Winged Disk, Persepolis, Iran
The Sons of God
"...Man and his early civilizations had a profoundly different mentality from our own, that in fact men and women were not conscious as are we, were not responsible for their actions, and therefore cannot be given the credit or blame for anything that was done over these vast millennia of time; that instead each person had a part of his nervous system that was divine, by which he was ordered about like any slave, a voice or voices which indeed were what we call volition and empowered what they commanded and were related to the hallucinated voices of others in a carefully established hierarchy."
"Throughout Mesopotamia, from the earliest times of Sumer and Akkad, all lands were owned by gods and men were their slaves. Of this, the cuneiform texts leave no doubt whatever. Each city-state had its own principal god, and the king was described in the very earliest written documents that we have as 'the tenant farmer of the god'."
"... The Akkadians called their predecessors Shumerians, and spoke of the Land of Shumer.
"It was from that planet [Nibiru], the Sumerian texts repeatedly and persistently stated, that the Anunnaki came to Earth. The term literally means 'Those Who from Heaven to Earth Came.' They are spoken of in the Bible as the Anakim, and in Chapter 6 of Genesis are also call Nefilim, which in Hebrew means the same thing: Those Who Have Come Down, from the Heavens to Earth."
"The Anakim may have been Mycenaean Greek colonists, belonging to the 'Sea Peoples' confederation which caused Egypt such trouble in the fourteenth century B.C. Greek mythographers told of a Giant Anax ('king'), son of Heaven and Mother Earth, who ruled Anactoria (Miletus) in Asia Minor. According to Appollodorus, the disinterred skeleton of Asterius ('starry'), Anax's successor, measured ten cubits. Akakes, the plural of Nanx, was an epithet of the Greek gods in general. Talmudic commentators characteristically make the Anakim three thousand cubits tall."
(2) The Egyptian Ntr
There is archaeological evidence of a strong cultural connection between Sumer and ancient Egypt.
"Ptah and the other gods were called, in Egyptian, Ntr - 'Guardian, Watcher'."
During the fabled "First Time, Zep Tepi, when the gods ruled in their country: they said it was a golden age during which the waters of the abyss receded, the primordial darkness was banished, and humanity, emerging into the light, was offered the gifts of civilization. They spoke also of intermediaries between gods and men - the Urshu, a category of lesser divinities whose title meant 'the Watchers'. And they preserved particularly vivid recollections of the gods themselves, puissant and beautiful beings called the Neteru who lived on earth with humankind and exercised their sovereignty from Heliopolis and other sanctuaries up and down the Nile. Some of these Neteru were male and some female but all possessed a range of supernatural powers which included the ability to appear, at will, as men or women, or as animals, birds, reptiles, trees or plants. Paradoxically, their words and deeds seem to have reflected human passions and preoccupations. Likewise, although they were portrayed as stronger and more intelligent than humans, it was believed that they could grow sick - or even die, or be killed - under certain circumstance."
"They had come to Egypt, the Egyptians wrote, from Ta-Ur, the 'Far/Foreign Land,' whose name Ur meant 'oldest' but could have also been the actual place name - a place will known from Mesopotamian and biblical records: the ancient city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia. And the straits of the Red Sea, which connected Mesopotamia and Egypt, were called Ta-Neter, the 'Place of the Gods,' the passage by which they had come to Egypt. That the earliest gods did come from the biblical lands of Shem is additionally borne out by the puzzling fact that the names of these olden gods were of 'Semitic' (Akkadian) derivation. Thus Ptah, which had no meaning in Egyptian, meant 'he who fashioned things by carving and opening up' in the Semitic tongues."
"The Legend of Votan, who had built the first city that was the cradle of Mesoamerican civilization, was written down by Spanish chroniclers from oral Mayan traditions. The emblem of Votan, they recorded, was the serpent; 'he was a descendant of the Guardians, of the race of Can'. 'Guardians' was the meaning of the Egyptian term Neteru (i.e., 'gods'). Can, studies such as that by Zelia Nuttal (Papers of the Peabody Museum) have suggested was a variant of Canaan who was (according to the Bible) a member of the Hamitic peoples of Africa and a brother-nation of the Egyptians."
(3) Bene Elohim
Note that plural gods elohim' appears in the earliest Hebrew texts, even though it is translated as God (El) in modern texts.
