“…From the earliest days, Man has lifted his eyes to the heavens for divine guidance, for inspiration, for help in trouble times.
“…From the earliest days, Man knew that his creators had come from the heavens – Anunnaki he called them, literally “Those who from Heaven to Earth Came.” Their true abode was in the heavens, Man always knew: “Father who art in heaven,” Man knew to say. But those of the Anunnaki who had come and stayed on Earth, Man also knew, could be worshipped in the temples.
“…Man and his gods met in the temples, and the knowledge and rituals and beliefs that resulted are called Religion.
“…The most important “cult center,” the “navel of the earth,” was Enlil’s city in what was later Sumer. Central religiously, philosophically, and actually, that city, Nippur, was the Mission control Center; and its Holy of Holies, where the Tablets of Destinies were kept, was called DUR.AN.KI – “Bond Heaven-Earth.”
“…And ever since, at all times and in all places and in all religions, the places of worship that are called temples, in spite of all the changes that they, and Mankind and its religions have undergone, have remained the Bond Heaven-Earth.
“…In those days each of the Great Anunnaki was assigned a celestial counterpart, and since the Solar System had twelve members, the “Olympic Circle,” throughout the millennia and up to and including Greek time, was always made up of twelve. It was thus that the worship of the gods was closely associated with the motions of the celestial bodies, and the biblical admonitions against the worship of “the Sun, the Moon and the Host of Heaven” were in reality against the worship of gods other than Yahweh.
“…The rituals, festivals, days of abstinence, and other rites, that expressed the worship of the gods were thus attuned to the motions of the god’s celestial counterparts. Worship required a calendar, temples were observatories; priests were astronomers. The ziggurats were Temples of Time, where time-keeping joined astronomy to formalize worship.
“…Thus, according to the Bible (Genesis 4:25-26), did the children of Adam begin to worship their God. How this calling in the name of the Lord was done – what form the worship took, what rituals were involved – we are not told. It happened, the Bible makes clear, in remote times, well before the Deluge. Sumerian texts, however, throw light on the subject. They not only assert – repeatedly and emphatically – that there were Cities of the Gods in Mesopotamia before the Deluge, and that when the Deluge had occurred there had already been “demigods” (offspring of “Daughters of Man” by male Anunnaki “gods”), but also that the worship took place in consecrated places (we call them “temples”). They were already, we learn from the earliest texts, Temples of Time.
“…In time, Mankind began to upset Enlil (“Son of the Command” a son of Anu), by its excessive “conjugations,” especially with the Anunnaki (a situation reflected in the biblical version of the Deluge tale); and Enlil prevailed on the Great Anunnaki, in their Council, to use the foreseen catastrophe of the avalanche of water to wipe mankind off the face of the Earth.
“…But Enki (“Lord of Earth,” another important son of Anu), though he joined in swearing to keep the decision a secret from Mankind, was not happy with the decision and sought ways to frustrate it. He chose to achieve that through the intermediary of Atra-Hasis, a son of Enki by a human mother. The text, which at times assumes a biographical style by Atra-Hasis himself, quotes him saying, “I am Atra-Hasis; I lived in the temple of Enki my lord” – a statement which clearly establishes the existence of a temple in those remote pre-Diluvial times.
“…Describing the worsening climatic conditions on the one hand and Enlil’s harsh measures against Mankind on the other hand in the period preceding the Deluge, the text quotes Enki’s advice to the people through Atra-Hasis how to protest against Enlil’s decrees: the worship of the gods should stop!
“…Enki opened his mouth and addressed his servant,” saying thus to him:
The elders, on a sign,
summon to the House of Council.
Let heralds proclaim a command
loudly throughout the land:
Do not reverence your gods,
do not pray to your goddesses.
“…As the situation got worse and the catastrophe day neared, Atra-Hasis persisted in his intercession with his god Enki… In the end Enki decided to subvert the decision of the Council of the Anunnaki by summoning Atra-Hasis to the temple and speaking to him from behind a screen… giving him instructions to build a submersible… To make sure Atra-Hasis wasted no time, Enki put into motion a clocklike device:
He opened the water clock
and filled it;
the coming of the flood on the seventh night
he marked off for him.
