Chapter 11: A Time of Prophecy

“…Was the delay in the start of building the Jerusalem Temple due to the reason given – David’s shedding of enemy blood in wars and feuds – or was that just an excuse, obscuring another more profound reason?

“…One finds it odd that as a result of the delay the span of time that had passed from the renewed covenant with Abraham ( and on that occasion also with Isaac) on Mount Moriah until the Temple’s building began was exactly a thousand years. It is odd because the exile of Marduk had also lasted a thousand years; and that seems to be more than a chance coincidence.

“…The Bible makes it clear that the timing of the Temple’s building was determined by God himself.

“…The notion that a millennium – a thousand years – signifies more than a calendrical event, portending apocalyptic events, is commonly held to have stemmed from a visionary account in the Book of Revelation chapter 20, in which it was prophesied that the “Dragon, that old Serpent, which is the Devil and Satan,” shall be bound for a thousand years, cast into a pit and shut therein for a thousand years, unable to deceive the nations “till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” It will be then that Gog and Magog shall be engaged in a world war, the First Resurrection of the dead shall occur, and Messianic Times will begin.

“…Those visionary words, introducing in Christianity the notion (and expectation) of an apocalyptic millennium, were written in the first century A.D. So, although the book names Babylon as the “evil empire,” scholars and theologians assume that this was a code name for Rome.

“…But even so, it is significant that the words in Revelation echo the words of the prophet Ezequiel (sixth century B.C.) who had a vision of the Resurrection of the dead on the Day of the Lord (chapter 37) and the world war of Gog and Magog (chapters 38, 39); it shall take place, Ezequiel stated, “at the End of the Years.” It was all, he said, foretold by the prophets of Yahweh in the Olden Days, “who had then prophesied about the Years.”

“…’The Years’ to be fulfilled, the count till the ‘End of Years.’ It was indeed many centuries before Ezequiel’s time that the Bible offered a clue:

A thousand years,
in thy eyes,
are but as one day that has passed.

 

“…The Hebrew word for “thousand,” Eleph, is spelled with the three letters Aleph (“A”), Lamed (“L”) and Peh (“P” or Ph”), which can be read as Aleph, meaning the first letter of the alphabet, and numerically “1.” Added together the three letters have the numerical value 111 (1+30+80), which can be taken as a triple affirmation on the Oneness of Yahweh and of monotheism, “One” being a code word for “God.” Not by chance, the same three letters rearranged (P-L-A) spell Peleh – a wonder of wonders, an epithet for God’s handiwork, and the Mysteries of Heaven and Earth that are beyond human understanding. Those wonders of wonders referred principally to the things created and foretold in the long-ago past; they were also the subject of Daniel’s enquiry when he sought to Divine the End of Time (12:6).

“…And as the Bible makes clear, the thousand years whose count began with the building of the Temple – coinciding with what is now called the last millennium B.C. – was a time of prophecy.

“…To understand the events and prophecies of that last millennium, one ought to turn the clock back to the preceding millennium, to the nuclear calamity and the assumption of supremacy by Marduk.

“…The list of fleeing gods (from the nuclear blasted areas) goes on and on… The nuclear cloud shifted southward by the winds, spared Babylon; and that was taken as an omen reinforcing the grant of the fifty names to Marduk as an indication of his deserved supremacy.

“…Scholars have paid a scant attention to the issue of mathematics in the Bible, leaving untackled what should have been a puzzle: Why has the Hebrew adopted completely the decimal system, although Abraham was an Ibri – a Sumerian from Nippur – and all the tales in Genesis (as echoed in the Psalms and elsewhere were based on Sumerian texts? Why was the Sumerian sexagesimal system (“base 60”) not at all echoed in the Bible’s numerology – a practice that culminated in the concept of a millennium?

“…One wonders whether Marduk had been cognizant of this issue. He marked his assumption of supremacy by proclaiming a New Age (that of a Ram), by revising the calendar, and by building a new Gateway of the Gods. In those steps one can find evidence also for a new mathematics – a tacit shift from the sexagesimal to the decimal system.