"The sons of God (or children of God; 'bene elohim' and variants) are divine members of God's heavenly host...The title 'sons/children of God' is familiar from Ugaritic mythology, in which the gods collectively are the 'children of El'...The sons/children of God are also found in Phoenician and Ammonite inscriptions, referring to the pantheon of sub-ordinate deities, indicating that the term was widespread in the West Semitic religions."
"The Watchers were "a specific race of divine beings known in Hebrew as nun resh 'ayin, 'irin' (resh 'ayin, 'ir' in singular), meaning 'those who watch' or 'those who are awake', which is translated into Greek as Egrhgoroi egregoris or grigori, meaning 'watchers'. These Watchers feature in the main within the pages of pseudepigraphal and apocryphal works of Jewish origin, such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. Their progeny, according to Hebrew tradition, are named as nephilim, a Hebrew word meaning 'those who have fallen' or 'the fallen ones', translated into Greek as gigantez, gigantes, or 'giants' - a monstrous race featured in the Theogony of the hellenic writer Hesiod (c. 907 BC)."
"The statement (Gen. 6:1) that the 'sons of God' married the daughters of men is explained of the fall of the angels, in Enoch, vi-xi, and codices, D, E F, and A of the Septuagint read frequently, for 'sons of God',
oi aggeloi tou qeou ['angels of God']. Unfortunately, codices B and C are defective in Ge., vi, but it is probably that they, too, read
oi aggeloi in this passage, for they constantly so render the expression 'sons of God'; cf. Job i, 6; ii, 1; xxxviii, 7; but on the other hand, see Ps. ii, 1; lxxxviii, & (Septuagint). Philo, in commenting on the passage in his treatise 'Quod Deus sit immutabilis', i, follows the Septuagint."
"Angels came late into Jewish theology, generally from the non-Jewish myths of the East. The early books of the Bible speak of some vague heavenly beings called malochim (singular, malach). Although malach is usually translated angel, its literal meaning is messenger."
"At first the angels are regarded in quite an impersonal way (Gen. xvi, 7).They are God's vice-regents and are often identified with the Author of their message (Gen. xlviii, 15-16). But while we read of 'the Angels of God' meeting Jacob (Gen. xxxii, 1) we at other times read of one who is termed 'the Angel of God' par excellence, e.g. Gen., xxxi, 11."
"It is true that, owing to the Hebrew idiom, this may mean no more than 'an angel of God', and the Septuagint renders it with or without the article at will; yet the three visitors at Mambre seem to have been of different ranks, though St. Paul (Heb. xiii, 2) regarded them all as equally angels; as the story in Ge. xiii, develops, the speaker is always 'the Lord'. Thus in the account of the Angel of the Lord who visited Gideon (Judges vi), the visitor is alternately spoken of as 'the Angel of the Lord' and as 'the Lord'. Similarly, in Judges xiii, the Angel of the Lord appears...."
"This want of clearness is particularly apparent in the various accounts of the Angel of Exodus. In Judges vi, just now referred to, the Septuagint is very careful to render the Hebrew 'Lord' by 'the Angel of the Lord'; but in the story of the Exodus it is the Lord who goes before them in the pillar of a cloud (Exod. xiii 21), and the Septuagint makes no change (cf. also Num. xiv, 14, and Neh. ix, 7-20."
"Yet in Exod. xiv, 19, their guide is termed 'the Angel of God. When we turn to Exod., xxxiii, where God is angry with His people for worshipping the golden calf, it is hard not to feel that it is God Himself who has hitherto been their guide, but who now refuses to accompany them any longer. God offers an angel instead, but at Moses's petition He says (14) 'My face shall go before thee', which the Septuagint reads by
autoV though the following verse shows that this rendering is clearly impossible, for Moses objects: 'If Thou Thyself dost not go before us, bring us not out of this place.' But what does God mean by 'my face'? Is it possible that some angel of specially high rank is intended, as in Is. lxiii, 9 (cf. Tobias xii, 15)? May not this be what is meant by 'the Angel of God' (cf. Num. xx, 16)?"
"The Massoretic text as well as the Vulgate of Exod. iii and xix-xx clearly represent the Supreme Being as appearing to Moses in the bush and on Mount Sinai; but the Septuagint version, while agreeing that it was God Himself who gave the Law, yet makes it 'the angel of the Lord' who appeared in the bush."
"By New Testament times the Septuagint view has prevailed, and it is now not merely in the bush that the angel of the Lord, and not God Himself appears, but the angel is also the Giver of the Law (cf. Gal. iii, 19; Heb. ii, 2; Acts vii, 30)."