“…Enki was the chief scientist of the Anunnaki; it is no wonder, therefore, that it was at his temple, at this “cult center” Eridu, that the first human scientists, the Wise Men, served as priests. One of the first, if not the very first, was called Adapa. Though the original Adapa text has not been found, Akkadian and Assyrian versions on clay fragments that have been found attest the tale’s significance. Informing us at the very beginning that Adapa’s command of wisdom was almost as good as that of Enki himself, the text proceeds to explain that Enki had “perfected for him wide understanding, disclosing all the designs of the Earth; Wisdom he had given to him.” It was all done at the temple; Adapa, we are told, “daily did attend the sanctuary of Eridu.”
“…According to Sumerian chronicles of the earlier times, it was at Eridu’s temple that Enki, as guardian of the secrets of all scientific knowledge, kept the ME’s – tablet-like objects on which the scientific data were inscribed.
“…Even unto millennia later, in Assyrian times, the saying “Wise as Adapa” meant that someone was exceedingly wise and knowledgeable. The study of sciences was often referred in Mesopotamian texts as Shunnat apkati Adapa, “recital/repetition of the great forefather Adapa.” A letter by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, mentioned that his grandfather Sennacherib, was given great knowledge when Adapa had appeared to him in a dream. The “wide knowledge” imparted by Enki to Adapa included writing, medicine and – according to the astronomical series of tablets UD.SAR.ANUM.ENLILLA (“The Great Days of Anu and Enlil”) – knowledge of astronomy and astrology.
“…At the core of these sciences was a mathematical system called sexagesimal (“Base Sixty”) whose advanced nature, including its celestial aspects, has already been discussed. Such sophistication existed even in the earliest times that some call predynastic: arithmetically inscribed tablets that have been found attest the use of the sexagesimal system and of numerical record keeping. Designs on clay objects also from the earliest times leave no doubt regarding the high level of knowledge of geometry in those remote times, six thousand years ago.
Indus Valley; the land “allotted to Ishtar” this pattern comes from a tomb in Nineveh and Persia.
Indus Valley; the land “allotted to Ishtar” this pattern comes from a tomb in Pakistan.
Ruins of marble, ancient temple in Malta.
“…In the aftermath of the Deluge, when the plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers dried sufficiently to enable resettlement, the Cities of the Gods were rebuilt exactly where they had been, according to the “olden plan.” Kish, the first City of Men was entirely new and its place and layout had to be determined. These decisions, we read in the Tale of Etana, were made by the gods. Employing scientific knowledge of geometry for layout and astronomy for orientation;
The gods traced out a city;
Seven gods laid its foundations,
The City of Kish they traced out
and there the seven gods had its foundation.
A city they established, a dewlling place;
but a Shepherd they withheld.
“…The twelve rulers at Kish who had preceded Etana were not yet given the Sumerian royal-priestly title EN.SI – “Lordly Shepherd” or as some prefer “Righteous Shepherd.” The city, it appears, could attain this status only when the gods could find the right man to build a ziggurat stage-temple there and, by becoming a king-priest be given the title EN.SI.
“…The task to “look for a king in all the lands, above and below,” was assigned to Inanna/Ishtar. She found and recommended Etana – a humble shepherd… Enlil, “he who grants kingship,” had to make the actual appointment. We read that “Enlil inspected Etana, the young man who Ishtar had nominated. ‘She sought and she found!’ he cried. ‘In the land shall kingship be establish; let the heart of Kish be glad!'”
The Tale of Etana explains that he went to the Abode of Anu to be taught; it also explains the impression of Etana seeing the Earth becoming smaller and smaller as the growing distance was being measured by the “beru,” unit of measurement, by the “double-hour” a measurement of time, as he ascended to heaven. Mr. Sitchin makes the point:
“…What the text makes clear is that at that remote time, when the first Shepherd King was enthroned in the first City of men, distance, time, and the heavens could already be measured.
