Wherever one turns, humankind appears seized with Apocalyptic trepidation, Messianic fervor, and End of Time anxiety.
Religious fanaticism manifests itself in wars, rebellions, and the slaughter of “infidels.” Armies amassed by Kings of the West are warring with armies of the Kings of the East. A Clash of Civilizations shakes the foundations of traditional ways of life. Carnage engulfs cities and towns; the high and the mighty seek safety behind protective walls.
Natural calamities and ever-intensifying catastrophes leave people wondering:
- Has Mankind sinned, is it witnessing Divine Wrath, is it due for another annihilating Deluge?
- Is this the Apocalypse?
- Can there be—will there be—Salvation?
- Are Messianic times afoot?
- The time—the twenty-first century a.d.—or was it the twenty-first century B.C.E.?
The correct answer is Yes and Yes, both in our own time as well as in those ancient times. It is the condition of the present time, as well as at a time more than four millennia ago; and the amazing similarity is due to events in the middle time in between—the period associated with the messianic fervor at the time of Jesus.
Those three cataclysmic periods for Mankind and its planet—two in the recorded past (circa 2100 B.C.E. and when B.C.E. changed to A.D.), one in the nearing future—are interconnected; one has led to the other, one can be understood only by understanding the other. The Present stems from the Past, the Past is the Future. Essential to all three is Messianic Expectation; and linking all three is Prophecy.
How the present time of troubles and tribulations will end—what the Future portends—requires entering the realm of Prophecy. Ours will not be a mélange of newfound predictions whose main magnet is fear of doom and End, but a reliance upon unique ancient records that documented the Past, predicted the Future, and recorded previous Messianic expectations—prophesying the future in antiquity and, one believes, the Future that is to come.
In all three apocalyptic instances—the two that had occurred, the one that is about to happen—the physical and spiritual relationship between Heaven and Earth was and remains pivotal for the events. The physical aspects were expressed by the existence on Earth of actual sites that linked Earth with the heavens—sites that were deemed crucial, that were focuses of the events; the spiritual aspects have been expressed in what we call Religion.
In all three instances, a changed relationship between Man and God was central, except that when, circa 2100 B.C.E., Mankind faced the first of these three epochal upheavals, the relationship was between men and gods, in the plural. Whether that relationship has really changed, the reader will soon discover.
The story of the gods, the Anunnaki (“Those who from heaven to Earth came”), as the Sumerians called them, begins with their coming to Earth from Nibiru in need of gold. The story of their planet was told in antiquity in the Epic of Creation, a long text on seven tablets; it is usually considered to be an allegorical myth, the product of primitive minds that spoke of planets as living gods combating each other.
But as I have shown in my book The Twelfth Planet, the ancient text is in fact a sophisticated cosmogony that tells how a stray planet, passing by our solar system, collided with a planet called Tiamat; the collision resulted in the creation of Earth and its Moon, of the Asteroid Belt and comets, and in the capture of the invader itself in a great elliptical orbit that takes about 3,600 Earth-years to complete (Fig. 1).
It was, Sumerian texts tell, 120 such orbits—432,000 Earth-years—prior to the Deluge (the “Great flood”) that the Anunnaki came to Earth. How and why they came, their first cities in the E.DIN (the biblical Eden), their fashioning of the Adam and the reasons for it, and the events of the catastrophic Deluge—have all been told in The Earth Chronicles series of my books, and will not be repeated here.
But before we time-travel to the momentous twenty-first century B.C.E., some pre-Diluvial and post-Diluvial landmark events need to be recalled.
The biblical tale of the Deluge, starting in chapter 6 of Genesis, ascribes its conflicting aspects to a sole deity, Yahweh, who at first is determined to wipe Mankind off the face of the Earth, and then goes out of his way to save it through Noah and the Ark.