“…The focal point of those changes was the temple-ziggurat honoring him, that Enki suggested be built by the Anunnaki themselves… it rose in seven stages, the topmost of which served as the actual residence of Marduk… The result (of the ziggurat) was a cube whose circumference equaled 60 gar in each of its three dimensions, giving the structure the celestial number 3600 when squared (60 x 60) and 216,000 when cubed (60 x 60 x 60). But in that number was hidden a shift to the decimal system, for it represented the zodiacal number 2,160 multiplied by 100.

“…The four corners of the ziggurat faced precisely to the four cardinal points of the compass. As studies by archaeoastronomers have shown, the staggered height of each of the six stages was precisely calculated to enable celestial observations at that particular geographic location. The ziggurat was thus intended not only to surpass Enlil’s onetime Ekur, but also to take over Nippur’s astronomical/calendrical functions.

“…As in Mesopotamia, so was the calendar revised in Egypt. Originally revised there by Thoth, whose “secret number” was 52, it divided the year into 52 weeks of 7 days each, resulting in a solar year of only 364 days (an issue prominent in the Book of Enoch). Marduk (as Ra) instituted instead a year based on a division into 10: he divided the year into 36 “decans” of ten days each: the resulting 360 days were then followed by five special days, to complete 365.

“…The New Age ushered in by Marduk was not one of monotheism. Marduk did not declare himself sole god; indeed, he needed the other gods to be present and to hail him as supreme. To that purpose he provided in the sacred precinct of Babylon shrines, small temples and residences for all the other principal gods, and invited them to make their homes therein.

Although Marduk invited several gods to take residence in the sacred precinct of Babylon shrines…

“…There is no indication in any of the texts that any accepted the invitation. In fact, at the time that the royal dynasty that Marduk had envisioned was finally installed in Babylon circa 1890 B.C., the dispersed gods began to establish their own new domains all around Mesopotamia.

“…Prominent among them was Elam in the east with Susa (later the biblical Shushan) as its capital and Ninurta as its “national god.” In the west, a kingdom whose capital was called Mari (from the term Amurru, the Western One) blossomed out into its own on the western banks of the Euphrates River; its magnificent palaces were decorated with murals showing Ishtar investing the king, attesting to the high standing of that goddess there. In the mountainous Hatti Land, where the Hittites had already worshipped Enlil’s youngest son Adad by his Hittite name Teshub (the Wind/Storm God), a kingdom with imperial strength and aspiration began to grow. And between the Land of the Hittites and Babylonia there arose a brand-new kingdom – that of Assyria… the national god was named Ashur – the “Seeing One.” He combined the powers and identities of both Enlil and Anu, and his depiction as a god within a winged circular object dominated Assyrian monuments.

“…And, in distant Africa, there was Egypt, the Kingdom of the Nile. But there a chaotic period, called by scholars the Second Intermediate Period, removed the country from the international scene until the so-called New Kingdom began circa 1650 B.C.

“…As each nation made the claim that they went on the warpath in the name and on the orders of their national god, the growing conflicts might well have represented a struggle between the gods through human surrogates. A clue that seems to confirm this is the fact that the theophoric names of Pharaohs of the 18th dynasty dropped the prefix or suffix Ra or Amen in favor of Thoth. The change, that began with Thothmes I (sometimes rendered as Tuthmosis) in 1525 B.C., also began the beginning of the oppression of the Israelites. The reason given by the Pharaoh is enlightening: Launching military expeditions to Naharin, on the Upper Euphrates, he feared that the Israelites would become an internal fifth column. The reason? Naharin was the very area where Harran was located, and where the people were descendants of the Patriarchal relatives.

“…Under Thothmes III… Moses was forced to flee after he had stood up for his people… Seventeen years later, after repeated demands and a series of afflictions wrought by Yahweh upon “Egypt and its gods,” the Israelites were let go, and the Exodus began.

