Chapter 11: Angels and other Emissaries

“A nighttime vision, a UFO sighting, and the appearance of angels come together in one of the most intriguing dream reports in the Bible, known as Jacob’s Dream. It was a most significant Divine Encounter, for in it Yahweh himself vowed to protect Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, to bless him and his seed, and to give the Promised Land to him and his descendants forever.

“…In this Divine Encounter, in a nighttime vision, Jacob saw what, without doubt, we would nowadays call a UFO; except that to him it was not an Unidentified Flying Object: he well realized that its occupants or operators were divine beings, “angels of Elohim,” and their Lord or commander none other than Yahweh himself, “standing upon it.” What he had witnessed left no doubt in his mind that the place was a “Gate-way to Heaven” – a place from which the Elohim could rise skyward…

“…The commander identified himself to Jacob as “Yahweh, the Elohim” – the DIN.GIR – “of Abraham thy forefather and the Elohim of Isaac.” The operators of the “ladder” are identified as “Angels of Elohim” not simply as angels; and Jacob, realizing that he had unknowingly stumbled upon a site used by these divine aeronauts, named the place Beth-El (“The House of El”), El being the singular of Elohim.

“…The Hebrew term Mal’akhim does not mean “angels” at all, it literary means “emissaries”; and the term is employed in the Bible for regular, flesh-and-blood human emissaries who carried royal rather than divine messages…

“…The story of Jacob is dotted with oracle dreams and angelic encounters…

You may find these stories in the Bible, Book of Genesis chapter 32.

“…The first reference in the Bible to an Angel of the Lord, in chapter 16 of Genesis, relates an event in the time of Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. Abraham and his wife Sarah were getting old – he in his mid-eighties, she ten years younger; and still they had no offspring. Abraham had just fulfilled the mission for which he had been ordered to Canaan – to ward off attacks on the Spaceport in the Sinai: The War of the Kings (described in chapter 14 of Genesis)…

“…The scene is replete with mystery. These strangers appear to Abraham suddenly, seen by him as he lifts his eyes skyward. He sees them standing “above him.” Though unidentified at this point, he quickly recognizes their extraordinary – divine? – nature. Somehow one of them is distinguished, and Abraham addresses him, calling him “My Lord…”

“…As the tale continues, we read that “the person rose up from there to survey over upon Sodom, and Abraham went with them to see them off.”

Besides the fact that this Encounter, with Yahweh himself, accounts for the promise of an heir through Sarah, it also accounts for the revelation to Abraham by Yahweh himself for the reason of the visit, it was to be the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, which the two “angels” had gone to survey…

“…The popular notion of angels, an image sustained and bolstered by centuries of religious art, is that of fully anthropomorphic, humanlike beings who, unlike people, are equipped with wings. Indeed, were they to be stripped of their wings, they would be indistinguishable from humans. Brought over to Western iconography by early Christianity, the undoubted origin of such a representation of angels was the ancient Near East. We find them in Sumerian art – the winged emissary who led Enkidu away, the guardians with the deadly beams. We find them in the religious art of Assyria and Egypt, Canaan and Phoenicia. Similar Hittite representations were even duplicated in South America, on the Gate of the Sun in Tiahuanacu (images below) – evidence of Hittite contacts with that distant place.

Gate of the Sun, Tiahuanacu

Gate of the Sun, Tiahuanacu


Gate of the Sun, Tiahuanacu

Gate of the Sun, Tiahuanacu

“Though modern scholars, perhaps wishing to avoid religious connotations, refer to the depicted beings as “protective geniuses,” the ancient people considered them to be a class of lesser gods, a kind of rank-and-file divine being that only carried out orders of the “Great Lords” who were “Gods of Heaven and Earth.”

“Their representation as winged beings was clearly intended to indicate their ability to fly in Earth’s skies; and in that they emulated the gods themselves, and specifically so those who had been depicted as winged deities – Utu/Shamash and his twin sister Inanna/Ishtar. The affinity to the Eaglemen whose commander Utu/Shamash was, is also obvious. In this regard the Lord’s statement (Exodus 19:4) that he would carry the Children of Israel “on the wings of eagles” might have been more than allegorical; it also brings to mind the tale of Etana whom an eagle or Eagleman had carried aloft on the orders of Shamash.

“But as the biblical textual descriptions… such winged assistants were called in the Bible Cherubim rather than Mal’akhim. Cherub (the singular of Cherubim) derives from the Akkadian Karabu “to bless, consecrate.” A Karibu (male) was “a blessed/consecrated one” and a female Kuribi meant a Protective Goddess.