The earlier Sumerian sources of the tale ascribe the disaffection with Mankind to the god Enlil, and the countereffort to save Mankind to the god Enki. What the Bible glossed over for the sake of Monotheism was not just the disagreement between Enlil and Enki, but a rivalry and a conflict between two clans of Anunnaki that dominated the course of subsequent events on Earth.
That conflict between the two and their offspring, and the Earth regions allocated to them after the Deluge, need to be kept in mind to understand all that happened thereafter.
The two were half-brothers, sons of Nibiru’s ruler Anu; their conflict on Earth had its roots on their home planet, Nibiru. Enki—then called E.A (“He whose home is water”)— was Anu’s firstborn son, but not by the official spouse, Antu. When Enlil was born to Anu by Antu—a half-sister of Anu—Enlil became the Legal Heir to Nibiru’s throne though he was not the firstborn son.
The unavoidable resentment on the part of Enki and his maternal family was exacerbated by the fact that Anu’s accession to the throne was problematic to begin with: having lost out in a succession struggle to a rival named Alalu, he later usurped the throne in a coup d’état, forcing Alalu to flee Nibiru for his life. That not only backtracked Ea’s resentments to the days of his forebears, but also brought about other challenges to the leadership of Enlil, as told in the epic Tale of Anzu.
(For the tangled relationships of Nibiru’s royal families and the ancestries of Anu and Antu, Enlil and Ea, see The Lost Book of Enki.)
The key to unlocking the mystery of the gods’ succession (and marriage) rules was my realization that these rules also applied to the people chosen by them to serve as their proxies to Mankind.
It was the biblical tale of the Patriarch Abraham explaining (Genesis 20:12) that he did not lie when he had presented his wife Sarah as his sister:
“Indeed, she is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.”
Not only was marrying a half-sister from a different mother permitted, but a son by her—in this case Isaac—became the Legal Heir and dynastic successor, rather than the Firstborn Ishmael, the son of the handmaiden Hagar.
(How such succession rules caused the bitter feud between Ra’s divine descendants in Egypt, the half-brothers Osiris and Seth who married the half-sisters Isis and Nephtys, is explained in The Wars of Gods and Men.)
Though those succession rules appear complex, they were based on what those who write about royal dynasties call “bloodlines”—what we now should recognize as sophisticated DNA genealogies that also distinguished between general DNA inherited from the parents as well as the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that is inherited by females only from the mother.
The complex yet basic rule was this: Dynastic lines continue through the male line; the Firstborn son is next in succession; a half-sister could be taken as wife if she had a different mother; and if a son by such a half-sister is later born, that son—though not Firstborn—becomes the Legal Heir and the dynastic successor.
The rivalry between the two half-brothers Ea/Enki and Enlil in matters of the throne was complicated by personal rivalry in matters of the heart. They both coveted their half-sister Ninmah, whose mother was yet another concubine of Anu. She was Ea’s true love, but he was not permitted to marry her. Enlil then took over, and had a son by her—Ninurta. Though born without wedlock, the succession rules made Ninurta Enlil’s uncontested heir, being both his Firstborn son and one born by a royal half-sister.
Ea, as related in The Earth Chronicles books, was the leader of the first group of fifty Anunnaki to come to Earth to obtain the gold needed to protect Nibiru’s dwindling atmosphere. When the initial plans failed, his half-brother Enlil was sent to Earth with more Anunnaki for an expanded Mission Earth. If that was not enough to create a hostile atmosphere, Ninmah too arrived on Earth to serve as chief medical officer . . .
A long text known as the Atrahasis Epic begins the story of gods and men on Earth with a visit by Anu to Earth to settle once and for all (he hoped) the rivalry between his two sons that was ruining the vital mission; he even offered to stay on Earth and let one of the half-brothers assume the regency on Nibiru.
With that in mind, the ancient text tells us, lots were drawn to determine who would stay on Earth and who would sit on Nibiru’s throne:
The gods clasped hands together,
had cast lots and had divided:
Anu went up [back] to heaven,
[For Enlil] the Earth was made subject;
The seas, enclosed as with a loop,
to Enki the prince were given.