“…Since all the major gods of ancient Mesopotamia had celestial counterparts from among the twelve members of the Solar System, as well as a counterpart from the twelve constellations of the zodiac and from the twelve months, one must wonder whether the reference to the determination of the orientation of Kish and its ziggurat by the “seven gods” did not actually mean by the seven planets which those deities represented. Were the Anunnaki waiting for the propitious alignment of seven planets as the right time and right orientation for Kish> and its ziggurat?
“…Further light, we believe, can be shed on the subject by journeying in time over more than two thousand years to Judea circa 1000 B.C. Incredibly, we find that about three thousand years ago the circumstances surrounding the selection of a shepherd to be the builder of a new temple in a new royal capital emulated the event and circumstances recorded in the Tale of Etana; and the same number seven, with a calendrical significance, also played a role.
“…The Judean city where the ancient drama (Tale of Etana) was reenacted was Jerusalem. David who was shepherding the flocks of his father Jesse the Bethlemite was chosen by the Lord for kingship…
“…A principal preoccupation of the Israelites at that time was the need to find a home for the Ark of the Covenant – not just a permanent home, but also a safe one. Originally placed by Moses in the Tent of Appointment during the Exodus, it contained the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Made with specific wood and overlaid with gold both inside and outside, it was surrounded by two Cherubim made of hardened gold with wings extended toward each other; and each time Moses had an appointment with the Lord, Yahweh spoke to him “from between the two Cherubim…” We believe that the Ark, with its insulated gold layers and Cherubim was a communication device, perhaps electrically powered (when it was touched inadvertently, the person involved fell dead).
“…Yahweh had given very detailed instructions regarding the construction of the Tent of Appointment and the enclosure for it, and for the Ark, including what amounted to an “operating manual” for the dismantling and reassembling of all that as well as for the careful transportation of the Ark. By David’s time, however, the Ark was no longer carried by wooden staves but transported upon a wheeled carriage. It was moved from one temporary place of worship to another, and a major assignment for the newly anointed Shepherd King was to establish a new national capital in Jerusalem and therein build a permanent housing for the Ark in the “House of the Lord.”
A depiction of Moses in the Tent of Appointment (Tabernacle) during Exodus, with the Ark of the Covenant.
Etching of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem.
An angered Moses about to break the first set of Tablets with the Ten Commandments.
“…But this was not come to pass… It was one of the very first tasks of King Solomon (King David’s Son), to build the “House of Yahweh” (now referred as to the First Temple) in Jerusalem. Built as the sacred compound and its components in the Sinai were, it was erected in accordance with very detailed instructions. In fact, the layout plans of the two are almost identical. And both were oriented along a precise east-west axis, identifying them as equinoctial temples.
“…The similarities between Kish and Jerusalem as new national capitals, a Shepherd King, and the task of building a temple whose plans were provided by the Lord is enhanced by the significance of the number seven.
“…We are informed in I Kings (chapter 3) that Solomon proceeded to organize the construction project (it involved among others in the workforce, 80,000 stone quarriers and 70,000 porters) only after Yahweh had appeared unto Solomon in Gibeon “in a nightly vision.”
Gibeon; it is also the place where the tale of Joshua commanding the Sun “to stand still” eventuated.
“…The construction, lasting seven years, began with laying the foundation stone in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, and “in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul which is the eighth month the Temple was completed in all its stipulations and exactly according to its plans.” But although entirely complete with not detailed missed or omitted, the Temple was not inaugurated.
“…It was only eleven months later, “in the month of Etanim, the seventh month, on the festival,” that all the elders and tribal chiefs from all over assembled in Jerusalem, “and the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant with Yahweh into its place, into the Dvir of the temple which is the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the Cherubim … and there was nothing in the Ark except the two stone tablets which Moses had placed therein in the Wilderness after Yahweh had made a covenant with the Children of Israel after they had left Egypt. And when the priests stepped out of the Holy of Holies, a cloud filled the House of Yahweh…”
“…The long postponement in the inauguration of the temple was required, it appears, so that it would take place “in the seventh month, on the festival.” There can be no doubt that the festival referred to was the New Year’s festival, in accordance with the commandments concerning holy days and festivals pronounced in the biblical Book of Leviticus… chapter 23 states: the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath is just the first of holy days to be held in intervals of multiples of seven days or that were to last seven days, culminating with the festivals of the seventh month: New Year’s Day, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths.