“…Two incidents mentioned in the Bible, and a major change in Egypt, indicate theological repercussions among other peoples as a result of the miracles and wonders attributed to Yahweh in support of his Chosen People:

…”And when Jethro, the Priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel,” we read in Genesis chapter 18, he came to the Israelite camp… and Jethro said: “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all the gods”; and he offered sacrifices to Yahweh. The next incident (described in Numbers chapters 22-24) occurred when the Moabite king retained the seer Bile’am (also rendered Bala’am) to put a curse on the advancing Israelites. But “the spirit of God came upon Bilam,” and in a “divine vision” he saw that the house of Jacob was blessed by Yahweh, and that his word cannot be countermanded.

“…The recognition by a non-Hebrew priest and seer of the powers and supremacy of Yahweh had an unexpected effect on the Egyptian royal family. In 1379 B.C. – just as the Israelites were entering Canaan proper – a new Pharaoh changed his name to Akhenaten – the Aten being represented by the Winged Disc, moved his capital to a new place, and began to worship one god. It was a short-lived experiment to which the priests of Amen-Ra put a quick end . . . Short lived too, was the concept of a universal peace that accompanied the faith in a universal God. In 1296 B.C. the Egyptian army, ever thrusting toward the Harran region, was decisively defeated by the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in what is now Lebanon).

A series of expansions and unifications with Marduk still worshipped as supreme god in a recaptured Babylon by the Assyrians; battles and invasions followed…

“…In Canaan, tired of constantly battling city-kings and princedoms all around them, the Israelites sent, through the High Priest Samuel, a request to Yahweh: make us a strong nation, give us a king!

“…The first one was Saul; after him came David, and then the transfer of the Capital to Jerusalem.

Saul being anointed by Samuel.

Saul being anointed by Samuel.

“…It was only after the Temple to Yahweh was built, that prophecy – the foretelling of things to come – came into full bloom. And there was nothing akin to the Hebrew Prophets in the Bible, who combined the preaching of justice and morality with the foreseeing of things to come, anywhere else in the ancient world.

“…The period that is now called in hindsight the first millennium B.C. was actually the last millennium in the four-thousand-year-old human story that began with the blossoming out of the Sumerian civilization. The midpoint in this human drama, whose story we have called The Earth Chronicles, was the nuclear holocaust, the demise of Summer and Akkad, and the hand-over of the Sumerian baton to Abraham and his seed. That was the watershed after the two thousand years. Now the next half of the story, the last two millennia of what had begun in Sumer and a state visit to Earth by Anu circa 3760 B.C., was also coming to an end.

“…That, indeed, was the thread connecting the great biblical prophecies at that time: The cycle is coming to a closure, what had been foretold at the Beginning of Years shall be coming true at the End of Years.

“…Mankind has been given an opportunity to repent, to return to justice and morality, to recognize that there is only one true God, the God even of the Elohim themselves. With every word, vision, symbolic act the Prophets tolled the message: Time is running out; great events are about to happen. Yahweh does not seek the death of the evildoers – He seeks their return to righteousness. Man cannot control his Destiny, but can control his Fate; Man, kings, nations can choose the course to follow. But if evil shall prevail, if injustice shall rule human relations, if nation shall continue to take sword to other nations, all shall be judged and doomed on the Day of the Lord.

“…As the Bible itself acknowledges, it was not a message to a receptive audience. Surrounded by peoples who seemed to know whom they worshiped, the Jews were asked to adhere to strict standards demanded by an unseen God, one whose mere image was unknown.

“…To be believed, the biblical Prophets resorted to miracles – just as Moses, instructed by God, had to resort to miracles to obtain the Pharaoh’s release of the Israelites, and then to convince the Israelites of Yahweh’s almightiness.

“…How believable were those miracles then?