The result of drawing lots, then, was that Anu returned to Nibiru as its king.
Ea, given dominion over the seas and waters (in later times, “Poseidon” to the Greeks and “Neptune” to the Romans), was granted the epithet EN.KI (“Lord of Earth”) to soothe his feelings; but it was EN.LIL (“Lord of the Command”) who was put in overall charge: “To him the Earth was made subject.”
Resentful or not, Ea/Enki could not defy the rules of succession or the results of the drawing of lots; and so the resentment, the anger at justice denied, and a consuming determination to avenge injustices to his father and forefathers and thus to himself led Enki’s son Marduk to take up the fight.
Several texts describe how the Anunnaki set up their settlements in the E.DIN (the post-Diluvial Sumer), each with a specific function, and all laid out in accordance with a master plan. The crucial space connection—the ability to constantly stay in communication with the home planet and with the shuttlecraft and spacecraft—was maintained from Enlil’s command post in Nippur, the heart of which was a dimly lit chamber called the DUR.AN.KI, “The Bond Heaven-Earth.”
Another vital facility was a spaceport, located at Sippar (“Bird City”). Nippur lay at the center of concentric circles at which the other “cities of the gods” were located; all together they shaped out, for an arriving spacecraft, a landing corridor whose focal point was the Near East’s most visible topographic feature—the twin peaks of Mount Ararat (Fig. 2).
And then the Deluge “swept over the earth,” obliterated all the cities of the gods with their Mission Control Center and Spaceport, and buried the Edin under millions of tons of mud and silt. Everything had to be done all over again—but much could no longer be the same.
First and foremost, it was necessary to create a new spaceport facility, with a new Mission Control Center and new Beacon-sites for a Landing Corridor.
- The new landing path was anchored again on the prominent twin peaks of Ararat
- The other components were all new: the actual spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula, on the 30th parallel north
- Artificial twin peaks as beacon sites, the Giza pyramids
- A new Mission Control Center at a place called Jerusalem (Fig. 3). It was a layout that played a crucial role in post-Diluvial events.
The Deluge was a watershed (both literally and figuratively) in the affairs of both gods and men, and in the relationship between the two: the Earthlings, who were fashioned to serve and work for the gods were henceforth treated as junior partners on a devastated planet.
The new relationship between men and gods was formulated, sanctified, and codified when Mankind was granted its first high civilization, in Mesopotamia, circa 3800 B.C.E.
The momentous event followed a state visit to Earth by Anu, not just as Nibiru’s ruler but also as the head of the pantheon, on Earth, of the ancient gods.
Another (and probably the main) reason for his visit was the establishment and affirmation of peace among the gods themselves—a live-and-let-live arrangement dividing the lands of the Old World among the two principal Anunnaki clans, that of Enlil and that of Enki— for the new post-Diluvial circumstances and the new location of the space facilities required a new territorial division among the gods.
It was a division that was reflected in the biblical Table of Nations (Genesis, chapter 10), in which the spread of Mankind, emanating from the three sons of Noah, was recorded by nationality and geography:
- Asia to the nations/lands of Shem
- Europe to the descendants of Japhet
- Africa to the nation/lands of Ham
The historical records show that the parallel division among the gods allotted the first two to the Enlilites, the third one to Enki and his sons. The connecting Sinai peninsula, where the vital post-Diluvial spaceport was located, was set aside as a neutral Sacred Region.
While the Bible simply listed the lands and nations according to their Noahite division, the earlier Sumerian texts recorded the fact that the division was a deliberate act, the result of deliberations by the leadership of the Anunnaki. A text known as the Epic of Etana tells us that,
The great Anunnaki who decree the fates
sat exchanging their counsels regarding the Earth.
They created the four regions,
set up the settlements.
