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