“…While the texts and artifacts discovered by the archaeologists provided corroboration, they also shed light on profound differences between the biblical Prophets and those fortunetellers of other nations. From the very beginning the Hebrew Nebi’im – translated “prophets” but literally meaning “spokesmen” of God – explained that the magic and foresight were not theirs but God’s. The miracles were His, and what was foretold was just what God had ordained. Moreover, rather than acting as court employees, as “Yes-men prophets,” they as often as not criticized and admonished the high-and-mighty for personal wrongdoing or wrong national decisions. Even King David was reprimanded for coveting the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

“…By an odd coincidence – if that is all it was – at the same time that David captured Jerusalem and took the initial steps to establish the House of Yahweh on the Sacred Platform, the decline and decay of what is termed Old Assyria came to an abrupt end and, under a new dynasty, what historians call the neo-Assyrian period was ushered in. And no sooner was the Temple of Yahweh built, than Jerusalem began to attract the attention of distant rulers. As a direct consequence, its prophets, too, shifted their sights to the international arena, and embedded prophecies concerning the world at large within their prophecies regarding Judea, the split-off northern kingdom of Israel, their kings, and their peoples. It was a worldview that it was amazing in its scope and understanding – by Prophets who, before they were summoned by God, were mostly simple villagers.

“…Such profound knowledge of distant lands and nations, the names of their kings… their commerce and trade routes, their armies and makeup of fighting forces, must have amazed even the kings of Judea at the time… It was Hanani the Prophet who (warning the Judean king against a treaty with the Aramaeans) explained to the king: Rely on the word of Yahweh, for “it is the eyes of Yahweh that roam the whole Earth.”

“…Assyrian encroachments on the Jewish kingdoms, accurately recorded in the Bible, began with the northern kingdom, Israel. Here again, biblical records are fully corroborated by the annals of the Assyrian kings; Shalmaneser III (858-824 B.C.) even pictured the Israelite king Jehu bowing down before him, in a scene dominated by the Winged Disc symbol of Nibiru… In 722 B.C. the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V marched on the northern kingdom, captured its capital Samaria (Shomron – “Little Sumer” – in Hebrew), and exiled its king and noblemen. Two years later the next Assyrian king, Sargon II (721-705 B.C.) exiled the rest of the people – giving rise to the enigma of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel – and ended the independent existence of that state.

“…While those calamities, according to the Bible, befell the northern state of Israel because its leaders and people failed to heed the Prophets’ warnings and admonitions, the kings of Judea to the south were more attentive to the prophetic guidance and, for a while, enjoyed a period of relative peace. But the Assyrians had their eye on Jerusalem and its temple; and for reasons which their annals do not explain, many of their military expeditions started in the Harran area and then extended westward to the Mediterranean coast. Significantly, the annals of the Assyrian kings, describing their conquests and domains in the Harran area, identify by name a city called Nahor and a city called Laban – cities bearing the names of the brother and brother-in-law of Abraham.

“…The task of extending the territories and the “command” of the god Ashur to the House of Yahweh fell to Sennacherib, the son of Sargon II and his successor in 704 B.C. Aiming to consolidate his father’s conquest and put an end to recurring rebellions in Assyrian provinces, he devoted his third campaign (701 B.C.) to the capture of Judea and Jerusalem.

“…The events and circumstances of that attempt are extensively recorded both in the Assyrian’s annals and in the Bible, making it one of the best documented instances of biblical veracity. It was also an occurrence that showed the veracity of the biblical prophecy, its value as a foretelling guide, and the scope of its geopolitical grasp.

“…Furthermore, there exists physical evidence – to this very day – corroborating and illustrating an important aspect of those events; so that one can see with one’s own eyes how real and true it all was.

“…As we start relating those events with the words of Sennacherib himself, let it be noticed that here the campaign against distant Jerusalem began with a detour to “Hatti Land,” to the area of Harran, and only then swung all the way westward to the Mediterranean coast, where the first city attacked was Sidon:

“…In spite of the losses, Hezekiah remained unyielding – because the Prophet Isaiah had thus prophesied: Fear not the attacker, for Yahweh will impose His spirit on him, and he shall hear a rumor, and will return to his land, and there he will be felled by the sword …

“Thus sayeth Yahweh: the king of Assyria shall not enter this city! The way he came he shall go back, for I protect this city to save it, for My sake and for the sake of David my servant.”