In the First Region, the lands between the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris (Mesopotamia), Man’s first known high civilization, that of Sumer, was established. Where the prediluvial cities of the gods had been, Cities of Man arose, each with its sacred precinct where a deity resided in his or her ziggurat—Enlil in Nippur, Ninmah in Shuruppak, Ninurta in Lagash, Nannar/Sin in Ur, Inanna/Ishtar in Uruk, Utu/Shamash in Sippar, and so on. In each such urban center an EN.SI, a “Righteous Shepherd”—initially a chosen demigod—was selected to govern the people in behalf of the gods; his main assignment was to promulgate codes of justice and morality. In the sacred precinct, a priesthood overseen by a high priest served the god and his spouse, supervised the holiday celebrations, and handled the rites of offerings, sacrifices, and prayers to the gods. Art and sculpture, music and dance, poetry and hymns, and above all writing and record keeping flourished in the temples and extended to the royal palace.
From time to time one of those cities was selected to serve as the land’s capital; there the ruler was king, LU.GAL (“Great man”). Initially and for a long time thereafter this person, the most powerful man in the land, served as both king and high priest. He was carefully chosen, for his role and authority, and all the physical symbols of Kingship, were deemed to have come to Earth directly from Heaven, from Anu on Nibiru. A Sumerian text dealing with the subject stated that before the symbols of Kingship (tiara/crown and scepter) and of Righteousness (the shepherd’s staff ) were granted to an earthly king, they “lay deposited before Anu in heaven.” Indeed, the Sumerian word for Kingship was Anuship.
This aspect of “Kingship” as the essence of civilization, just behavior and a moral code for Mankind, was explicitly expressed in the statement, in the Sumerian King List, that after the Deluge “Kingship was brought down from Heaven.” It is a profound statement that must be borne in mind as we progress in this book to the messianic expectations—in the words of the New Testament, for the Return of the “Kingship of Heaven” to Earth.
Circa 3100 B.C.E. a similar yet not identical civilization was established in the Second Region in Africa, that of the river Nile (Nubia and Egypt). Its history was not as harmonious as that among the Enlilites, for rivalry and contention continued among Enki’s six sons, to whom not cities but whole land domains were allocated. Paramount was an ongoing conflict between Enki’s firstborn Marduk (Ra in Egypt) and Ningishzidda (Thoth in Egypt), a conflict that led to the exile of Thoth and a band of African followers to the New World (where he became known as Quetzalcóatl, the Winged Serpent). Marduk/Ra himself was punished and exiled when, opposing the marriage of his young brother Dumuzi to Enlil’s granddaughter Inanna/Ishtar, he caused his brother’s death. It was as compensation to Inanna/Ishtar that she was granted dominion over the Third Region of civilization, that of the Indus Valley, circa 2900 B.C.E. It was for good reason that the three civilizations—as was the spaceport in the sacred region—were all centered on the 30th parallel north (Fig. 4).
According to Sumerian texts, the Anunnaki established Kingship—civilization and its institutions, as most clearly exemplified in Mesopotamia—as a new order in their relationships with Mankind, with kings/priests serving both as a link and a separator between Gods and men.
But as one looks back on that seemingly “golden age” in the affairs of gods and men, it becomes evident that the affairs of the gods constantly dominated and determined the affairs of Men and the fate of Mankind. Overshadowing all was the determination of Marduk/Ra to undo the injustice done to his father Ea/ Enki, when under the succession rules of the Anunnaki not Enki but Enlil was declared the Legal Heir of their father Anu, the ruler on their home planet Nibiru.
In accord with the sexagesimal (“base sixty”) mathematical system that the gods granted the Sumerians, the twelve great gods of the Sumerian pantheon were given numerical ranks in which Anu held the supreme Rank of Sixty; the Rank of Fifty was granted to Enlil; that of Enki was forty, and so farther down, alternating between male and female deities (Fig. 5).
Under the succession rules, Enlil’s son Ninurta was in line for the rank of fifty on Earth, while Marduk held a nominal rank of ten; and initially, these two successors-in-waiting were not yet part of the twelve “Olympians.”
