as His own ancient abode,” and thereby evict the “divine dwellers of Bashan whom the Ugaritic tradition records are: the mlkm/melakim (rpum/Rephaim).” ccxi Notably, the description of Bashan in Psalm 68 has “the syntagma har/ harim gabnunnim, most commonly construed as a metaphor for ‘high mountains’ … and the tauromorphic appearance of Baal and other deities in Canaan.”ccxii The tauromorphic appearance of Baal is exactly what we deciphered on the Hermon inscription—“According to the command of the great bull god, Batios.” 

Figure 63 Mušḥuššu H. Frankfort, Cylinder Seals, text-fig. 33 (=ANEP #511) (Gudea; Girsu [Tello]). 

THE TRANSFIGURATION: WARFARE OF MISDIRECTION?  

When a country becomes a nuclear power, it detonates one of its weapons to demonstrate to the world that the nation has arrived and is not to be provoked. Jesus’ transfiguration was a significant showdown. We must not miss the importance of Jesus’ show of strength.  

For months before the invasion of Normandy beach, the Allies created inflatable tanks and stationed them in locations in Britain to give the spying Nazis the impression that the landing would take place further north in Calais. Their fake show of force worked, and the Nazis were caught by surprise on D-Day. Despite the obstacles, the Allies were able to establish a foothold in Europe which led to the ultimate defeat of the evil Nazi regime.  

Jesus’ transfiguration was a significant demonstration of His weaponry. It was an epic, intergalactic tour de force. The transfiguration may have been a decoy analogous to the fake tanks in Britain. After all, no real battle took place; we saw that Jesus was transfigured and chatted with Moses and Elijah, and then the Father spoke. No doubt it was impressive and meaningful, but from a strategic-war perspective, it was a non-event. Or perhaps, that is how God wanted it to seem! 

Here is what we know: Bashan was the very mountain where the sons of God descended according to the command of the great bull god Batios… that is, according to Satan’s command as found on the Hermon / Bashan Inscription. Satan knew of God’s stated intentions concerning Bashan, as gleaned from Psalm 68: that God was claiming it as His own abode (vs 16); that God’s chariots were in the millions, that God was going to be among them (v 17); that Bashan would be the place where God / Messiah would have “ascended on high” and “led captivity captive” (Ps 68:18)—which Paul quotes in Ephesians 4:8–10 after the fact, of course. 

Looking at Psalm 68:20–22, we learn more clues:  

Our God is the God of salvation; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death. Surely God will shatter the head of His enemies, The hairy crown of him who goes on in his guilty deeds. The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan. I will bring them back from the depths of the sea” (Ps 68:20–22). 

Satan, who is learned in the scriptures, would have known that God would save people from death, would shatter His enemies’ heads, and would return (or bring back). DDDB notes how it will be at Bashan that the God of Israel will make His return.  

Bashan, the divine mountain, is simultaneously the ‘infernal’ sphere from which the God of Israel promises to make his faithful return (v 23). This coincidence of the ‘celestial’ and ‘infernal’ levels is congruent with the Canaanite mythology that locates here the abode of its deified dead kings, the mlk(m)/rpu(m) that dwell(s) in ‘Štrt-hdr’y. Again the parallelism clarifies the issue, making plain the infernal character of Bashan. (Emphasis mine.) ccxiii 

God will do those things on the very mountain that was known as the infernal abode of the deified dead kings and where the angels came down to war against God. God’s faithful return will be nothing short of a show of force and an outright declaration of war! Just as the Nazis thought the Allies were amassing tanks for an invasion in the north of France, Satan likely interpreted the activities of Jesus at Mt. Hermon as the pause for a deep breath before the battle. After all, visibly present were Moses, the one who bested Og, King of the snake-dragons and Elijah, the one who defeated the four hundred priests of Melqart (Satan’s alias in Ezekiel 28). Satan would have been well aware of God’s strength, as demonstrated in Psalm 68, and in the story of Elisha (Elijah’s understudy, whose servant feared the Syrian army but gained resolve when he saw that God had myriads and thousands and thousands of chariots): 

And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kgs 6:15–17) (Emphasis mine).  

Satan most assuredly has many texts stored in his photographic memory that could have come to mind. For example, Isaiah’s incredible vision of God’s fire and His chariots: 

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. For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many (Isa 66:15–16). 

Also, Isaiah 2 could have come to mind, because it references the impending battle of God that results in men casting away their idols that were used to worship Satan and His minions.  

In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made, each for himself to worship, To the moles and bats, To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the crags of the rugged rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily (Isa 2:20–21).  

The battle of Gog of Magog could have come into Satan’s mind, for he understands the Sumerian meaning of the name, Gog, and he knows that the battle is directed at him.  

“I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. “And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone” (Ezek 38:21–22).  

Jeremiah’s prophecy against the arrogant usurper, could have flooded his mind:  

But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens” (Jer 10:10–11). 

And of course, in the Garden of Eden, God had promised that the Messiah would crush his head. The text in Psalm 68 said, “Surely God will shatter the head of His enemies” (Ps 68:21). Satan may have concluded that this was it! This was the big moment, the show down for which he had been planning for millennia. God was assembling the troops and chariots; God had His champion, Jesus, who had donned His glorious apparel and showed His divine prerogative to cover himself “with light as with a garment” (Ps 104:2). Matthew says Jesus’ face “shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matt 17:2). Jesus is putting on His armor of glory as prophesied in Isaiah 63: 

Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel [הָד֣וּר בִּלְבוּשׁ֔וֹ], Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples no one was with Me.  

For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come (Isa 63:1–4). 

Satan may have thought this was God’s big move to deliver a checkmate. All the signs suggested the battle would be fierce, a battle unlike any other:  

All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree. “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment (Isa 34:4–5).  

We know from the book of Revelation that such a battle in the heavenlies between Satan and his forces and God’s army is real and is coming. 

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Rev 12:7–9).  

We also know that it was possible that such a battle could have taken place at that time, due to Jesus’ own statement in the garden of Gethsemane:  

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? (Matt 26:52–53).  

Jesus revealed that roughly sixty-thousand angels were ready for him to give the orders to attack! His statement reveals that God’s own angels likely did not understand the details of Jesus’ mission, as Peter explained: 

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully … (1 Pet 1:10). To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. (1 Pet 1:12) (Emphasis mine). 

Angels are incredibly smart, but they are not all-knowing, nor do they have knowledge of the future, other than what God reveals. Thus, they were eager to learn how God’s plan would be fulfilled. The implication is that they did not know what Jesus was going to do, but they stood ready to do whatever their captain called them to do.  

Thus, we conclude that Satan viewed the transfiguration as the staging of the coming battle: He realized that his kingdom was in grave danger. As the supreme leader of this kingdom, he took immediate action to hold his ground and protect his assets. If our theory is correct, then the decoy worked: Jesus’ transfiguration on that location, the dragon’s home turf, goaded Satan into action because he was not about to go down without a fight.  

Naturally, Satan understands warfare. Quite possibly he inspired Sun Tzu in his book the Art of War, which said: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” So Satan’s reasoning must have been like this: God’s champion would not be able to usher in the Day of the Lord, battle for dominion of the earth, and crush his head if He were dead. If he could take out God’s champion before the battle even began, then he might avert the battle altogether, or at the very least, level the playing field.  

Such conclusions seem well justified based on the fact that Satan was personally involved in the betrayal of Jesus by making sure it happened exactly according to plan: He first planted the seed: “The devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him” (John 13:2). Then, he assumed the controls of Judas, his vessel: 

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude (Luke 22:3–6) (Emphasis mine).  

Satan entered Judas to make sure the job was done right. After all, this job, the entrapment and execution of the Promised One, must be done right in order to stop the One who declared war at Bashan—the One who was prophesied to stomp on his head. 

At the Passover celebration (Last Supper), Jesus was aware of Satan’s presence and declared Judas would betray him. “Having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot” (John 13:26). “Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’” (John 13:27) (Emphasis mine).  

Jesus called out Judas’ evil intentions and gave him the bread, and after Judas ate it, Satan possessed him. Were Jesus’ words, “Do quickly” addressed to Judas or to Satan, or both? Judas certainly carried the culpability of his actions, yet it was clearly Satan in the driver’s seat. It was almost as if Jesus was daring Satan to do it, urging him, “Go for it!” Satan accepted Jesus’ challenge, for shortly thereafter, in the garden of Gethsemane, Satan delivered. Through his agent Judas, Satan walked up to Jesus and kissed him, in what has gone down in infamy as the greatest demonstration of betrayal.  

And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47–48).  

Gates of Hades

Chapter 19 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Gates of Hades

Jesus, the true hero of light, continued His attack on the forces of darkness who had cast their shadow of death in Galilee, by taking the fight directly to them. Toward the latter end of His ministry, he took His disciples about thirty-five miles north of Capernaum to Caesarea Philippi, a two-day trek on foot. They went to the Cave of Pan (Banias),cxciii known as the Gates of Hades, at the base of Mount Hermon, depicted in Figure 62. It seems strange for a Jewish rabbi to take His students to a thoroughly pagan place of worship. Yet, Jesus was always intentional.  

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matt 16:13–18). 

Josephus describes the place:  

When Caesar had further bestowed upon him (Herod) another additional country, he built there also a temple of white marble, hard by the fountains of Jordan: the place is called Panium (Panias, Caesarea Philippi)

hat descends abruptly to a vast depth: it contains a mighty quantity of water, which is immovable; and when anybody lets down anything to measure the depth of the earth beneath the water, no length of cord is sufficient to reach it. Now the fountains of Jordan rise at the roots of this cavity outwardly; and, as some think, this is the utmost origin of Jordan.cxciv 

Figure 62 By Bill Rice from Flat Rock, MI, USA – Caesarea Philippi, CC BY 2.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35423945. 

Before the Romans conquered the area, the Greeks under Alexander, had occupied and governed under the auspices of the Seleucid Empire. It was out of a two-hundred-year dynasty established by the Seleucids that Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes came. He of course, was the one who desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem with the abomination of desolation. This led to the Maccabee revolt and the rededication of the temple, now celebrated as Hanukkah. It was during this fusion of Greek and Near East cultures that Hellenized religious traditions were overlaid on the biblical region. In the area of Banias, they built sanctuaries to worship the god Pan:  

which included strange sexual acts with goats. The Greeks called this place Panias, and the cave was the main attraction for Hellenistic pagan worship. Animal sacrifices were thrown into the bottomless pool inside. If the sacrifices sank, the gods were appeased. Next to the Pan cave are five niches with indented scalloped areas cut into the face of the cliff for their idols. These niches had elaborate temples attached to worship Pan, Zeus, Nemesis, and a sanctuary to the cult of the “dancing goats.” Pan was the god of the goats and his pipe music would entice the goats to dance, and make their fertility assured (he is also linked to sex, lust, and bestiality). It was so wicked, a sin city like today’s Las Vegas, that rabbis forbade a good Jew to come here.cxcv (See Appendix 3, Inanna). 

The Greeks, however, were not the first people to be enamored of the location. We recall that it was squarely in the land of Bashan and at the foot of Mt. Hermon where Baal-Hermon was worshipped. It was the place where the angels descended and also where Og, King of the Bashan and of the Amorites and Rephaim was headquartered. It was at this place that “Canaanite mythology … locates … the abode of its deified dead kings, the mlk(m)/rpu(m) that dwell(s) in ‘Štrt-hdr’y”,cxcvi that is, Og and Sihon, kings of the Rephaim that dwell in Ashtaroth and Edrei.  