(2 Kings chapter 19).

 

“…The boasting (of Sennacherib in his annals) omits telling what really happened in Jerusalem; the source for the more complete story is the Bible. It records, in 2 Kings chapter 20 and, similarly, in the book of the Prophet Isaiah and in the Book of Chronicles

After all deals failed for Sennacherib, the story continues:

“…In a postscript, the Bible made sure to record that the second part of the prophesy had also come true (as the first did when all his men were killed by the Angel of Yahweh in their own camp, and Sennacherib journeyed back and dwelt in Nineveh)… And it was when he was bowing down in his temple to his god Nisrock, that Adrameleck and Sharezzer struck him down with a sword…

“…Only recently did scholars, with the aid of additional archaeological finds, confirm the biblical account: Sennacherib was indeed assassinated (in the year 681 B.C.) by two of his own sons, and the heir to the throne became another, younger son called Esarhaddon.

We, too, can add a postscript to further confirm the veracity of the Bible.

“…Early in the nineteenth century, archaeologists exploring Jerusalem discovered that the Tunnel of Hezekiah was fact, not myth: that a subterranean tunnel indeed served as a conduit for a secret supply of water in Jerusalem, cut through the city’s native rock under the defensive walls from the time of the Judean kings! (Sennacherib had planned to seize the water supplies against Hezekiah, but a tunnel had been diverted to maintain water supply to Jerusalem, so Sennacherib’s plan failed)

“…The accuracy and veracity of the biblical account of the events in Jerusalem extended to the events in faraway Nineveh concerning the succession on the throne of Assyria: It was indeed a bloody affair that pitted sons of Sennacherib against him and ended with the younger son, Esarhaddon (also spelled Asarhaddon), ascending the throne. The bloody events are described in the Annals of Esarhaddon (on the artifact known as Prism B), in which he ascribes his choice of kingship over his older brothers as the result of an oracle given to Sennacherib by the gods Shamash and Adad – a choice approved by the great gods of Assyria and Babylon “and all the other gods residing in heaven and on Earth.”

“…The bloody end of Sennacherib was but one act in the raging drama concerning the role and standing of the god Marduk. The Assyrian attempt to bring Babylonians to heel and in reality annex Babylon by bringing Marduk over to the Assyrian capital did not work, and within decades Marduk was returned to his honored position in Babylon. The texts suggest that a crucial aspect of the god’s restoration was the need to celebrate the Akitu festival of the New Year, in which the Enuma Elish was publicly read and the Resurrection of Marduk was reenacted in a Passion Play, in Babylon and nowhere else. By the time of Tiglat-Pileser III, the king’s legitimacy required his humbling himself before Marduk until Marduk “took both my hands in his” (in the king’s words).

“…To cement his choice of Esarhaddon as his successor, Sennacherib had appointed him as Babylon’s viceroy (and named himself “King of Sumer and Akkad”). And when he ascended the throne, Esarhaddon took the solemn oath of office: in the presence of the gods of Assyria: Ashur, Sin, Shamash, Nebo, and Marduk.” (Ishtar, though not present, was invoked in later annals).

“…But all those efforts to be religiously inclusive failed to bring stability or peace. As the seventh century B.C. began, ushering as the second half of what, counting forward from the Sumerian start, was the Last Millennium, turmoil seized the great capitals and spread throughout the ancient world.

“…The biblical Prophets saw it all coming; it was the beginning of the End, they announced in behalf of Yahweh.

“…In the prophesied scenario of events to come, Jerusalem and its Sacred Platform were to be the focal point of a global catharsis. The divine fury was to manifest itself first against the city and its people, for they had abandoned Yahweh and his commandments. The kings of the great nations were to be the instruments of Yahweh’s wrath. But then they, too, each one in his turn, would be judged in the Day of Judgment. “It will be a judgment of all flesh, for Yahweh has a quarrel with all the nations,” the Prophet Jeremiah announced.