And so the long, bitter, and relentless struggle by Marduk that began with the Enlil–Enki feud focused later on Marduk’s contention with Enlil’s son Ninurta for the succession to the Rank of Fifty, and then extended to Enlil’s granddaughter Inanna/Ishtar, whose marriage to Dumuzi, Enki’s youngest son, was so opposed by Marduk that it ended with Dumuzi’s death.
In time Marduk/Ra faced conflicts even with other brothers and half-brothers of his, in addition to the conflict with Thoth that we have already mentioned—principally with Enki’s son Nergal, who married a granddaughter of Enlil named Ereshkigal.
In the course of these struggles, the conflicts at times flared up to full-fledged wars between the two divine clans; some of those wars are called “The Pyramid Wars” in my book The Wars of Gods and Men. In one notable instance the fighting led to the burying alive of Marduk inside the Great Pyramid; in another, it led to its capture by Ninurta. Marduk was also exiled more than once—both as punishment and as a self-imposed absence. His persistent efforts to attain the status to which he believed he was entitled included the event recorded in the Bible as the Tower of Babel incident; but in the end, after numerous frustrations, success came only when Earth and Heaven were aligned with the Messianic Clock.
Indeed, the first cataclysmic set of events, in the twenty-first century B.C.E., and the Messianic expectations that accompanied it, is principally the story of Marduk; it also brought to center stage his son Nabu—a deity, the son of a god, but whose mother was an Earthling.
Throughout the history of Sumer that spanned almost two thousand years, its royal capital shifted—from the first one, Kish (Ninurta’s first city), to Uruk (the city that Anu granted to Inanna/Ishtar) to Ur (Sin’s seat and center of worship); then to others and then back to the initial ones; and finally, for the third time, back to Ur. But at all times Enlil’s city Nippur, his “cult center,” as scholars are wont to call it, remained the religious center of Sumer and the Sumerian people; it was there that the annual cycle of worshipping the gods was determined.
The twelve “Olympians” of the Sumerian pantheon, each with his or her celestial counterpart among the twelve members of the Solar System (Sun, Moon, and ten planets, including Nibiru), were also honored with one month each in the annual cycle of a twelve-month year. The Sumerian term for “month,” EZEN, actually meant holiday, festival; and each such month was devoted to celebrating the worship-festival of one of the twelve supreme gods. It was the need to determine the exact time when each such month began and ended (and not in order to enable peasants to know when to sow or harvest, as schoolbooks explain) that led to the introduction of Mankind’s first calendar in 3760 B.C.E. It is known as the Calendar of Nippur because it was the task of its priests to determine the calendar’s intricate timetable and to announce, for the whole land, the time of the religious festivals. That calendar is still in use to this day as the Jewish religious calendar, which, in a.d. 2007, numbers the year as 5767.
In pre-Diluvial times Nippur served as Mission Control Center, Enlil’s command post where he set up the DUR.AN. KI, the “Bond Heaven-Earth” for the communications with the home planet Nibiru and with the spacecraft connecting them. (After the Deluge, these functions were relocated to a place later known as Jerusalem.) Its central position, equidistant from the other functional centers in the E.DIN (see Fig. 2), was also deemed to be equidistant from the “four corners of the Earth” and gave it the nickname “Navel of the Earth.” A hymn to Enlil referred to Nippur and its functions thus:
When you marked off divine settlements on Earth,
Nippur you set up as your very own city . . .
You founded the Dur-An-Ki
In the center of the four corners of the Earth.
(The term “the Four Corners of the Earth” is also found in the Bible; and when Jerusalem replaced Nippur as Mission Control Center after the Deluge, it too was nicknamed the Navel of the Earth.)