The ancient coastal town of Ugarit recorded the location as being ruled by Mlkm (Milcom). This god was also worshipped in ancient Israel and was also known as Molech, a god who demanded child sacrifice. Like many of the gods we have examined before, Milcom was considered a chthonic (underworld) god equated with Nergal, Melqart (king of the city of Tyre) (See Ezek 28).  

Akkadian god lists from the Old Babylonian period onwards include a deity named Malik equated with Nergal, and other Akkadian texts mention mal(i)ku beings with the Igigi and Anunnaki, all in connection with the cult of the dead ancestors. (We may also note a god Milkunni attested in Hurrian.) … the presence of a deity Mlk at Ugarit … (vocalized as Malik, Milku and Mulik in syllabic texts) … appears in two divine directories (actually, snake charms), as resident at ‘ttrt … the same location which is elsewhere assigned to the netherworld deity Rpu it is suggestive of some close relationship, as is the attestation of beings called mlkm in connection with the royal cult of the dead, along with the better-known rpum (OT -Rephaim), who appear to be the shades of dead royalty at Ugarit (or of all the dead in the OT; cr. Ps 88:11). Finally, we may note the similar divine names Melqart of Phoenicia and Milcom of Ammon. Melqart (literally, “King of the City”) may also have connections with the underworld (particularly if one follows W. F. Albright in understanding “the City” as the netherworld), and equally of interest that the Ugaritic ‘address’ for Mlk, ‘ttrt, is likely to be identified with the city Ashtaroth in Bashan, just north of Ammon. cxcvii (Emphasis mine). 

W. F. Albright’s understanding of “the City” as the netherworld is based on the Old Babylonian “irigal”. Iri is like the Hebrew “ir” (city) and “gal” is “big”. It meant the underworld and in Akkadian it was erşetu; qabru meaning “earth, land; underworld; grave”. Erşetu (ertzetu) was also shorthand for “daltu ereti: the door of the underworld.”cxcviii Thus, the notion of the underworld having a gate or a door, is ancient and is found in the land of Shinar where Satan established his false religious system.  

There may have been multiple gates to the underworld just as there are multiple gates into a city. Nevertheless, the cave of Pan was considered to be one of those locations and Jesus made that clear to his disciples. In his paper, “The Gates of Hades and the Keys of the Kingdom,” Joel Marcus confirms how Hades was “believed to house not only the human dead but also the demonic agents of death and destruction.” cxcix  

GATES RELEASE THE ARMY, NOT JUST DEFENSIVE 

Often, commentators view the Gates of Hades as defensive measures trying to protect Hades from attack. Yet, we have seen that Satan’s kingdom has been on the offensive. The gates should not be interpreted as a defensive barrier, but rather as the portal releasing the forces of darkness upon the world. The word κατισχυσουσιν (katischusousin) “prevail” is an offensive word, which according to BDAG means “to have the strength or capability to obtain an advantage, be dominant, prevail to have the capability to defeat, win a victory over.”cc Marcus notes the “insurmountable philological problem with the “defensive” interpretation of the gates…katischynein + genitive is always active in meaning (=”to vanquish”), never passive (=”to resist successfully”).”cci He rightfully concludes that “the gates, therefore, would seem to be attacking the church.” He supports his philological deduction with the “observation of another Matthean passage: 7:24-25” which also portrays a rock, “and here the rock is subjected to a pounding by inimical forces.” ccii 

This leads us to the question of how can gates attack? Marcus points out that “gates” can be a pars-pro-toto term for the “city itself”, and how “English translations occasionally render še’arim ‘town’ or ‘city’” and therefore “‘gates of Hades’ seems to stand for the entire underworld city of the dead.” cciii Thus, Jesus’ use of “Gates of Hades” is perfectly consistent with how the region of Bashan and Hermon itself have many underworld connections.  

Jesus is not merely speaking about gates, but he is speaking of the entire realm of the dead. He is speaking of all of the underworld references we have already considered, many represented by the logogram BAD / BAT, such as Enlil, Ninurta, Og, MLK (Milcom / Molech), Nergal, etc. He is declaring to the great bull god Batios, king of the snake-dragons, stationed in Bashan, that he and his forces will not prevail against God’s kingdom. Jesus’ statement was a declaration of outright war against the rulers of the realm of the dead. Because “Gates … can stand for rulers … Matt 16:18 may point to a military origin for this linkage, which was already present in the OT.”cciv 

THE UNDERWORLD BURSTING THROUGH THE GATES  

Jesus’ trip to the Gates of Hades and subsequent transfiguration, appear to be more a part of a strategy than just an object lesson for His disciples. With history as our guide, we know that God intervened against the Nephilim in the days of Noah and then again, against the gibborim at the Tower of Babel. God quashed Satan’s dangerous machinations to overrun the planet with his demonic host. In the first century, there was a strong sense of the apocalyptic. Marcus notes that:  

The image of Matthew is of rulers of the underworld bursting forward from the gates of their heavily guarded, walled city to attack God’s people on earth. When we speak of demonic powers flooding the earth, we are speaking the language of Jewish apocalyptic. Jewish apocalyptists believed that, in the end-time, the powers of cosmic chaos, restrained since creation, would break forth from their restraint and bring unparalleled tribulation upon the world. Indeed, O. Betz has pointed out that there are remarkable parallels in the QL to the basic picture of Matt 16:18. In 1QH 3:17-18, e.g. the gates of Sheol open and the ungodly powers imprisoned in the underworld stream out to flood the earth.  

As A. Cooper renders this passage:  

They open the gates of [Sheol for all] acts of wickedness; They close the doors of the pit behind the conceiver of mischief; The bars of eternity behind all spirits of wickedness. The gates of Sheol, after opening to release the demonic powers onto the earth, close behind them so that they could not return to the underworld even if they wished to; like wild animals shut up in a gladiatorial arena, they have no choice but to attack the human beings who share their confinement. Similarly, in 1QH 3:26-34 the “time of the wrath of Belial” is described as one in which the gates of Sheol open and “arrows of the pit” fly out.ccv 

As Messiah and God, Jesus would not have succumbed to the latest pop-conspiracies of His day. That means He did not go to Caesarea Philippi for a stunt or to make a name for himself. In fact, coming down from the transfiguration, He instructed the disciples to keep it secret. This is highly suggestive that Satan had something planned for that time. Jesus went up to the Gates to meet the challenge. The events that Satan had planned might line up with the ideas of the apocalyptists of the day who believed the attack included the Gates of Hades opening and Satan’s hordes flooding out. While we do not know definitively if Satan had planned to attack at that time, we do know that he had been preparing his forces since the days of Nimrod, whom we have learned was Ninurta, Nergal, etc., who was also known as the arrow, the star, and the Beast that was, is not, and ascends. Whether Satan geared up for a final battle during Jesus’ ministry, we do not know; but we do know that he is assembling an army for the end of days which may enter through portals, such as the Gates of Hades. 

Darkness Fights the Light

Chapter 18 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Darkness Fights the Light

When Jesus began His ministry, there were hordes of demons in Galilee. They were concentrated in the Galilee because they were worshiped in the shadowland of the snake-dragons. They had gained dominance in the very place where Satan commanded the sons of God to descend and begin their genetic warfare. 

Matthew tells us that after the testing, Jesus was “leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matt 4:13). Jesus knew that the Sanhedrin and the influential rabbis were in Jerusalem. However, Jesus did not go to Jerusalem to try to make reforms to the religious leaders; instead, he went to the front line of the war, as Matthew notes: 

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the sea road, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles! The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned. From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matt 4:14–17). 

What did Isaiah mean concerning the people of Zebulun and Naphtali living in darkness and the shadowland of death? Isaiah revealed that these people were recommending that everyone “Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” whereas Isaiah rightfully answered, “Shouldn’t a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19). He then states how they need to go “to the law and to the testimony” (Isa 8:20a), and further warns:  

If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness (Isa 8:20–22 Holman Standard). 

It is after this warning that Isaiah adds that in the territories of Zebulun and Naphtali, “a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isa 9:2). Jesus was raised in Nazareth, which was in the territory of Zebulun. It was a small, landlocked territory and hence, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” was a reasonable question.  

Figure 61 Tribal Divisions of Northern Israel. 

Naphtali was next to the Sea of Galilee and adjacent to the land of Bashan and Mt. Hermon. As we have seen, Og was King of the Bashan, the land of snake-dragons. Furthermore, his name meant “death”, and according to Ugaritic texts, a deified dead king ruled from Ashtaroth and Edrei, which were the headquarters of Og, according to Deuteronomy 1:4.  

Thus, the people of Zebulun and Naphtali succumbed to the ways of Batios, the snake-dragon. Isaiah’s declaration (reiterated by Matthew) that the people were living in darkness and in the shadowland of death, was no exaggeration—neither was it simply a metaphor for their sinful lifestyle. They had so utterly abandoned God’s ways, His laws and instructions, that they had sided with the enemy whose headquarters were in that very region. Even back as far as when Mt. Hermon served as the meeting place for the angels who descended in the days of Noah, the area was malevolent. Naphtali was geographically in the shadowland of Bashan and Hermon, the headquarters of the kingdom of death. Jesus focused His ministry there, not Jerusalem, because the land of Bashan and Mt. Hermon were the frontline of the battle!  

With that in mind, we have a newfound appreciation for the statement “The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned” (Matt 4:16). Isaiah warned, “If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them” (Isa 8:20 HCSB), and sadly, because of their disobedience, there was no dawn and no light for the next seven centuries. Yet, Jesus’ arrival meant a new dawn had come. What glorious, good news it was that:  

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this (Isa 9:6–7 HCSB). 

A flashlight in the blackness of night is seen for miles around. Jesus’ light shone so brightly that the spiritual host of darkness saw it, and the light frightened them. In a kingdom of darkness, light is the enemy that must be vanquished. The dark forces mounted an opposition which is the reason there seemed to be demons on every corner in Galilee. Mary Magdalene was tormented by seven which Jesus cast out (Luke 8:2). Jesus’ fame for healing people quickly spread beyond the region of Galilee into Syria. The masses began bringing people to him who were “afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matt 4:24). He continued physical healing and casting out the demons (Matt 8:16), and thereby demonstrated His incredible power: The demons were compelled to obey Him.  

After humbling the demonic powers of darkness who had terrorized the people in the region of Galilee, Jesus “gave the order to go to the other side of the sea” (Matt 8:18), to take the fight to the region of Bashan, to the shadowland of death! The destination was Gadara, which according to the ancient writers “was a strong fortress … the position was one of great strength.” (Emphasis mine).cxc The destination appears to have been not merely a physical fortress, but a spiritual stronghold, as well.  

When an enemy attempts a frontal attack on a stronghold, defensive measures are enacted, and this is exactly what happened. “Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping” (Matt 8:24). Though storms were not uncommon on the Sea of Galilee, this one was so fierce that experienced fishermen greatly feared for their lives: “So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, ’Lord, save us! We’re going to die!’” (Matt 8:25). The storm was not typical and not natural, but was a storm caused by Satan and his demonic host in an attempt to kill Jesus and His disciples! Satan wielded the fierce power of a storm when he killed Job’s children:  

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:12). … a messenger came to Job and said … “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:16). While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house (Job 1:18), “and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead” (Job 1:19). (Emphasis mine.) 

Spirit beings can affect our world. Eliphaz, one of Job’s “friends”, shared his experience with a spirit being, though we do not know if it was a good or bad angel. The spirit brought fear and trembling, and it made him shake and made his hair stand up, but he could not make out the form. Then the being spoke to him.  