“…In Mesopotamia by that time Babylon and Assyria had supplanted Sumer, and the New Year was celebrated – as the month’s name indicated – in the first month called Nissan, which coincided with the equinox.
“…The reasons why the Israelites were commanded to celebrate autumnal equinox, remain unexplained in the Bible. But we may find a clue in the fact that the biblical narrative does not call this by its Babylonian-Assyrian name, Tishrei, but by the enigmatic name Etanim. No satisfactory explanation for this name has been found so far; but a solution does occur to us: in view of all the above listed similarities between the king-priest as a shepherd and the circumstances of the establishment of a new capital and the construction of a residence for Yahweh in the desert and in Jerusalem, the clue to the month’s name should also be sought in the Tale of Etana. For does the name used in the Bible, Etanim, simply stem from the name Etana? The name Etan as a personal name, one may note, was not uncommon among the Hebrews, meaning “heroic, mighty.”
“…It is noteworthy that in a discussion by August Wunsche of the similarities between Solomon’s edifices in Jerusalem and the Mesopotamian “portrait of the heavens” (Ex Oriente Lux, vol.2) he cited the rabbinic reference – as in the Tale of Etana – to the “seven stars that indicate time” – Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, and Venus. There are thus plenty of clues and indications confirming the celestial-calendrical aspects of Solomon’s Temple – aspects that link it to traditions and orientations established millennia earlier, in Sumer.
“…Walter Andrae (Des Gotteshouse und die Urformen des Bauens) pointed out that in Assyria the temple’s entrance was flanked by two pylons; this was reflected in Solomon’s Temple, where the entrance was flanked by two freestanding pillars.
“…The detailed architectural and construction information in the Bible in respect to Solomon’s Temple calls its unteroom Ulam, its ritual hall Hekhal, and its holiest part Dvir. The latter, meaning “Where the speaking takes place,” no doubt reflected the fact that Yahweh spoke to Moses from the Ark of the Covenant, the voice coming from where the wings of the Cherubim were touching; and the Ark was placed in the Temple as the only artifact in the innermost enclosure, the Holy of Holies or Dvir. The terminology used for the two foreparts, scholars have recognized, comes from the Sumerian (via Akkadian): E-gal and Ulammu.
“…This essential tripartite division, adopted later on elsewhere (e.g. the Zeus Temple in Olympia, or the Canaanite one at Tainat in Upper Syria), was in reality a continuation that began with the most ancient temples, the ziggurats of Sumer, where the way to the ziggurat’s top, via a stairway, led through two shrines, an outer shrine with two pylons in front of it, and a prayer room – as drawn by G. Martiny in his studies.
Mr. Sitchin explains the use of golden utensils for the king and how each subsequent king, especially in Mesopotamia, took the task to make listings of repairs, naming the year of their reign and the kind of repair mainly of the temples themselves, new walls, like in the case of King Hammurabi.
“…Sumerian, the Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian kings recorded in their inscriptions with great pride how they repaired, embellished, or rebuilt the sacred temples and their precincts; archaeological excavations not only uncovered such inscriptions but also corroborated the claims made therein (University of Pennsylvania, 1880s).
“…The discovery that later temples were erected upon the foundations of earlier temples in strict adherence to the original plans was reconfirmed at other ancient sites in Mesopotamia. The rule applied even to enlargement of temples – even if more than once, as was found at Eridu; in all instances the original axis and orientation had to be realigned from time to time because of the change in the Earth’s tilt. Mesopotamian equinoctial temples needed no adjustment in their orientation because geographic north and geographic east, by definition, remained unchanged no matter how the Earth’s tilt had changed: the sun always passed over the equator at “equinox” times, rising on such days precisely in the east.