"The person of 'the angel of the Lord' finds a counterpart in the personification of Wisdom in the Sapiential books and in at least one passage (Zach. iii, 1) it seems to stand for that 'Son of Man' whom Daniel (vii, 13) saw brought before 'the Ancient of Days'. Zacharias says: 'And the Lord showed me Jesus the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan stood on His right hand to be His adversary'."
Unlike the "messengers" who could be mistaken for humans in the Book of Genesis, Daniel's angel was resplendent in its divinity.
"Later Biblical books developed the idea of malochim [messengers], but it wasn't until the Book of Daniel, written in the second century BC, that some of these heavenly creatures were given names. Daniel mentions Gabriel (geber is man, El is God) and Michael. The later non-canonical books built a whole hierarchy of angels, headed by Metatron, prince of the heavenly hosts."
"In the Hebrew writings, the term 'Heavenly Hosts' includes not only the counselors and emissaries of Jehovah, but also the celestial luminaries; and the stars, imagined in the East to be animated intelligences, presiding over human weal and woe, are identified with the more distinctly impersonated messengers or angels, who execute the Divine decrees, and whose predominance in heaven is in mysterious correspondence and relation with the powers and dominions of the earth. In Job, the Morning Stars and the Sons of God are identified; they join in the same chorus of praise to the Almighty; they are both susceptible of joy; they walk in brightness, and are liable to impurity and imperfection in the sight of God."
Arcturus is Ursa Major and the three stars in its tail are the cubs.
(4) The Apocryphal Tradition
Ca. 150 B.C.E., the author of 1 Enoch wrote of his spell-binding journey to heaven where he saw angels and their glory.
Essene proselytes swore to "preserve the books belonging to their sect, and the names of the angels." (Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Bk 2, Ch 8, Sn 7). The First Book of Enoch was the first piece of Jewish literature to describe a class of angels, the Watchers, who are positively evil and who lead the dead to a place of eternal torment.
The Book of Jubilees "was also known in early times as the Apocalypse of Moses, for it allegedly was written down by Moses at Mount Sinai as an angel dictated to him the histories of days past. (Scholars, though, believe that the work was composed in the second century BC)."
"According to the Book of Jubilees, the Watchers are the sons of god (Genesis 6) sent from heaven to instruct the children of men; they fell after they descended to earth and cohabited with the daughters of men - for which act they were condemned (so legend reports) and became fallen angels. But not all Watchers descended: those that remained are the holy Watchers, and they reside in the 5th Heaven. The evil Watchers dwell either in the 3rd Heaven or in Hell."
"Several fragments with a clear Qumranic cast (4Q286-287, 4Q385-389, 4Q390...) parallel Belial with the angels of MA&+EMOWT ('enmity'), while Jubilees introduces Mastema/Satan into its story of the spirits of the giants, the offspring of the fallen Watchers (Jubilees 10:8,11; see also 11:5,11; 17:16; 18:9,12; 19:28; 48:2,9,12,15). Note that according to Jubilees, the angels of MA&+EMOWT would be the spirits of the giants, the offspring of the angel marriages, one tenth of whom become the servants of Mastema in leading astray and punishing humanity, while 4Q390 makes them the ones responsible for inspiring the sons of Aaron to pollute the Temple through illegitimate marriages and violence."
"According to the Book of Jubilees, Enoch...testified about the Watchers who had sinned with the daughters of men; he testified against them all." And it was to protect him from the revenge of the sinning angels of the Lord, that 'he was taken from amongst the children of men, and was conducted into the Garden of Eden."
As recounted in the Dead Sea Scrolls:
"On this mountain the Watchers swear an oath and bind themselves by 'mutual imprecations', apparently knowing full well the consequences their actions will have both for themselves and for humanity as a whole. It is a pact commemorated in the name given to the place of their 'fall', for in Hebrew the word Hermon, or harem, translates as 'curse'. "
"In time, each of the 200 took an earthly spouse. These unions produced children of extraordinary size, who quickly devoured the world's food. To satisfy their enormous appetites, the angel-children roamed the earth, slaughtering every species of bird, beast, reptile and fish. Finally, the ravenous creatures turned on one another, stripping flesh from the bones of their fellows and slaking their thirst in rivers of blood. As this wave of destruction washed over the earth, the anguished cries of humankind reached four powerful archangels - Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael - who upon orders from God enacted a swift retribution. First Uriel descended to earth to warn Noah of a coming deluge, advising him to prepare an ark to carry his family and a menagerie of creatures to safety. Raphael then fell upon the leader of the Watchers, bound him hand and foot, and thrust him into eternal darkness. Next, Gabriel charged with slaying the dissenters' offspring, encouraged the monstrous angel-children to fight one another. Finally, Michael trussed up the remaining Watchers, forced them to witness the deaths of their progeny, and condemned them to eternal torment. Only then did the heavens open up and wash away the last traces of the destruction that the fallen angels had wrought."