In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up. It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes (Job 4:13–16);  

Eliphaz was troubled by a real spirit, that although invisible, he could vividly perceive. Satan and demons can manipulate this world. Satan was also able to incite the Sabeans and the Chaldeans to attack Job’s servants and kill them. Satan used the power of fire from heaven (possibly lightning) and wind to kill Job’s kids and the animals.  

Satan’s control of weather and wind is completely in line with his title as “Prince of the Power of the Air” in the Bible and “Lord Wind,” as the Sumerian Enlil, and the “storm god” as the Canaanite Baal Hermon. In the next round with Job, Satan causes terrible sores to come upon Job’s body. If Satan can cause all of these effects while limited from the other side of the veil, what will happen when he is cast down to Earth? When he gains access to this side of the veil by inhabiting the Beast and controlling the False Prophet, it truly will be a scenario where the world will ask, “Who can make war with the beast?” The Beast and the False Prophet will indeed have Satan’s power to make “fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Rev 13:13). Thus, it was the “storm god” Satan who stirred the storm that confronted Jesus and the disciples; it was not a natural storm.  

The disciples woke Him, and while still lying down (and still groggy) He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” The text says, “then He arose and rebuked [επετιμησε epetimise] the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matt 8:26). In other words, Jesus appears to be bummed about being woken from His nap for something so trivial. Jesus did not merely tell the storm to be still. Rather, the word is “to express strong disapproval of someone, rebuke, reprove, censure also speak seriously, warn in order to prevent an action or bring one to an end.”cxci If Jesus were merely speaking to air currents, then why would He need to make a warning? How can one warn air molecules? However, the weight of evidence, is that He was rebuking Satan and his demons who were trying to prevent Him from crossing into their territory, and hopefully kill Him. Naturally, the disciples were utterly shocked and asked, “What kind of man is this? —even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matt 8:27). What they could not know at the time was that the storm was from Satan! 

LEGION 

Satan failed to keep Jesus from coming over, and once He arrived “two demon-possessed men met Him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way” (Matt 8:28). These men were filled with Satan’s forces and ready to take out any who trespassed into the land of the snake-dragon, King Og of Bashan’s former territory. Mark tells us that “immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2). Demon and unclean spirit are one and the same thing. (See Appendix 1 Demons). Note that the demon-possessed man lived in the tombs. He slept, ate and spent his time in the cemetery, the place of the dead. Og, King of Bashan was a chthonic (underworld) deity associated with other underworld gods like Ninurta, Molech, etc. Hence, this man was filled with demons of the kingdom of death and was drawn to places of the dead.  

For the ‘Canaanites’ of Ugarit, the Bashan region, or a part of it, clearly represented ‘Hell’, the celestial and infernal abode of their deified dead kings, – Olympus and – Hades at the same time. It is possible that this localization of the Canaanite Hell is linked to the ancient tradition of the place as the ancestral home of their dynasty, the rpum. cxcii 

In the text, we next see that the man had incredible strength—so much so that “no one could bind him, not even with chains” (Mark 5:3). Mark informs us that “he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him” (Mark 5:4).  

When the demoniac saw Jesus “from afar, he ran and worshiped Him” (Mark 5:6). And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me” (Mark 5:7). Matthew’s gospel adds, “Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt 8:29). The demons instantly knew who Jesus was, and seemed to know about some impending torment, possibly a reference to their final judgment. However, we must consider the context of this statement where immediately prior, Jesus had warned the wind and waves. Jesus was also sending a warning to the powers behind the storm which were Satan and his forces. It could be that they were fearful of the warning that He had given, and out of fear, reacted through the man they inhabited.  

After all, that man had a legion of demons in him. A legion is between 4,000-6,000 men. That means there were at least four thousand demons in the man and there may have been upwards of twelve thousand between the two of them. Jesus is unimpressed. He simply commanded: “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8). There was no contest between Jesus and the many mighty demons who had terrorized the people of the region for centuries. Once God’s champion showed up, they groveled before him. Indeed, Mark says the demons “begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country” (Mark 5:10). Apparently, it was beneficial to the demons for them to remain in the region of Bashan.  

Indicative of the apostasy of the region, “A large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains” (Mark 5:11). God had given the land to the children of Israel, and swine was not to be on the menu. Yet, because the people had given themselves to darkness, pig farming was popular. Then:  

All the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.  And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea (Mark 5:12–13). 

The thousands of demons were nothing before God’s Anointed. Jesus was showcasing his strength; and Satan must have taken notice, for if it had been about strength, Jesus clearly would have won. Yet, so long as Satan held the Tablet of Destinies, the Earth would legally be in his hands.  

Jesus the True Super-Hero

Chapter 17 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Jesus the True Super-Hero [Part-2]

In the last and hardest test “the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (Matt 4:8–9). 

The highest mountain within the boundaries of the United Kingdom of Israel, and even as far as Sidon, the northern most point of Jesus’ ministry, is Mount Hermon. There is no other mountain in the region that is higher; it is visible from nearly everywhere in Northern Israel and even to the southernmost part of the Sea of Galilee. It is the highest point in Israel, standing over 9,200 ft (2,800 m) above sea level, often with snow on its highest peaks.  

Of course, we remember that it was on this mountain that the angels came down and took an oath to corrupt the seed of man and beget the Nephilim. On that high mountain, Satan used his power to show Jesus “in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5), all the kingdoms of the world that he possessed. They all belonged to Satan. In Luke, Satan said “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6). Jesus did not argue with Satan because it was true. The harsh reality that Satan is the supreme-ruler of this world is evidenced throughout the pages of Scripture:  

  • the ruler of this world [cosmos κόσμος] (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). 
  •  “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev 11:15). (Meaning they were not before that moment).  

We need to understand “the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein (Ps 24:1, See also Ps 89:11). Everything belongs to God; It is all His creation. However, in the beginning God made man and said:  

“Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen 1:26).  

The same motif is clearly stated in Psalm 8:  

What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen—Even the beasts of the field (Ps 8:4–7).  

Think of it this way: God created the world, and then leased it out to Adam. It is all God’s, but He gave full authority to Adam. The dominion was Adam’s, though it technically belonged to God. Satan hoodwinked them in the Garden and gained the dominion for himself. This is why he said to Jesus, “All this authority … for this has been delivered [παραδεδοται] to me” (Luke 4:6). The word paradedotai [παραδεδοται], according to BDAG, means: “to convey something in which one has a relatively strong personal interest, hand over, give (over), deliver, entrust,” and also “to entrust for care or preservation, give over, commend, commit.” 

In other words, the kingdoms of this world have been given over, entrusted, committed to Satan—we might say he swindled Adam and Eve fair and square. Satan found a legal concept by which he could come in and take control of the planet and the world system, called adverse possession. According to Cornell Law School: 

Adverse possession is a doctrine under which a person in possession of land owned by someone else may acquire valid title to it, so long as certain common law requirements are met, and the adverse possessor is in possession for a sufficient period of time, as defined by a statute of limitations.clxxxvii 

Neither Adam and Eve, nor God had any legal recourse; Satan legally scammed them. Satan played the trump card! To be sure, God was more powerful and had more angels in His army. But the contest was not about strength; it was about authority, and Satan had the authority. He knew for certain God could not just overpower him and take it back because “righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne” (Ps 97:2). If God should overpower Satan, which he could, then God would no longer be righteous and just. If God tried to forcefully take back dominion of Earth, Satan could exclaim: 

“Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25). 

Because of this ace up his sleeve, Satan did not fear that Jesus could take back the planet. He reasoned that the most He would do is comfort mankind for some time; but in the end, because of the bondage of corruption which led to death, and because he held the power of death (Keys of Death and Hades) (Heb 2:14–15), Satan would remain master over the world indefinitely.  

We saw Satan’s hubris played out in the Akitu festival where the “good news” was brought to Enlil of the killing of (An) the Creator and where the “anutu” (Anu-ship) was delivered to Enlil. Enlil then in turn, gave the Enlil-ship to whoever he wished because it was his to give out. That authority was known as the Tablet of Destinies in the ancient world, and he was the owner. Amar Annus reminds us “In Enuma eliš, the Tablet of Destinies is associated with the powers of Anu”clxxxviii (Anu being the creator).  

THE SCROLL AND THE TABLET OF DESTINIES 

The Tablet of Destinies that Enlil possessed appears to be the same as the scroll in God’s right hand in Revelation.  

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it (Rev 5:1–4).  

In the Book of Daniel 7, we see a similar picture of millions upon millions of mighty beings surrounding God’s fiery throne! 

The Ancient of Days was seated … His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire (Dan 7:9). … A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him (Dan 7:10).  

John says a challenge went out to the 100+ million angels in God’s retinue: “A strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (Rev 5:2). He was asking who was authorized to open this scroll, and worthy to loose it seals. The reality was “no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.” 

Nobody on the Earth, no one in heaven or in the Earth or under the Earth, or in the abode of the dead. Nobody of the 100+ million beings, at least, standing before the King of Kings! Consequently, John says: “So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it” (Rev 5:3). 

He is weeping because of the significance of the scroll. The destinies of humankind are linked to the scroll, which Satan called the Tablet of Destinies. We learn as we continue to read Revelation that judgments come when the seals are broken. The judgments eventually lead to “loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Rev 11:15). In other words, once the scroll is opened, Satan’s kingdom is over.  

The scroll is the dominion God gave to Adam which he forfeited in the Garden. Scrolls had not yet been invented in the Sumerian civilization. All contracts were recorded on clay tablets. We recall how “Ninurta, as the seal-bearer of Enlil in Nippur, was probably authorized to act with Enlil’s authority. … Ninurta … is often invoked as the “Bearer of the Tablet of Destinies of the Gods.”clxxxix Hence, the Tablet of Destinies was the equivalent of the scroll. Whoever held the document, controlled Earth and the destinies of mankind.  

John wept beforehand because it was sealed, and nobody could open it; somehow the right to open the scroll had been forfeited. If the scroll could not be opened, it meant that Satan’s kingdom and authority would go on forever. 

SATAN OFFERS JESUS HIS AUTHORITY 

Satan indeed had authority over the world, a fact that Jesus did not contest: “The devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish’” (Luke 4:6). Satan offered to give Jesus the Tablet of Destinies if he would just bow down and worship Satan. He had given the Tablet to Nimrod millennia earlier, just as he would give it to Jesus if He complied.  

We could frame Satan’s offer like this:  

Oh, you want the planet? You want to save mankind? No problem, I can give it to whoever I want. The Father sent you on this mission to get all the kingdoms of the world and to show humanity how to live and to bring all into a meaningful relationship with God. I will make you a good deal. I will just give it all to you. You want it and this is what you came for. Take it. But just one little thing … no big deal, really. Bow down to me and worship me like others have in the past, and the world is yours.  

Had Jesus taken the offer, Satan probably would have kept his end of the bargain and the world would look quite different. Yet death would remain; death and the fear of death would have still permeated the planet. In Hebrews, the message is clear that Satan had authority over men, because we are told Jesus freed us:  

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2:14–15). 

Satan ruled mankind, and by his authority as Holder of the Keys of Death and Hell, he sealed the destiny of mankind. Consequently, humans could never go back to be with God because death is inside them: the animals, plants and also the planet itself. Remember earlier, nuclear physicist Dr. Robert Gentry told us that even granite is in the process of decay which can be measured by a Geiger counter as radiation. God Himself, in all of His beauty and glory cannot come back to this corrupted planet without melting it. His face is like the sun; He cannot come back unveiled. When He does come, He has to shroud himself in thick darkness. Even with the protective shroud, when He came down to Mt. Sinai, the mountain was enveloped in smoke and it was on fire because the glory of the Lord.  