“…The sins of nations great and small, from Egypt and Nubia all the way to distant China (!) were to be judged on the Day of Yahweh.

“…Of Egypt the Prophet Isaiah foresaw its occupation by Assyrian forces after a three-year war. The Prophecy came true at the hands of Esarhaddon, Sennacherib’s successor. What is remarkable, beside the prophecy’s fulfillment, is that before leading his army westward then southward toward Egypt, the Assyrian king made a detour to Harran!

“That was in 675 B.C. In the same century, the fate of Assyria itself was sealed. A resurgent Babylon under king Nabupolassar captured the Assyrian capital Nineveh by breaking the river dams to flood the city – just as the Prophet Nahum had foretold (1:8). The year was 612 B.C.

“…The remnants of the Assyrian army retreated – of all places – to Harran; but there the ultimate instrument of divine judgment made its appearance. It would be, Yahweh told Jeremiah (Jeremiah 5:15-16), “a distant nation… a nation whose language thou knowest not…

“…The Mesopotamian records of the time speak of the sudden appearance, from the north, of the Umman-Manda – perhaps advance forces of Scythians from Central Asia, perhaps forerunners of the Medes from the highlands of what is now Iran, perhaps a combination of both. In 610 B.C. they captured Harran, where the remnants of the Assyrian army holed up, and gained control of the vital crossroads. In 605 B.C. an Egyptian army headed by Pharaoh Necho thrust once again – as Thothmes III had attempted before the Exodus – to reach and capture Naharin, on the Upper Euphrates. But a combined force of Babylonian and Umman-Manda, at a crucial battle at Carcemish near Harran, gave Egypt’s empire the final coup de grace. It was all as Jeremiah had prophesied concerning haughty Egypt and its king Necho…

Scythian Head found in India.

Scythian Head found in India.

“…Assyria was vanquished – the victor has become a victim. Egypt was beaten and its gods disgraced. There was no power left to stand in the way of Babylon – not for Babylon to act out Yahweh’s wrath against Judea, and then meet her own fate.

“…At the helm of Babylon was now a king of Caesarian ambitions. He was given the throne in recognition of the victory at Carchemish and the royal name Nebuchadnezzar (the second), a theophoric name incorporating the name of Nabu, Marduk’s son and spokesman. He lost no time launching military campaigns “by the powers of my lords Nabu and Marduk.” In 597 B.C. he sent his forces to Jerusalem, ostensibly only to remove its pro-Egyptian king Jeho’iakim and replace him with his son Jeho’iachin, a mere youth. It was only, it turned out, a test run; for one way or another, he was fated to play out the role Yahweh had assigned to him as the punisher of Jerusalem for the sins of its people, but ultimately, Babylon herself would be judged:

For a nation from the north hath come upon her from the north;
it will make her land desolate, without dwellers.

Jeremiah 50:1-3

 

“…It will be an Earthwide catharsis, in which not only nations but also their god’s shall be called to account, Yahweh, the “Lord of Hosts,” made clear. But at the end of the catharsis, after the coming of the Day of the Lord, Zion shall be rebuilt and all the nations of the world shall gather to worship Yahweh in Jerusalem.

“…When all is said and done, the prophet Isaiah declared, Jerusalem and its rebuilt Temple would be the sole “Light unto the nations.” Jerusalem shall suffer its Fate, but will arise to fulfill its Destiny… Isaiah 2:2-3

“…In those unfolding events and prophecies concerning the great powers, Jerusalem and its Temple, and what is to come in the Last Days, the Prophets in the Holy Land were joined by the Prophet Ezequiel who was shown Divine Visions on the Banks of the Khabur River in faraway Harran.

“…For there, in Harran, the divine and human drama that began when the paths of Marduk and Abraham crossed, was also destined to come to an end – at the very same time that Jerusalem and its Temple were facing Fate.


Continue to Chapter 12: The God Who Returned from Heaven