In Sumerian the term for the four regions of the Earth was UB, but it also is found as AN.UB—the heavenly, the celestial four “corners”—in this case an astronomical term connected with the calendar. It is taken to refer to the four points in the Earth-Sun annual cycle that we nowadays call the Summer Solstice, the Winter Solstice, and the two crossings of the equator—once as the Spring Equinox and then as the Autumnal Equinox. In the Calendar of Nippur, the year began on the day of the Spring Equinox and it has so remained in the ensuing calendars of the ancient Near East. That determined the time of the most important festival of the year—the New Year festival, an event that lasted ten days, during which detailed and canonized rituals had to be followed.
Determining calendrical time by Heliacal Rising entailed the observation of the skies at dawn, when the sun just begins to rise on the eastern horizon but the skies are still dark enough to show the stars in the background. The day of the equinox having been determined by the fact that on it daylight and nighttime were precisely equal, the position of the sun at heliacal rising was then marked by the erection of a stone pillar to guide future observations—a procedure that was followed, for example, later on at Stonehenge in Britain; and, as at Stonehenge, long-term observations revealed that the group of stars (“constellation”) in the background has not remained the same (Fig. 6); there, the alignment stone called the “Heel Stone” that points to sunrise on solstice day nowadays, pointed originally to sunrise circa 2000 B.C.E.
The phenomenon, called Precession of the Equinoxes or just Precession, results from the fact that as the Earth completes one annual orbit around the Sun, it does not return to the same exact celestial spot. There is a slight, very slight retardation; it amounts to one degree (out of 360 in the circle) in 72 years. It was Enki who first grouped the stars observable from Earth into “constellations,” and divided the heavens in which the Earth circled the sun into twelve parts—what has since been called the Zodiacal Circle of constellations (Fig. 7). Since each twelfth part of the circle occupied 30 degrees of the celestial arc, the retardation or Precessional shift from one Zodiacal House to another lasted (mathematically) 2,160 years (72 × 30), and a complete zodiacal cycle lasted 25,920 years (2,160 × 12). The approximate dates of the Zodiacal Ages—following the equal twelve-part division and not actual astronomical observations—have been added here for the reader’s guidance.
That this was the achievement from a time preceding Mankind’s civilizations is attested to by the fact that a zodiacal calendar was applied to Enki’s first stays on Earth (when the first two zodiacal houses were named in his honor); That this was not the achievement of a Greek astronomer (Hipparchus) in the third century B.C.E. (as most textbooks still suggest), is attested by the fact that the twelve zodiacal houses were known to the Sumerians millennia earlier by names (Fig. 8) and depictions (Fig. 9) that we use to this day.
In When Time Began the calendrical timetables of gods and men were discussed at length. Having come from Nibiru, whose orbital period, the SAR, meant 3,600 (Earth-) years, that unit was naturally the first calendrical yardstick of the Anunnaki even on the fast-orbiting Earth. Indeed, the texts dealing with their early days on Earth, such as the Sumerian King Lists, designated the periods of this or that leader’s time on Earth in terms of Sars. I termed this Divine Time. The calendar granted to Mankind, one based on the orbital aspects of the Earth (and its Moon), was named Earthly Time. Pointing out that the 2,160-year zodiacal shift (less than a year for the Anunnaki) offered them a better ratio—the “golden ratio” of 10:6—between the two extremes; I called this Celestial Time.
As Marduk discovered, that Celestial Time was the “clock” by which his destiny was to be determined.
- But which was Mankind’s Messianic Clock, determining its fate and destiny—Earthly Time, such as the count of fifty-year Jubilees, a count in centuries, or the Millennium?
- Was it Divine Time, geared to Nibiru’s orbit?
- Or was it—is it— Celestial Time that follows the slow rotation of the zodiacal clock?
The quandary, as we shall see, baffled mankind in antiquity; it still lies at the core of the current Return issue. The question that is posed has been asked before—by Babylonian and Assyrian stargazing priests, by biblical Prophets, in the Book of Daniel, in the Revelation of St. John the Divine, by the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, by all of us today.
The answer will be astounding. Let us embark on the painstaking quest.