Satan was ingenious; He elaborated on how he could give Jesus exactly what he came for, but understated that little clause “just bow down”. But thankfully, Jesus was way ahead of Satan.  

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matt 4:10–11).  

Jesus the True Super-Hero 

Chapter 17 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Jesus the True Super-Hero [Part-1]

A true story comes to us from Australia where a father heard the cry of his son who was being attacked by a 15-foot (4.5 m) python which had sunk its teeth into the boy’s leg and was trying to pull him away, but the child was holding on tenaciously to a fence. The father ran to save his boy, hit the snake, and then pried open its jaws to free the boy. However, the snake kept coming after the boy. So, the father fought it back some more. Finally, somebody brought a sledgehammer, and the dad finished off the snake.  

Figure 60 4.5 Meter python killed by Australian father. 

That story is analogous to what Satan did to humanity. He cheated mankind out of his birthright and staged a coup against his Creator. God summarily declared: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed [zarakha זַרְעֲךָ] and her seed [zarah זַרְעָהּ]; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15). Over the millennia, Satan tried time and again to thwart the coming of Messiah who was prophesied to bruise his head. He sent the angels to Mt. Hermon where they cursed themselves if they should not fulfill their mission. With only eight people left in the world who had not become irreversibly corrupted, God sent the Flood.  

He then caused Nimrod to become a gibbor and made him into a god. Acting through Nimrod, Satan erected the gate of the gods in Babylon to have communication between the realms; and as a result, God scrambled the languages. Using Nimrod as the god Ninurta / Amurru, Satan seduced and altered the population in order to permeate the Promise Land with genetically modified Nephilim / Rephaim and was ready to meet Israel. His purpose was to ensnare Israel as soon as they entered the land and to stop Israel from remaining faithful to God.  

The perverted and lustful Babylonian system that he created did indeed infiltrate the life of Israel. It was her wisest king, Solomon, who brought Molech / Milcom “the king” into the daily life of Israel. As a result, Israel cursed themselves, just like Adam and Eve had done. (See Appendix 5 Balaam). Consequently, the Kingdom of Israel split; God divorced the ten northern tribes and sent them away, calling them: “not my people” and “no mercy.” (See Hosea 1:6, 9). The remaining people in Judah were not divorced but were chastised in Babylon, of all places, and then returned to the land. Satan did not surrender; He tried to get Judah to fail again through marriage to pagan women. Satan orchestrated a wave of Greek influence that seduced Judah.  

Again, the people cursed themselves when they abandoned the ways of God and craved Greek philosophy, games, sports, language and gods. The people of Judah were Hellenized by choice and embraced the Greek culture and religion. The Greek king even desecrated the Holy of Holies with an abomination. Mankind falls for Satan’s schemes; Humanity was doomed and could only be rescued by a true hero. 

There is a funny meme that illustrates how Jesus did something like the father who saved his son from the python. In the meme, the Marvel superheroes: Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America and Hulk are sitting around Jesus who says: “…and that’s how I saved the world.” It drives home the point that Jesus is the ultimate superhero who saved the world! He is the one that came to save us from the jaws of the enemy who had his teeth sunk into our leg, and would not let us go and kept coming after us. Jesus was willing to do what was necessary to save us from Satan’s bite.  

That father in Australia, I have no doubt would have been willing to lay down his life for his child. I would absolutely do that for my children without hesitation. However, Jesus could not merely take a sledgehammer to Satan’s head and rescue us; he had to be wise, disciplined, and come with a plan. Because Satan is no dummy, Jesus had to outsmart him. We need to understand who Jesus was. He is not just some little kid who rose up to achieve greatness. He existed before he came to this planet. He existed before he was born of a virgin. He had greatness. He had all the splendor and the praise that you could ever imagine. Jesus was clothed in glory to such a degree that Paul says: 

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philip 2: 5–8). 

When Jesus is praying to the Father in the garden, He says: “O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). Jesus was “the word who was there in the beginning. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The glory He had was rightfully His; He decided to lay that aside and to come as a humble child.  

He was not born in luxury, nor in a great palace with servants in attendance; no one was waiting for him saying: “Come, Your Highness, we have the best room waiting for you.” No, Jesus came humbly; He was born in a lowly manger: “She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). He was born in a barn because “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Nevertheless, God’s angels lit up the sky and announced the birth of the long-awaited and promised Messiah. They proclaimed that:  

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:8–11).  

He came and he humbled himself to do what was necessary to redeem us, to buy us back and to save us from the jaws of the snake.  

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matt 2:1–3).  

God warned the wise men that Herod was up to no good, so they did not return to Herod and disclose the baby’s location. Herod did not want to locate the baby to adore the new King; He wanted to kill Him. Thus, Satan the snake-dragon tried to destroy Jesus before He could become a threat.  

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men (Matt 2:16). 

The dragon would try to destroy the child as soon as He was born. Herod was the representation of the serpent, used by Satan to try and destroy the child. 

Despite all that, when the child came of age, John “saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29). Then when Jesus came up from the water, “the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him (Matt 3:16). And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matt 3:17). 

Satan the great dragon was the greatest of all creatures. He easily outwitted Adam and Eve, like taking candy from a baby, but the shrewd move secured him dominion over the entire cosmos. Therefore, when the arrival of the “seed of the woman” finally came, after so many millennia, Satan would need to test His claim and determine if He could be quickly brushed aside.  

SATAN TESTS THE TRUE HERO  

Matthew tells us that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted [πειρασθηναι peirasthenai] by the devil” (Matt 4:1). When God tests us, He wants us to pass—He wants to prove our faith. Nevertheless, the same word [πειρασθηναι peirasthenai] is used when Satan wanted to test Jesus, and show Him lacking. Naturally, the dragon does not want a fair fight, so he began the testing after Jesus “had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry” (Matt 4:2).  

His first question was a challenge “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matt 4:3). Robertson aptly notes:  

The devil is alluding to the words of the Father to Jesus at the baptism: “This is my Son the Beloved.” He challenges this address by a condition of the first class which assumes the condition to be true and deftly calls on Jesus to exercise his power as Son of God to appease his hunger and thus prove to himself and all that he really is what the Father called him.clxxxiv 

In other words, Satan accepted the claim just as he heard God’s voice from heaven. And that being true, he wanted to see Jesus in action. I am grateful to my friend Dr. Michael Heiser, who on my show, “The Awakening Report”, made an astute observation that Satan was testing Jesus to see what he knew and what he would divulge; would he use his power, and most importantly, could Satan kill him?clxxxv Thus, perhaps we could frame Satan’s challenge like this—“Can I mislead you through a selfish use of your power and thereby disqualify you as man’s champion?”  

Jesus answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4:4). He passed the first test and then came the second:  

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone’” (Matt 4:5–6). 

Satan specifically presented the Messiah with a messianic passage. In fact, Satan must have left off the next verse deliberately: “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra [פתן peten], The young lion and the serpent [תנין tanin] you shall trample underfoot” (Ps 91:13).  

The Hebrew words are incredibly provocative. We already investigated peten in the context of Bashan, and found the meaning: snake-dragon. Tanin is also often used for a type of dragon. Satan was encouraging Jesus to “tread the lion-snake-dragon”! Satan was saying I am Ušumgallu, the great dragon, I am Mušuššu the fierce red dragon, I am Bašmu, king of Bashan; You came to crush my head—let’s go! You are here to fulfill the prophecy of doom, let’s get started. Satan knew exactly why Jesus had come; and after waiting thousands of years, he wanted to get straight to the point.  

In other words, Satan was baiting Jesus: if you jump to fulfill this Messianic prophecy and the angels catch you up—you will have proven that you are indeed Messiah. Did Satan hope Jesus would be sophomoric and try to fulfill the prophecy in the most obvious way? If Jesus had taken the bait, Satan would know that Jesus could not kill him.clxxxvi Yet very adroitly, Jesus answered, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (Matt 4:7).  

Ninurta the Star, Arrow and King of Hades 

Chapter 16 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Ninurta the Star, Aroow and King of Hades [Part-2]

NERGAL ON A KUDURRU STONE 

In 1882, a Limestone kudurru stoneclxv was found in ancient Sippar, southern Iraq, from the Kassite period circa 1186 BC-1172 BCclxvi and is now housed at the British Museum. (See figure 55). The creature on face A (of four sides) is Pabilsag / Nergalclxvii. The Museum describes the: 

Composite being, in the form of a centaur, with attributes of man, beast, bird and reptile. The god has two heads, one human, with beard and thick hair falling on the shoulders, and on it he wears a conical head-dress probably provided with horns; the second head, facing backwards, is that of a lion. The god’s torso and arms are human, and he is represented drawing a bow; ends of five arrows in a sheath are visible over his right shoulder. The body, hind legs, the lower tail, and the upper part of the fore legs are those of a horse; a second tail is that of a scorpion, and the fore legs end in scorpions, though only one scorpion is shown. Wings rise from the horse’s shouldersclxviii (Emphasis mine). 

Figure 56 Pabilsag from a 12th century entitlement (Kudurru) Stone. 

Here is a tracing, Figure 56 of the inscription to better bring out the details. Notice that the centaur-beast is an archer with a bow and arrow drawn. One of his tails is a scorpion’s tail. The forward feet are those of a horse, yet he has the face of a man. Gavin White notes:  

Although the basic image of the horse-centaur can only be traced back to the middle of the 2nd millennium (the Kassite period), the figure is undoubtedly older as the constellation name appears in the star-lists of the preceding Old Babylonian period. A potentially older form of the Archer that doesn’t have any horse characteristics can also be found on entitlement stones.  

It combines the features of a human archer with a scorpion’s body and birdlike feet. Very similar creatures first appear in Akkadian artwork where they can have wings and often have a snake-headed phallus. clxix  

The iconography for Pabilsag / Ninurta is incredibly revealing of future events, especially when we remember that Pabilsag / Ninurta / Nergal is the god of the underworld. We are told specifically in Revelation 9 that a king of the underworld is going to acquire the key and open the Abyss (Hades). What is more startling is that the iconography of Pabilsag / Nergal on at least one stone, is a perfect match of the creatures prophesied to come out of the Abyss.  

Figure 57 An impression from an Uruk seal. 

Thus, the deity that Israel encountered and then embraced and carried around was Ninurta, who was none other than the rebel Nimrod who became a gibbor! The image of a “an archer with bow and arrow” of course, draws our attention to John’s Revelation where he “looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer” (Rev 6:2). (See Figure 57). Ninurta / Nergal / Pabilsag is clearly identified as the warrior who conquers and is identified as the star Sirius; and, by the time of the Greeks, he would be known as Sagittarius.clxx An ancient Assyrian letter describes Ninurta’s constellation qualities as the arrow and as Sagittarius. Amar Annus explains: “the arrow (šiltahu) of Sagittarius (PA.BIL.SAG) stands within the halo of the moon … Both Sirius and Mercury are thus ‘arrows’ of Ninurta and also his manifestations.”clxxi In Revelation, we read about a “star” that has the key to the Abyss and reigns as king over those who come out.  

And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1). Then out of the smoke locusts came … (Rev 9:3). And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (Rev 9:11). 