“…The obligation to adhere to the “olden plans” was spelled out in an inscription on a tablet found in Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, along the ruins of a rebuilt temple. In it the Assyrian king recorded his compliance with the sacred requirement:
The everlasting ground plan,
that which for the future
the construction determined,
[I have followed.]
It is the one which bears
the drawings from the Olden Times
and the writings of the Upper Heaven.
“…Indeed, the obligatory adherence to the earlier site, orientation, and layout of the temples in the ancient Near East, no matter how long the interval or how extensive the repairs or rebuilding had to be, is exemplified by the successive temples in Jerusalem. The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.; but after Babylon fell to the Achaemenid Persian king Cyrus issued an edict permitting the return of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple by them.
Doorways in Nebuchadnezzar’s Palace.
The Restoration of the Temple’s Vessels, under Persian Cyrus’ kingship.
“…The rebuilding, significantly, began with the erection of an altar (where the first one used to be) “when the seventh month commenced” i.e. on the day of the New Year (and the sacrifices continued until the Feast of Booths). Lest there be doubt about the date, the Book of Ezra (3:6) restated the date: “From the first day of the seventh month did the sacrifices to Yahweh commence.”
“…The adherence not only to the location and orientation of the temple but also to the time of the New Year – an indication of the calendrical aspect of the temple – is reaffirmed in the prophecies of Ezequiel.
“…Ezequiel had a vision in which he was given the precise orientation for the new temple, as it had been with the temple Solomon had built.
“…The prophetic vision became a reality after the Persian king Cyrus, having defeated and captured Babylon, issued an edict proclaiming the restoration of the destroyed temples throughout the Babylonian empire… A special royal proclamation, recorded word for word in the Book of Ezra, called on the Jewish exiles to rebuild the “House of Yahweh, God of Heaven.”
“…The Second Temple, built under difficult conditions in what was still a devastated land, was a poor imitation of the First Temple. Rebuilt a part at a time, it was constructed according to plans received from records kept in the Persian royal archives and, the Bible asserts, in strict conformity with the details in the Five Books of Moses. That the Temple indeed followed the original layout and orientation became clearer some five centuries later, when King Herod decided to replace the poor replica with a new, splendid edifice that would not just match, but even surpass, in grandeur the First Temple. Built on an enlarged great platform (still known as the Temple Mount) and its massive walls (of which the Western Wall, still largely intact, is revered by Jews as the extant remnant of the Holy Temple), it was surrounded by courtyards and various auxiliary buildings. But the House of the Lord proper retained the tripartite layout and orientation of the first Temple.
The huge Platform at Temple Mount; the Old City in the view.
The Western Wall.
A Model at an Hotel in Israel, of the Temple King Herod reconstructed.
“…As one views the remains of the immense sacred precincts with their temples and shrines and service buildings, courtyards and gates, and, in the innermost section, the Ziggurat, it should be borne in mind that the very first temples were the actual abodes of the gods and were literally called the god’s “E” – the god’s actual “House.” Begun as structures atop artificial mounds and raised platforms, they in time evolved to become the famed ziggurats (step-pyramids) – the skyscrapers of antiquity. As an artist’s drawing shows, the deity’s actual residence was in the topmost stage. There, seated on their thrones under a canopy, the gods would grant audiences to their chosen king, the “Shepherd of Men.”
“…Circa 2300 B.C. a high priestess, the daughter of Sargon of Akkad, collected all the hymns to the ziggurat-temples of her time. Called by Sumerologists “a unique Sumerian literary composition” (A. Sjoberg and E. Bergmann in Texts From Cuneiform Sources, vol. 3), the text pays homage to forty-two “E” temples, from Eridu in the south to Sippar in the north and on both sides of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
“…The composition appropriately begins with Enki’s ziggurat-temple in Eridu, called in the hymn “place whose Holy of Holies is the foundation of Heaven-Earth,” for Eridu was the first City of the Gods, the first outpost of the first landing of the Anunnaki (led by Enki), and the first divine city opened up to Earthlings to become also a City of Men.