"Other Watchers stand accused of revealing to mortal kind the knowledge of more scientific arts, such as the knowledge of the clouds, or meteorology; the 'signs of the earth', presumably geodesy and geography; as well as astronomy and the 'signs', or passage, of the celestial bodies, such as the sun and moon. Shemyaza [the leader of the Watchers] is accredited with having taught men 'enchantments, and root-cuttings', a reference to the magical arts...One of their number, Penemue, taught 'the bitter and the sweet', surely a reference to the use of herbs and spices in foods, while instructing men on the use of 'ink and paper', implying that the Watchers introduced the earliest forms of writing. Far more disturbing is Kisdeja, who is said to have shown 'the children of men all the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the womb, that it may pass away'. In other words, he taught women how to abort their babies."
One by one the angels of heaven are appointed by God to proceed against the Watchers and their offspring the Nephilim, described as 'the bastards and the reprobates, and the children of fornication'. Azazel is bound hand and foot, and cast for eternity into the darkness of a desert referred to as Dudael. Upon him are placed 'rough and jagged rocks' and here he shall forever remain until the Day of judgment, when he will be 'cast into the fire' for his sins. For their part in the corruption of mankind, the Watchers are forced to witness the slaughter of their own children before being cast into some kind of heavenly prison, an 'abyss of fire'. Although the Watchers' leader, Shemyaza, is cast into this abyss alongside his brothers, in other versions of the story he undergoes a more dramatic punishment. Since he was tempted by a beautiful mortal maiden named Ishtahar to reveal the Explicit Name of God in exchange for the offer of carnal pleasure, he is to be tied and bound before being made to hang for all eternity between heaven and earth, head down, in the constellation of Orion."
"These spirits were locked away in the earth, but Mastema persuaded God to keep out one in ten to tempt humanity until the judgement and to commit all forms of transgression.
"The Tree of Life, fragrant and wonderful to behold will be returned to the centre ground, and the New Jerusalem will be built by God - just as later described in Revelation."
- Chris King, "The Apocalyptic Tradition"
"The corruption still left in the world after the imprisonment of the Watchers, and the death of their Nephilim offspring, is to be swept away by a series of global catastrophes, ending in the Great Flood so familiar within biblical traditions. In a separate account of the plight of the Nephilim, this mass-destruction is seen in terms of an all-encompassing conflagration sent by the angels of heaven in the form of 'fire, naphtha and brimstone'. No one will survive these cataclysms of fire and water save for the 'seed' of Noah, from whose line will come the future human race."
"The explanation of this myth, which has been a stumbling block to theologians, may be the arrival in Palestine of tall, barabarous Hebrew herdsmen early in the second millenium B.C., and their exposure, by marriage, to Asianic civilization. 'Sons of El' in this sense would mean the 'cattle-owning worshipper of the Semite Bull-god El'; 'Daughters of Adam' would mean 'women of the soil' (adama), namely, the Goddess- worshipping Canaanite agriculturists, notorious for their orgies and premarital prostitution. If so, this historical event has been tangled with the Ugaritic myth how El seduced two mortal women and fathered divine sons on them, namely Shahar ('Dawn') and Shalem ('Perfect'). Shahar appears as a winged deity in Psalm CXXXIX:9, and his son, according to Isaiah XIV:12, was the fallen angel Helel. Unions between gods and mortals, that is to say between kings or queens and commoners, occur frequently in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern myth. Since later Judaism rejected all deities but its own transcendental God, and since He never married or consorted with any female whatsoever, Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai in Genesis Rabba felt obliged to curse all who read 'Sons of God' in the Ugartic sense. Clearly, such an interperetation was still current in the second century A.D., and lapsed only when Bene Elohim meant 'God' and Judge,' the theory being that when a duly appointed magistrate tried a case, the Spirit of El posessed him: 'I have said, ye are gods.' (Psalm LXXXII:6)"
Jewish religious authorities, concerned that the growing worship of angels would be a threat to the belief in one God, excised works like those of the Books of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees from canonical literature. These books are now part of what is known as the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.