The star that fell was given the key to open the Abyss and is king over the Abyss. His name is Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek, but both mean the same thing: destroyer.clxxii We know that stars are defined as angels in Revelation (See Rev 1:20) and of course, we have learned that fallen angels are known as the gods of the pagan world. Thus, it follows that the star that falls to Earth is not a meteorite or other such body, but instead, is an angelic (demonic) entity. The entity is known as a Star, a Destroyer, a King and underworld god. We have seen all of these qualities throughout our study. The star “fallen from heaven to earth” is Satan / Enlil / Ninurta (son of Enlil) / Nimrod / Nergal / Pabilsag, and “to him was given the key to bottomless pit.”  

Composite Image of the Chimera in Revelation 9clxxiii 
9A (Rev 9:7–10) 1st Description 9B (Rev 9:17–19) 2nd Description 
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle.  On their heads were crowns of something like gold,  and their faces were like the faces of men (Rev 9:7). They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth (Rev 9:8). And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron,  and the sound of their wings (Rev 9:9)  They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months (Rev 9:10).  And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow;  and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions;  and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone (Rev 9:17).  the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths (Rev 9:18).  For their power is in their mouth and in their tails;  for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm (Rev 9:19). 

Table 7 Composite Image of the Chimera in Revelation 

In Revelation 9, John sees locusts that come out of the Abyss but, unlike locusts, these creatures (two-hundred million of them) look like a horse, have a lion’s head, man’s face, wings and two tails. While many commentators see two different kinds of creatures in Revelation 9, there are really just two descriptions of the same creature. I have placed the descriptions from Revelation 9A (Rev 9:7–10) and Revelation 9B (Rev 9:17–19) side by side in a table to help us see the common features.  

Rev 9A specifically describes horses; Rev 9B says the “heads of the horses”. That common feature indicates that both sections have horses. Rev 9B then assumes we know they are horses. Notice also Rev 9A mentions “lion’s teeth”, and Rev 9B says “heads of lions”. The two sections are giving complimentary descriptions of the type of creature that comes out of the Abyss in Revelation 9; and Revelation 17 informs us that it will be the Beast that was, is not, and will ascend out of the Abyss.  

Both 9A and 9B describe a chest area (thorax) clxxiv of iron or as strong as iron. 9B tells us the color, 9A tells us about the quality; they are complimentary and not contradictory.  

We see horses with lions’ heads breathing fire, where we are told out of the heads of the horses were heads like the heads of lions and are out of their mouths came fire, smoke and brimstone. This army of 200 millionclxxv horse-chimeras, (not Chinese soldiersclxxvias was erroneously postulated in the 70’s, but horse-like beingsclxxvii) that have a head of a lion and a face of a man, with mouths that discharge fire.  

Both 9B and 9A describe their tails; these tails are going to terrorize men. 9B states: 

By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm (Rev 9:18). 

If we then compare this passage to Revelation 9A, we see 9A says they had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men for five months. Both passages illustrate beastly killing-machines that strike mankind with their fiery mouths and scorpion tails. They cause painful injuries, and as a result one-third of mankind is killed.  

Do not forget that at this time, after taking the Mark of the Beast, men will want to seek death and will not be able to find it; They will desire to die, but death will flee from them (Rev 9:6). 

9A and 9B are actually a composite image. That is, the descriptions of the beasts overlay one another and create a greater image. For example, animators use the layering technique to create a composite. Only when the layers are combined do we get the full sense of what the image is supposed to look like. Thus, 9A gives us a description. And then in a recapitulation, that is, John goes back and says it again, but with variant details. Yet, the details from both passages are needed to complete the picture. When we view the composite image that John saw; amazingly, it is a perfect depiction of Pabilsag / Nergal (Ninurta).  

The features of the ancient hybrid beast are a perfect match with the coming hybrid beasts who will swarm out of the Abyss. Satan has engineered hybrid chimeras which he will muster to form an army of 200 million. (See Appendix 8 Joel’s Army). The complexity of the creature and the number of years that have elapsed tells us Satan has been planning for an invasion for a long time. Nergal (Pabilsag) was known as a destroyer: “May Nergal in his destruction not [spare(?)] his offspring!” Furthermore, the word of his epithet “‘the strong god’… is derived from Semitic HRR ‘to scorch’.” Lastly, Wiggenner also notes, “Nergal’s planet is Mars (Salbatanu). According to astrological omens, Mars spreads death when he rises or flares up (von Weiher, Nergal 76ff.), and a tentative etymology explains this role of MUL tzal (sal) bat-a-nu as mushtabarru (ZAL) mutanu (BAD-a-nu) “(the planet) which spreads plague”.clxxviii 

Across is a table comparing the Kudurru Stone inscription and the image from the book of Revelation.  

Rev 9 Creature BM Kudurru Inscription From British Museum 
Like a horse running to battle  centaur [man-horse hybrid] The body, hind legs, lower tail* and the upper part of the fore legs are those of a horse. 
Lion’s head the second head, facing backwards, is that of a lion. 
Man’s face one human [head] 
Something like crowns he wears a conical head-dress probably provided with horns 
Woman’s hair with beard and thick hair falling on the shoulders, 
Lion’s teeth [Lions head, teeth presumed] 
Fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow iron-likeclxxix breastplate The god’s torso and arms are human, and he is represented drawing a bow; ends of five arrows in a sheath are visible over his right shoulder.  
Noisy wings  Wings rise from the horse’s shoulders 
Scorpion’s tail with stingers  a second tail is that of a scorpion, and the fore legs end in scorpions, though only one scorpion is shown 
Serpent’s tailclxxx *Serpent-head phallusclxxxi 
Fire and brimstone from mouth Ninurta … as a “Dragon with the ‘hands’ of a lion, the claws of an eagle … You spat venom like a snake.”clxxxii (The Anzu bird also spews venom.) 

Table 8 Comparing Kudurru Inscription and Revelation 

Another variation on the theme found on the Kudurru Stone is that of the scorpion-people, which stand on two feet like a man rather than four, like a horse / lion. (See Figure 58).  

Scorpion-people Girtabluttû, ‘scorpion-man’, is the Akkadian term for a supernatural being with a horned cap of divinity, human head with beard, human body, the hindquarters and talons of a bird, a snake-headed penis, and a scorpion’s tail. He may or may not have wings. The creature is first seen in the art of the Third Dynasty of Ur and of the Akkadian Period, but was common only in Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian times.clxxxiii 

The description is an incredibly strong match to what John saw in his visions: “For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm” (Rev 9:19).  

Figure 58 Scorpion-people Girtabluttû, “scorpion-man” 

SUMMARY 

In John’s vision he sees a star fallen from heaven and we note an important clue, “to him was given the key,” which means that he did not have it previously. We are going to see shortly how Jesus acquired this key. Nevertheless, at the time when Jesus declared that the Gates of Hades would not prevail, Satan still held the key to the Abyss (underworld). We have seen that Batios, representing Ninurta, Og, Melqart, Molech, Nergal, Pabilsag, etc., was the king of that domain. It is shocking to discover that the chimeric creatures described in Revelation 9 perfectly match Ninurta / Nergal, et al. (See Appendix 8 Joel’s Army). 

Milestone Marker 2 

Figure 59 Roman Milestone on the Road of the Patriarchs between Jerusalem and Hebron https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons. 

Ninurta the Star, Arrow and King of Hades 

Chapter 16 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Ninurta the Star, Aroow and King of Hades

The god of death known as Enlil / Ninurta continued to seduce Northern Israel with promises of fleshly pleasures; but then, they demanded child sacrifice. The Northern Kingdom eventually became so bad that Isaiah wrote about them: “The people who walked in darkness . Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death” (Isa 9:2). 

Ironically, the false god that Israel worshiped would be the same god that their conquerors worshipped: “So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day” (2 Kgs 17:23). The House of Israel was removed from the land God had given them and taken to Mesopotamia where they could worship the gods they had been pursuing. We learn that “Sennacherib king of Assyria … was worshiping in the temple of Nisroch his god” (2 Kgs 19:36–37). We now know that:  

The Assyrian deity who hides behind the name Nisroch may be identified with Ninurta. The ‘spelling נסרך is probably best understood as a textual corruption fromנמרד …ultimately Nisroch relates to Ninurta (Nimrod).cxxxviii 

Before they were hauled off to Assyria, the prophet Amos relayed a lamentation on account of the terrible practices they did in honor of Ninurta.  

“You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves. (Amos 5:26 NASB)cxxxix 

We now know the identity of Sikkuth and Kiyyun, due to the discovery of ancient libraries and documents from the ancient near east, and due to scholars investing lifetimes in translating and understanding those texts. 

Amar Annus notes the identification of an astral divinity with Ninurta where Sakkud: dsakkud = dnin-urta: 

Sakkud is attested in a famous biblical passage in the book of Amos 5:26 where the prophet criticizes his people: “You carried skwt, your king and kywn, your star, images which you have made for yourselves.” It is possible, according to some scholars, that skwt originates from SAG.KUD and the deity Sakkuth was worshipped in Samaria during Amos’ time (cf. 2 Kgs 17:30). What is curious in the biblical passage is they attribute “your king” (mlkkm) to skwt which fits Ninurta as the god of kingship.cxl  

Encyclopedia.com gives a helpful summary of the two gods Sikkuth [סִכּוּת] and Chiun [כִּיּוּן], whom they identify as a pair of Mesopotamian astral deities associated with Ninurta (Nimrod). 

In other “non-Western” lists of gods and stars, Sikkuth has recently been identified with Ninurta, one of the chief Mesopotamian deities … Sikkuth in Amos is a perfect transliteration of this star deity. Its appellation, melekh (Akk. šarru, “king”), alludes to the high rank of this deity, a (translated) classification device known from Ugaritic and other sources. This means that in the ritual to which Amos alludes, Sikkuth is the most important figure. Chiun is identified with the Akkadian Kajamānu (in Akkadian intervocalic m comes to be pronounced like w, and so m was often written even for original w), “the steady one” (sometimes sag.uš), the appellation of the star god Saturn (hence Aramaic Kewan, Ar. Kaiwan).cxli 

As we saw in the chapter on Og King of the Bashan, one of Og’s titles was Milcom / Molech. The same epithet was used by Ninurta because Ninurta was the god and driving force behind the practices and iniquity of the Amorites and the Rephaim. Amar Annus continues:  

One might suggest that the Amos passage reflects peripheral Mesopotamian traditions diffused into Samaria. The second divine element, kywn, almost certainly corresponds to Akkadian kajjamanu (SAG.UŠ) “Saturn.” cxlii 

We must not overlook the significance of Saturn’s Sumerian name SAG.UŠ. SAG means “chief, head”cxliii and UŠ means “death, dead, dying,” related to UG.cxliv We see again the death cult associated with Ninurta, Og and Nergal, along with Melqart, Heracles and the like.  

A deity Sakkuth was called “your king” in Israel as Sakkud in Mesopotamia was associated with Ninurta. For the court scholars of the Neo-Assyrian empire, the conjunction of Mercury, that is the star of Ninurta/Nabû, and Saturn, the star of the king, constituted the sign of kingship. In Mesopotamian astrology, Orion was comparably the celestial image of the dying king Dumuzi/Tammuz (called Sipazianna, “faithful shepherd of heaven”).cxlv 

The northern kingdom of Israel was worshiping Ninurta, son of Enlil, which is to say they were worshiping Satan and the world system he created. The Canaanite headquarters of this worship were in the land of Bashan, Zebulun and Naphtali, being the land of the shadow of death. They were worshiping the beast that carries the woman. Satan uses the woman who represents lust to seduce people to fornicate, and then to justify child sacrifice. The fathers and mothers were willing to throw their infants into the deadly hands of Molech / Saturn / Ninurta, and then parade him around as their king! Thus, the identity of “your king” in Amos 5:26 is firmly established as Ninurta because “he is one of the gods who is explicitly called ‘the king’ in hymns,” and his “kingship is eminently manifest.” cxlvi  

WHAT ABOUT REMPHAN? 