Reliefs from the Palace of Sargon of Akkad, whose daughter was inspired to take record of all the ziggurat-temples of her time.
Depiction of Sargon.
Transporting wood by boat.
“…This hymn was followed by one to the E.KUR – “House which is like a mountain” – the ziggurat of Enlil in Nippur… It was a “shrine where destinies are determined,” a ziggurat “which bonds heaven and earth.” In Nippur Ninlil, Enlil’s spouse, had her separate temple, “clad in awesome brilliance.” From it the goddess appeared “in the month of the New Year, on the day of the festival, wonderfully adorned.”
“…The half sister of Enki and Enlil, Ninharsag, who was among the first Anunnaki to come to Earth and was their chief biologist and medical officer, had her temple at the city called Kesh. Simply called E.NINHARSAG. “House of the Lady of the Mountainpeak,” it was described as a ziggurat whose “bricks are well molded … a place of Heaven and Earth, an awe inspiring place” which apparently was adorned with “a great poisonous snake” made of lapis lazuli – the symbol of medicine and healing. (Moses, it will be recalled, made an image of a serpent to stop a killing plague in the Sinai desert).
“…The god Ninurta, Enlil’s Foremost son by his half sister Ninharsag, who had a ziggurat in his own “cult center,” Lagash, had at the time of the composition of this text also a temple in the sacred precinct of Nippur, it was called E.ME.UR.ANNA, “House of the ME’s of Anu’s Hero.” In Lagash, the ziggurat was called E.NINNU, “House of Fifty,” reflecting the numerical rank in the divine hierarchy (Anu’s rank, sixty, was the highest).
“…It was, the hymn stated, a “House filled with radiance and awe, grown high like a mountain,” in which Ninurta’s “Black Bird,” his flying machine, and his Sharur weapon (“the raging storm which envelopes men”) were housed.
“…Enlil’s firstson by his official spouse, Ninlil, was Nannar (later known as Sin), who was associated with the Moon as his celestial counterpart. His ziggurat, in Ur, was called E.KISH.NU.GAL, a “House of Thirty, the great seed” and was described as a temple “whose beaming moonlight comes forth in the land” – all references to Nannar/Sin’s celestial association with the Moon and the month.
“…Nannar/Sin’s son, Utu/Shamash (his celestial counterpart was the Sun) had his temple in Sippar, the E.BABBAR – “House of the Bright One” or “Bright House.” It was described as “House of the prince of heaven, a heavenly star who from the horizon, fills the earth from heaven.” His twin sister, Inanna/Ishtar, whose celestial counterpart was the planet Venus, had her ziggurat temple in the city Zabalam, where it was called “House full of brightness”; it was described as a “pure mountain,” a “shrine whose mouth opens at dawn” and one “through which the firmament is made beautiful at night” – undoubted reference to the double role of Venus as an evening, as well as a morning “star.” Inanna/Ishtar was also worshipped in Erech, where Anu had put at her disposal the ziggurat-temple built for him when he had come to Earth for a visit. The ziggurat was called E.NANNA, simply “House of Anu.” The hymn described it as a “ziggurat of seven stages, surveying the seven luminary gods of the night” – a reference to its alignment and astronomical aspects that was echoed as we have noted earlier, in rabbinic comments regarding the Jerusalem temple.
“…Thus did the composition go on, on portraying the 42 ziggurats, their glories, and celestial associations. Scholars speak of this association from more than 4,300 years ago as a “collection of Sumerian temple hymns” and title it “The Cycle of Old Sumerian Poems about the Great Temples.” It may however be much more appropriate to follow the Sumerian custom and call the text by its opening words:
E.U NIR; House-ziggurat rising high
AN.KI DA; Heaven-Earth joining.
“One of those Houses and its sacred precinct, as we shall see, hold a key that can unlock the Stonehenge enigma and the events of that time’s New Age.