In Acts 7:43, Steven recounted Israel’s history (drawing from Amos 5): “You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:43 NASB). Due to a scribal error in the letters, the Hebrew k, כ [kaph], was replaced by the Hebrew r, ר [resh], and in Greek, ph (φ) substituted for v. cxlvii Thus the Hebrew Chuin or Kewan, was rendered in the Septuagint, as Ῥαιφάν [Raiphan]. To be clear, there was no ancient god known as Remphan. It is the result of a scribe misreading some letters that are easy to confuse, and out came the fictitious Remphan. 

Unfortunately, the star of Israel’s false god to whom Stephen and Amos referred, has been erroneously associated with the six-pointed Magen David (Star of David). However, the pagan star in question is NOT the Magen David. Rather, it was the Star of Ninurta, which has eight points, as we have seen, not six points.  

NINURTA, THE ARROW AND THE STAR 

Sikkuth, of course, sounds nothing like Ninurta; so, why does it represent Ninurta? The name Sukuth was a Hebraized form of the Babylonian Shukudu (“the Arrow”), a name of Sirius,cxlviii the brightest star in the night sky. It was associated with the god Ninurta.cxlix Thus, the star was associated with Sirius and Saturn, and had nothing to do with the Magen David. Amar Annus notes the following about arrow epithets used for Ninurta: 

  • The arrow (šukudu) … is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius (see CAD s.v.), and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself … The terrible arrow of Marduk is compared to a merciless lion … šiltahu 5.cl 
  • Ninurta is the Arrow (= Sirius), the great warrior, who slit the throats of the enemies of Assurbanipal with his pointed arrowhead 
  • Ninurta himself is an ‘arrow’.  

“Ninurta’s identity with the star is explicit in a šu-ila prayer which begins with the words atta Kaksisa Ninurta ašared ili rabûti “you are Sirius, (that is) Ninurta, the first among the great gods” (Mayer 1990: 467ff).” cli 

In other words, Ninurta is known as the Arrow, and the Arrow, in an astronomical setting, is the star Sirius. The imagery of gods as stars reminds us of the language of Revelation in which angels are frequently symbolized as stars. In John’s vision of Revelation, Jesus has seven stars in his right hand. Jesus reveals the mystery: “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Rev 1:20). Thus, there are seven stars or seven angels (messengers) to God’s redeemed people. It is interesting that another word for “arrow” (mulmullu, Sumerian mul.mul) is related to the Pleiades. Amar Annus explains that:  

The Pleiades were thought to bring war and destruction – “the warlike gods, who carry bow and arrow, whose rising means war.” It is worth noting that the month of Ningirsu in Astrolabe B, Iyyar, is also referred to as “the month of the Pleiades, the Seven Great Gods”.clii 

The name of the star Sirius derives from the Babylonian word for arrow; The Sumerian word for arrow is linked with the Pleiades. The star was a symbol of Ninurta, and the warrior’s terrible, merciless arrow is also connected to astrological bodies. Annus comments that:  

Marduk’s arrows (mulmullu) … are said to “rain down on the mountains” (i-sal-la-hu KUR.MEŠ, l. 14). All the gods, good and evil, are vanquished by these arrows. Thus both mulmullu and šukudu referred to the god’s arrow which killed his enemy, despite their different astral identities. cliii 

The first century Jewish apocalyptists used similar language suggesting Belial and his hordes will come out of the underworld with arrows flying. What the apocalyptists were envisioning was the image that Satan (Mesopotamian Enlil) had been projecting all along: Satan, or his proxy, was the great dragon, the invincible dragon that you did not want to encounter or challenge. Yoder notes the epithet: “ú-šum-gal-lum la maār “the great dragon, who cannot be faced.”cliv He also notes regarding Nergal: “The majestic, great dragon who pours venom upon them”. Nergal’s divine staff was as “awe-inspiring as a serpent” and Ninurta’s mace consisted of seven snake-like heads.clv 

In Mesopotamian astrology, Orion was comparably the celestial image of the dying king Dumuzi/Tammuz (called Sipazianna, “faithful shepherd of heaven”). According to K. van der Toorn, it is even possible that a conflation of traditions could have resulted in the idea that, to the Greeks, the constellation Orion instead of Sirius was the heavenly counterpart of the hunter Orion. In this connection it might be interesting to note that in Syriac Orion is called gabbar, “hero” (1990: 11).clvi 

From the previous evidence, we see that Sikkuth (šukudu) refers to an arrow, as well as Ninurta. Kiyyun means “steady one”. However, both names also refer to planets or a constellation. Sikkuth is associated with Saturn, Sirius and possibly, the Pleiades or Orion, while Kiyyun relates to the “steady one”, meaning Saturn. Both Sikkuth and Kiyyun are appellations that involve a hero and a bow and arrow. This a description of the hero, Nimrod, with his bow and arrow, the one who became a gibbor, which translated is “hero”. Nimrod was a gibbor hunter, and of course, he has been positively identified as Ninurta.  

It was Ninurta’s command that drove his beloved Tiglath-pileser I to go hunting bulls, elephants, lions and birds. The weapons used by him include “my strong bow, iron arrowheads (šukud AN.BAR) and sharp arrows (mulmulliya zaqtute)” (Grayson 1991: 25 vi 65-67). The arrow (šukudu), mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius, and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself.clvii 

Wiggermann notes how “As a god of war, Nergal is very similar to Ninurta, with whom he shares the title ‘a strong warrior, son of Enlil.’” Furthermore, he notes how a god appearing as “Nergal was” explicitly called the “Enlil of the mountain (kur netherworld).” clviii  

In fact, “from Ur III onwards the god of Kutha starts appearing in the south as Nergal “The Lord of the big city”, and he is explicitly called the “Enlil of the mountain (kur netherworld)”.clix 

Thus, Nimrod, the rebel is also represented as Nergal, the supreme god of the underworld who governs the dead. Hades, his equivalent in ancient Greek myth, was also lord of the dead and king of the underworld. At the Gates of Hades, located at Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mt. Hermon, Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). Jesus directly confronted the king of the underworld on his turf and declared war. We have explored Nimrod in his persona as the celestial archer and arrow, which related to being king of the underworld. We will now look at Nimrod from another angle, where he was known as Pabilsag, the chief ancestor.  

PABILSAG AS NIMROD, THE CHIEF ANCESTOR 

Pabilsag is a variation of Ninurta or Nimrod; the origin of the name is fascinating, and the iconography is shockingly biblical. When we compare Pabilsag’s bio with Revelation 9, a startling realization comes into focus: The gods that the House of Israel once worshiped will return in the last days. As we look at the ancient past, we get insight into the end times. Let me explain. I’ll start with the name.  

Pabilsag comes from Old Babylonian and means a “relation”. In Akkadian, it is “abu”, which of course is related to the Hebrew  אבAb (father), or Aramaic, Abba. The infix “bilga”, also Old Babylonian, means “male ancestor”. Lastly, saĝ, which is Old Akkadian, means “head; person; capital”, and in Akkadian, qaqqadu; rēšu, similar to the Hebrew “rosh”.clx Pabilsag, then, was the chief or “principal ancestor”. Pabilsag, as indicated by his name, was clearly someone the Mesopotamians believed to be of great importance, who was the chief of all their ancestors.  

Pabilsag was considered a son of the god Enlil according to the most common tradition … Pabilsag was merged with several deities, the most prominent one Ningirsu / Ninurta. The syncretism with Ningirsu/Ninurta probably took place during the Old Babylonian period (Krebernik 2003-05: 162). Pabilsag’s association with the netherworld could be due to his syncretism with the underworld deity Nergal.clxi  

Thus, Pabilsag is the principal ancestor who is also known as Ninurta, who was the son of Enlil—who of course, was Nimrod, the rebel who became a hybrid.  

Gavin White discusses the name: “Additional epithets like ‘the weapon with a burning tip’ or ‘he who strikes with a burning point’ can be derived from the individual signs used to write Pabilsag’s name.” clxii This weapon with a burning tip could be a reference to Ninurta’s arrow (Shukudu).  

We see again that Nimrod or Ninurta shows up by another name. We noted at the beginning of our study how Satan has many names, and once we start making this connection, we see Satan was manifesting through his proxies everywhere in the ancient world; So too, with Nimrod. However, we do not find evidence of Nimrod anywhere else under the name Nimrod, because that is not his name. It is the Bible’s renaming of the rebellious person who became a gibbor. Yet, in each of the epithets of Nimrod that we examine, we learn more of his character and his significance with the people who venerated him. The Bible has already established that he was a rebel. Nevertheless, the Mesopotamian version portrays him as Lord of the Earth, the great mountain, the arrow, Sirius, the brightest star. Now we see his appearance as Pabilsag, and we learn he is also known as the chief ancestor and god of the netherworld, like Nergal. The Dictionary of Deities and Demons notes some of the epithets Ninurta possesses:  

Ninurta who has qardu ‘fierce’, ‘heroic’ and qarradu ‘warrior’, ‘hero’ among his standard epithets … Astronomers of the 8th-7th century added further connotations, identifying Ninurta (or Pabilsag) with Sagittarius or, alternatively, associating Ninurta with the planet Sirius (called Šukudu ‘arrow’), the major star of Canis major (Akk qatsu ‘bow’).clxiii  

What emerges from our investigation is the image of the constellation Sagittarius, which is familiar to many of us as a horse-centaur that is armed with a bow and arrow. The centaur-like god Sagittarius turns out to be, yet another version of Ninurta / Nimrod known as Nergal or Pabilsag. The ancient Mesopotamian versions reveal a composite being “with a number of features not seen in the Greek version, such as a set of wings, a scorpion’s tail and the head of a dog.”clxiv We know exactly how Nergal looked due to the recently discovered iconography. (See Figure 55, next page). Remarkably, the image appears to be the same creatures who come out of the Abyss in Revelation 9. (See also Appendix 8 Joel’s Army). I will demonstrate how they match soon, but first let’s examine the Kudurru Stone.  

Figure 55 Nergal / Pabilsag from a 12th century entitlement (Kudurru) Stone 

 

Hybrids and the Iniquity of the Amorites

Chapter 15 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Hybrids and the Inquity of the Amorites

In the classic story, when the big bad wolf finds out that Little Red Riding Hood is going to her grandmother’s house, he races ahead in order to set a trap. Satan made a similar move on Abram. God called Abram out of the Babylonian system and promised to give him the land of Canaan. As Abram made his journey, Satan went ahead to set the trap.  

What is interesting is that God coordinated events that let Abram know that something weird was happening in the promised land with the Amorites. After Abram’s daring rescue of his nephew Lot, God told Abram not to be afraid of the people he had just confronted, which included “the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim” (Gen 14:5). God told him that the land was his, but his descendants would end up living in Egypt and would come back in the fourth generation because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen 15:16). Just what iniquity were they committing?  

Abram did not raise his hand and ask God who the Amorites were or what their iniquity was; he seemed to know. Based on the account of his rescue mission to save Lot, he knew they were Nephilim. He also knew that Nephilim equal Rephaim and other tribes of giants, as we see in Scripture: “the descendants of Anak came from the giants [Nephilim]” (Num 13:33).  

Anakim = Nephilim. Moses said the “Emim… a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim… Anakim… are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim (Deut 2:10–11 ESV). We can put an equal sign showing Anakim equals Rephaim which equals Emim, which of course equals Nephilim (Amorites = Anakim = Rephaim = Emim = Nephilim).  

Thus, the Nephilim, the angelic-human hybrids, were known by many names.  

  • Rephaim formerly lived there-but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim– a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim (Deut 2:20–21a, ESV). 
  • King Og of Bashan, he was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Bashan is called the land of Rephaim (Deut 3:11–13 ESV).  
  • His [Sihon] land and the land of Og, the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites (Deut 4:47 ESV).  

The Septuagint frequently translates Nephilim (Num 13:32), Rephaim (Gen 14:5, Josh 12:3), and Anakim (Deut 1:27) as gigantes, which in Greek mythology signified a class of half-god, half-man beings. The Septuagint translates Nephilim and gibborim in Genesis 6:4 as “the giants” (oi gigantes). “Nimrod began to be a giant” [ηρξατο ειναι γιγας gigas] (Gen 10:8 LXX Brenton). The iniquity of the Amorites appears to have been something akin to what Nimrod did in becoming a gibbor. The Amorites became gibborim; They were becoming hybrids!  

We know that they did not start out as Nephilim because they are listed as children of Canaan in Genesis 10. We also know that they were not a remnant of giants from the days of Noah because God repeatedly stated, “All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died” (Gen 7:22). Contrary to later myths, no giants hitched a ride on the ark! Thus, a second incursion of the angels into this world occurred. (See Appendix 2 Angels Freewill). We already saw how it happened with Nimrod. Satan, then, repeated either directly or indirectly through Nimrod, a program to create hybrids. The name of the Amorite god provides clues that help us put together the story.  

WAS NIMROD THE AMORITE GOD?  

The god of the Amorites, MARTUci / Amurru, went by many names such as Dagon, Molech, Addu, and Isthara,cii and had the epithet of KUR-GAL (great mountain) which was an epithet for Enlil.ciii A.T. Clay points out that epithet KUR-GAL was ascribed to both Amurru / MARTU and Enlil, demonstrating that they were “one and the same god.”civ This also means that all these gods are one-and-the-same god; and they are all disguises of Satan. The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible explains:  

Martu has many traits of a West-Semitic storm god such as Hadad. According to a Sumerian hymn, Amurru is a warrior god, strong as a lion, equipped with bow and arrows, and using storm and thunder as his weapons.cv 

The epithets and characteristics of Martu and Ninurta (Marduk, etc.), son of Enlil: the warrior, bows and arrows, and storm god, are perfect matches and indicators of Enlil. We must, therefore, conclude that we are speaking about the same entity, despite the variation of the names.  

It is hard to ignore the similarities between the names. We have already considered how Ninurta was deliberately distorted in the Bible as “Let’s rebel” Nimrod, the root letters being N.R.D. with the initial N meaning “Let’s.” Marduk (a syncretism of Ninurta) is AMAR.UTU in Sumerian and “Marduk” in Akkadian. The root letters, M.R.T., are the same and so is the case with MAR-TU. Are the similarities coincidence, or simply further proof that we are looking at the same entity? Furthermore, if MARTU=Enlil and Marduk=Enlil, is it implausible to make the claim that MARTU=Marduk?  

The linguistic question aside, A. T. Clay has already gone on the record to say MARTU (Amurru) is Enlil, hence the god of the Amorites is ultimately Satan, or the son of Satan. We learned in the Sumerian literature that Enlil engendered Ninurta and Ninurta held the Tablet of Destinies, which is to say, he held all of Satan’s power, throne and authority. Amurru is a syncretization of Ninurta / Marduk, both the sons of Enlil. Ninurta / Nimrod, became a gibbor, or a giga (giant), or a hybrid. Rephaim derives from “Rapha”, which means to heal, mend or repair. In a sense, Nimrod was “healed” of his human frailties by becoming a hybrid. All of the Rephaim underwent this transformative “healing”, which was a grave sin. It was the iniquity of the Amorites.  

REPHAIM 

The term Rephaim strongly suggests that the progenitor of the race was the first rapha (healed or healer). The term Rephaim is usually considered to be from the root [רפא] meaning “to heal” and is generally understood to mean healers or “disease free”. The linguistic link between Rephaim and the root R.P., ‘to heal’, is “found in the LXX of Isa 26:14 and Ps 88:11: ‘The healers (iatroi) will not rise up’… the Rephaim, by virtue of their connections with the netherworld, were healers par excellence.” cvi This definition “healers” was accepted as the ancient definition and is accepted by most scholars.  

However, why were the Rephaim known as healers? The notion of healing had to come from somewhere, but we clearly see in Scripture that Rephaim were known as Nephilim or giants. We only see Rephaim after the Flood. The Nephilim and gibborim are translated as gigantes in the LXX. Nimrod was therefore, the first of the Rephaim. That is, he was the first “healer”. His Mesopotamian name, Ninurta (and syncretisms), carried the connotation of being a healed / healer.  

Ninurta, son of Enlil, known for being a dragon and hence the son of a dragon, was syncretized with a snake god known as Tišpak and Ninazu who “is clearly the ‘lord of healing’ according to the etymology of his name.”cvii Wiggermann notes that:  

Ninazu, “Lord Healer”, is a son of Ereshkigal is the “king of the snakes” in Old Babylonian incantations, and in several other ways related to death and the realm of the dead, perhaps at one time as its ruler. His dragon is the mušḫuššu.cviii 

Not only was Ninurta syncretized with a snake god healer, but he was also associated with a legend about Kirtu, one of the Rephaim who were “‘healers’ or ‘dispensers of fertility’ of the earth.”cix Furthermore, according to DDDB, Kirtu has been associated with the Akkadian word “qarradu”, which DDDB notes is “generally regarded as a personal name.” cx This is significant because “Ninurta … has qardu ‘fierce’, ‘heroic’ and qarradu ‘warrior’, ‘hero’ among his standard epithets.”cxi 

In company with these identifications, Ninurta certainly assumed some features of a chthonic healer god. These features were already inherently present in his form of the victorious hero because the beneficial character of the chthonic healer god could express itself in iconography in the motif of victory over a lion, dragon, griffin or other real or fantastic monster.cxii 

Thus, Ninurta / Nimrod was called a healer, a Rephaim, because he was changed from a mortal man to be an immortal. He became disease-free through his transformation from man to god. His powers to heal others were not the kind of power Jesus had over disease which made a person whole. Rather, Nimrod’s power was to transform people into the Nephilim, or Rephaim.  

So, when Abram’s kids finally did return from Egypt, Satan had a house-warming gift waiting in the form of the “iniquity of the Amorites”: the Rephaim, Emim, Zamzummim and Anakim, who were once regular people, but who became gibborim, that is, hybrids. The twelve spies fearfully reported, “The Amorites … are stronger than we are … and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim)” (Num 13:29–33, ESV). The spies were not exaggerating, because God says in Amos 2:9, “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars” (Amos 2:9). God Himself also used the height of a cedar in comparison with the tail of the behemoth, described in Job 40: “the behemoth … moves his tail like a cedar(Job 40:15–18). A cedar of Lebanon is about 40 to 80 feet tall. (See Figure 51).The behemoth is the Diplodocus dinosaur, and their tails measure 40 feet long. The Israelite spies were not overstating the danger; They saw giants in the land. 

Cedar_of_Lebanon-BW

Figure 51 Cedar of Lebanon. 

From the time God told Abram about the perversions of the Rephaim, until his descendants returned to the land was about six hundred years. Thus, Satan had time to race ahead and prepare for their arrival. The big bad wolf had set the trap for Abram’s kids.  

According to an Ugaritic text, the region of Bashan was known as the abode of the god-king “mlk ‘lm, the dead and deified king.… his place of enthronement as rpu was in ‘Štrt-hdr’y, in amazing correspondence with the Biblical tradition about the seat of king Og of Bashan.” cxiii  

The Bible records, “The territory of King Og of Bashan, one of the few remaining Rephaites, who lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei” (Josh 12:4). “Egyptian documents and two Amarna letters mention rulers of Ashtarot in the fourteenth century BCE.”cxiv Thus, an Ugaritic text speaks of a “dead and deified king” living in the area of Bashan, and the Bible tells us that it was King Og, who was a Rephaim (the same as rpu).  

Ugaritic textscxv further reveal that a Rephaim god called “king” was in the area of Bashan. They state, “as the abode of the god mlk [“king”], the eponym of the mlkm [Milcom], the deified kings, synonym of the rpum.”cxvi Amazingly, a “Phoenician tradition also seems to record the existence of a deity ‘g’ [“Og”].cxvii 

We saw earlier that the Rephaim were counted among the Amorites and Nephilim who were sometimes called gibborim. Looking at the Septuagint, the word Rephaim is sometimes simply transliterated (e.g. Gen 14:5, 15:20); though most of the time, it is translated as gigantes (giants).  

Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite [Gath]. […] at Gath, […] he also was descended from the giants [Rephaim, LXX reads: giants, γιγαντες]. […] These were descended from the giants in Gatt, (I Chron 20:5–6, 8 ESV; see also Josh 12:4; 13:12; 17:5; 2 Sam 21:18,22; 1 Chr 11:15; 14:9, 13). 

OG OF BASHAN, LAND OF THE SNAKE-DRAGONS 

“Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan [הַבָּשָׁ֑ן the Bashan]; and Og king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei (Deut 3:1).” “And at that time we took the land from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were on this side of the Jordan, from the River Arnon to Mount Hermon (Deut 3:8) “(the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir)” (Deut 3:9).  

Og is called King of the Bashan. King, in Hebrew and Ugaritic, is M.L.K. or Milcom, hence Og is likely Milcom himself, or a carbon copy. Also, Og was a Rephaim, and they were also known as snake gods. This may explain why a giant (Rephaim) named Og was king of the Bashan (the word “the” is in the original Hebrew but omitted in many translations). What is “the Bashan”? It actually had a double meaning: “fertile land” and “snake-dragon.” cxviii The designation of snake-dragon was no joke. “For the ‘Canaanites’ of Ugarit, the Bashan region, or a part of it, clearly represented ‘Hell’, the celestial and infernal abode of their deified dead kings,—Olympus and—Hades at the same time.” cxix 

The land of Bashan is just on the other side of the Jordan River, across from the Sea of Galilee in the region of the tribes Zebulun and Naphtali. See Figure 52). We can now appreciate why it was later called the land of the shadow of death (Isa 9:2; Matt 4:16); they truly were in the shadowland of death! This area, of course, has Mt. Hermon as its highest peak, which was where the angels came down in the days of Noah in order to make Nephilim bodysuits. DDDB notes, “It is possible that this localization of the Canaanite Hell is linked to the ancient tradition of the place as the ancestral home of their dynasty, the rpum.” cxx 

Figure 52 Map of Galilee, Israel. 

It is significant to note that the place was known as the abode of the god Milcom, who was worshipped by the Rephaim in the land of Bashan. In fact, the Bible informs us “all Bashan, was called the land of the giants [Rephaim] (Deut 3:13), which DDDB notes is “an ambiguous wording that could equally be translated as ‘the ‘hell’ of the Rephaim’”.cxxi 

James H. Charlesworth of Princeton likewise notes the dual meaning of Bashan:  

When most biblical scholars studied Hebrew philology, they were told that “Bashan” denoted a mountain east of the Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee). Now, the contributors to the most recent Hebrew lexicons rightly point out that “Bashan” in the second millennium BCE denoted both a mountain and a mythological creature that was a serpent, the “dragon-snake.” The most help in comprehending בשן as having a second meaning, “dragon-snake,” comes from cognate languages. The Ugaritic bthn and the Akkadian bašmu are cognate to the Hebrew bšn and the Aramaic ptn. These terms are equal to the Arabic bathan. All these nouns denote some type of “dragon” or “snake”. The compilers of the new and expanded Koehler-Baumgartner indicate correctly that the Hebrew בשן can denote a type of serpent similar to פתן, “cobra.”cxxii 

Understanding Bashan’s dual meaning as fertile land and snake-dragon might seem incompatible, but they are not. In fact, we have such usages in our day. Let us consider: “Aspen” means “tree” for most, but to some it means a ski resort in Colorado. “Nashville” means “near an ash tree,”cxxiii though few are aware of that. The popular designation is a city where budding artists break into the music industry—it is music city. And of course, Las Vegas is commonly known as sin city. Thus, we can understand “Bashan” as both a rich fertile land (like Aspen the ski resort) and as a snake-dragon (like aspen the tree).  

Og and company occupied the territory east of the Jordan River and south of Mt. Hermon. It became known as the land of the Bashan, land the snake-dragon, per Akkadian bašmu (bashmu), and Ugaritic batan. However, the land of Bashan was also rich and fertile, and so the region became associated with its incredible fertility. Once Og and the people of the snake-dragon were gone, the land was primarily associated with fertility. Yet, because the name stuck, Bashan became defined by its rich and fertile land.  

THE MEANING OF “OG” 

Next, we will consider the meaning or etymology of Og’s name. We know that he was an Amorite king. The Amorites’ god was MARTU, who was Enlil, or son of Enlil. He was a survivor of the Rephaim; Rephaim means healers and Ninurta (et al.) was known as “Lord Healer.” According to Ugaritic texts, a king of the dead, associated with the god Milcom, was also associated with Bashan. Thus, Og was king of the Bashan, that is, king of the snake-dragons. His land was at the base of Mt. Hermon where the angels came down in the days of Noah. This survey brings us to the question: What does “Og” actually mean?  

Gesenius speculates “Og” may come from oneg [עֹנֶג oneg] coming from onek [עֹנֶק onek] deriving from, or anak [עֲנָק] meaning “in stature, long necked,” “gigantic.”cxxiv On the other hand, according to DDDB, the meaning is unknown, though they note the possibility that “some connection with Osa gaig (?), Soqotri ‘aig, Hatraean ‘g’ ‘man’ could be established.”cxxv  In light of Og’s association with the Amorites and the god MARTU, perhaps a return to Shinar (Sumer), where Nimrod originated, is warranted. Looking at Sumerian, we make an interesting discovery: “ug” means “to die,” cxxvi which in Akkadian is mâtu or mītu.cxxvii Leiden University notes that the logogram (the cuneiform symbol) of mitu is: 

BAD (mītu, bēl) IDIM (kabtu) d IDIM (Ea) IdAG-BAD-TIN-iṭ Nabû-mītu-uballiṭ BAD for bēl is rare, and used only without the determinative DINGIR – no attestations yet in the database (but in Nbn 67:18, EN 65:23)cxxviii 

BAD (IDIM) is the logogram of Enlil and the Syrian god Dagan. Bel is also one of the definitions of BAD.IDIM and means “kabtu”, which is the same as Hebrew “kavod” meaning “heavy, important, glorious.” Amar Annus explains the intentional syncretism between Enlil and Dagan (who was in the Canaanite area) and Ninurta son of Enlil as son of Dagan:  

The Sumerian logographic writing for an unknown Syrian god is dNIN.URTA at Emar in the late Bronze Age. This Ninurta is the city-god of Emar, and remarkably also “son of Dagan,” like the Ugaritic Baal. The god Dagan is identified with Sumerian Enlil, father of Ninurta, already in Old Babylonian times and they share the logogram BAD. In any case, it was conscious syncretism which introduced Sumerian writing for the West-Semitic god. The constant epithet of Marduk in Enuma Elish is Bêl ‘Lord,’ which is also Ninurta’s common epithet, and points to a connection with West-Semitic Baal. Marduk came to replace Enlil in the Mesopotamian pantheon, so he took over conjointly the position of the father Enlil and the mythology of his son Ninurta. Similarly, Dagan in the West was partly manifested by his son Baal cxxix (Emphasis mine). 

In other words, Dagan and Enlil are the same entity as far as the scribes were concerned because they both share the cuneiform symbol: BAD. Furthermore, they understood Bel and Ninurta were either the same entity or the son of the same father-god entity, or possibly both. Annus comments about a passage where Ninurta is with Dagan’s wife and notes that if Dagan (Enlil) is his father, then it would be incest, however, “it may be neither adultery nor incest but reappearance of the father Dagan himself.” cxxx That is to say, it is just Satan with one of his many aliases: Enlil, Dagan, Ninurta, Bel, etc. However, hidden in the etymology of the cuneiform logograms and their meanings is the notion of death, the dead, or killing. Og’s very name, then, is simply “death” and is the Sumerian pronunciation (ug) of the logogram BAD.  

There are some other potential meanings of the word “Og” listed by the University of Pennsylvania Sumerian website that are rather insightful. We have looked at the meaning stated in Number 1 already (see below). Number 3 is especially interesting, as in Akkadian, it is simply transliterated as “aggu” or “uggu.” Number 6 “a mythical lion” is also insightful.  

  1. ug [DIE] (259x: ED IIIb, Old Akkadian, Ur III, Old Babylonian) wr. ug7; ug5; ugx(|BAD.BAD|) “plural and imperfect singular stem of uš “[to die]” Akk. mâtu 
  1. ug [EXALTED] (1x: ED IIIa) wr. ugx(EZEN) “(to be) exalted” 
  1. ug [FURIOUS] (2x: Ur III) wr. ug; ug2 “(to be) furious; anger” Akk. aggu; uggu 
  1. ug [LAMENTATION] wr. ug2 “lamentation” Akk. nissatu 
  1. ug [LIGHT] wr. ug; ug2 “light” Akk. nūru 
  1. ug [LION] (23x: Old Babylonian, 1st millennium) wr. ug; ugx(|PIRIG×ZA|) “lion; a mythical lion; a large cat” Akk. mindinu; nešu; ūmucxxxi 

Do we have any linguistic verification of the Sumerian “u” sound becoming the open “o” sound in Hebrew; which is to ask: Can the Sumerian “Ug” turn into the Hebrew “Og”? The answer is yes. According to Abraham Even-Shoshan, “the Hebrew word “Kor” comes from Sumerian “GUR, “a bundle of barley; standard unit of capacity.”cxxxii The Sumerian “u” vowel sound in “GUR” changes to the open “o” vowel sound in the same word in Hebrew, “Kor”. If the word for this unit of measurement, GUR / Kor, changes vowel sounds when moving from Samarian to Hebrew, then “Og” very likely would have the same change of vowel sound. The word was borrowed in Akkadian as “kurru”, and then in Hebrew as kor [כֹּר֙] “Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty kors [כֹּר֙] of fine flour” (1 Kgs 4:22). 

An example of Sumerian “a” becoming a Hebrew “o” is the Sumerian “allanum” (oak, acorn) which was borrowed by Akkadian ʾallānu, alyānu, “oak; acorn” which then came into Hebrew as “elon” [אֵלוֹן (elon)]. And “u” (oo) becoming an “a” is seen in Dumuzid into the Hebrew Tammuz as well as Sumerian “dub” “tablet” becoming “daf” in Hebrew.cxxxiii  

Thus, we have the linguistic evidence attesting that “ug” could become “og.” We also have a meaning that fits the data—Og king of the Bashan (snake-dragons) was also king of the Amorites and known as a Rephaim. In addition, Ugaritic text spoke of the god-king “mlk ‘lm”, the dead and deified king .… his place of enthronement as rpu was in ‘Štrt-hdr’y, in amazing correspondence with the Biblical tradition about the seat of king Og of Bashan.” cxxxiv The preponderance of evidence leads us to conclude that the meaning of “Og” is from Sumerian which is “dead, dying, furious, exalted, lion.”  

John A. Halloran, in his Sumerian Lexicon, lists all of the above meaningscxxxv and points out that a reduplicated form of “ug” is “gug5: hostility, war (might be reduplicated ug5,7,8, ‘to kill; to die’).” In linguistics, reduplication is the process in which a part of a word is repeated, sometimes with a slight change. Here, the Hebrew Og or “ug” may have morphed to the Hebrew Gog or “Gug”. The University of Pennsylvania confirms “gug5 ‘enmity, hostility’”cxxxvi “Enmity” naturally draws our attention to Genesis 3:15, where Satan the dragon swindled Adam and Eve, and God declared war: “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed” (Gen 3:15). This is an accurate description of Satan and his kingdom. He is the enemy; and we often refer to him as our adversary. Peter tells us: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion” (1 Pet 5:8). Thus, there may be a connection between the historic Og, King of the Bashan and the future Gog, who comes against the land of Israel in Ezekiel 38-39, a topic we will dive into in the next book. 

SNAKE AND GILGAL REPHAIM  

In the area of Bashan, about thirty-five miles south of Hermon and ten miles from the Sea of Galilee, is an interesting circular rock formation known as Gilgal Rephaim, “circle of the Rephaim.” It is a sort of Stone Henge in the area of Bashan. Special thanks to Derek Gilbert of Skywatch TV for pointing out to me that there is what looks like a gigantic snake etched in the ground. (See the picture, courtesy of Google Earth.) It is possibly nothing but a naturally occurring design, but I doubt it. At the bottom of the picture, Gilgal Rephaim is clearly visible and due north is the snake geoglyph which measures .681 miles (1,096 meters) from mouth to tail. It is visible with the eye up to twelve miles (20 km) in the air. The snake at its closest point is .25 miles (390 m) away from Gilgal Rephaim. At the west (left) side of the picture there appears to be two eyes. This geological formation adds just one more piece of evidence that Bashan was known as the land of the snake-dragon.  

Figure 53 Bashmu Snake Geoglyph by Gilgal Rephaim, Israel courtesy Google Earth 

When we compare the pictures of the geoglyph and the Bašmu (Bashmu), they appear to be exactly the same creature. The Bašmu has only front legs, just as we see on the geoglyph to the right of the head.  

Figure 54 Bashmu-Bashan Snake-Dragon comparison 

Thus, we have strong evidence from the Bible and Ugaritic literature that Rephaim or Nephilim once inhabited the land known as Bashan. From the Ugaritic inscriptions, we know that Milcom was one of their gods and that he demanded child sacrifices. Despite God’s warnings to the Hebrews about adopting their neighbor’s customs, the Hebrews fell for the trap and even King Solomon, sadly, became ensnared by the practices and allowed child sacrifice in Israel. It is therefore, no wonder God hated the entire area of Bashan. It was truly a hellish area that promoted the cult of death.  

This coincidence of the ‘celestial’ and ‘infernal’ levels is congruent with the Canaanite mythology that locates here the abode of its deified dead kings, the mlk(m)/rpu(m) that dwell(s) in ‘Štrt-hdr’y. Again the parallelism clarifies the issue, making plain the infernal character of Bashan.cxxxvii 

The iniquity of the Amorites was turning much of the Amorite population into unnatural hybrids, people of the snake-dragon. These non-human beings had traded their humanity to become gods; they corrupted the image of God within them. This is why God had Moses completely destroy Og and the Snake-dragon people. Even after their destruction, sadly, Satan’s anti-Hero Ninurta (the Rebel) continued to infiltrate and corrupt Israel until God had to remove the people of Israel from the land. (See Appendix 6 Abominations of Babylon).