“As such the biblical Cherubim were assigned (Genesis 3:24) to guard the “the way to the Tree of Life…”; to protect with their wings the Ark of the Covenant; and to serve as bearers of the Lord, be it as supporter of the Divine Throne in the Ezequiel vision or by simply carrying Yahweh aloft: “He rode upon a cherub and flew away,” we read in II Samuel 22:11 and Psalms 18:11 (another parallel of the tale of Etana). According to the Bible, then, the winged Cherubim had specific and limited functions; not so the Mal’akhim, the Emissaries who had come and gone on assigned missions and, as plenipotentiary ambassadors, had considerable discretionary powers.

“This is made clear for the events at Sodom… Miraculous deeds performed by Mal’akhim abound in the Bible, the blinding of the unruly crowds at Sodom being just one of them…

“…Equally illustrative are the instances when the Angels appeared without such a distinctive object [sword…] in their hands, for then they had to resort to other magical acts to convince the recipients of the Divine Word that the embassy was authentic…

Like in the case of the Angel who appeared to Samson’s father to be, Mano’ah,

“…When the Angel appeared a second time to make sure the instructions for conceiving and for raising the boy were being followed, Mano’ah sought to verify the speaker’s identity, for he looked like a “man”. So he asked the Emissary, “What is thy name?”

“Instead of revealing his identity, the “angel did a wonder.”

…So Manoah took the kid of sacrifice
and placed it on the rock
as an offering to Yahweh

And the Angel did a wonder,
as Manoah and his wife looked on:
As the flame rose up from the altar,
the angel of Yahweh ascended skyward
within the flame.
And Manoah and his wife were witnessing this
and they fell on their faces to the ground…

 

“…A more renowned instance of using fire magically in order to convince the observer that he is indeed being given a divine message is the incident of the Burning Bush. It was when Yahweh had chosen Moses, a Hebrew raised as an Egyptian prince, to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Having escaped the wrath of the Pharaoh to the Wilderness of Sinai, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, “and he came to the mountain of the Elohim in Horeb…”

“Such miracles were not needed for identifying the speaker as a divine being, as we have recounted, when the speaker was holding the bent weapon or magical wand.

“Ancient depictions suggest that there was probably, at least in some instances, another distinctive feature by which the “persons” or “men” were recognized as Divine Emissaries: the special “goggles” that they wore, usually as part of their headgear. In this regard the Hittite pictograph that expressed the term “divine” is instructive, for it represents the “Eye” symbols that proliferated in the upper Euphrates region as idols placed atop altars or pedestals. The latter were clearly emulating depictions of deities whose outstanding feature (beside their divine helmet) were the goggled eyes…

“…Mesopotamian kings asserted from time to time that their patron deity provided them with divine weapons to assure a victory; it was thus even more plausible that the gods would provide weapons or magical wands to their own emissaries, the Angels.

“Indeed, the very notion of Divine Emissaries can be traced back to the gods of Sumer, the Anunnaki, when they employed emissaries in their dealings with one another rather than with Earthlings.

After several other examples of personal emissaries of the “gods,” Mr. Sitchin mentions,

“…Ashurbanipal, in his annals, asserted that it was “Nusku [Enlil’s emissary] the faithful emissary,” who conveyed the divine decision to make him king of Assyria; then on the god’s command, Nusku accompanied Ashurbanipal on a military campaign to assure victory. Nusku, Ashurbanipal wrote, “took the lead of my army and threw down my foes with the divine weapon.”

“…Isimud/Usmu [Enki’s chief emissary] was sometimes referred to in the texts as “two faced.” This curious description, it turns out, was a factual one, for in both statues and on cylinder seals he was indeed shown with two faces. Was he deformed at birth, a genetic aberration, or was there some profound reason for depicting him so? While no one seems to know, it occurs to us that this two-facedness might have reflected this emissary’s celestial association.

“There was something unusual also about the Sukkal of Inanna/Ishtar, whose name was Ninshubur. The enigma was that Ninshubur sometimes appeared to be masculine, at which time the scholars translate his title as “chamberlain, vizier”; and at other times Ninshubur appears to be feminine, at which times she is called “chambermaid.” The question is, was Ninshubur bisexual or asexual? An androgynous, a eunuch, or what?

“…The enigmatic bisexuality, or asexuality of Ninshubur is reflected by his/her contesting with other beings – mostly but not only the creations of Enki – that seem to be neither male nor female as well as neither divine nor human, a kind of android – automatons in human form.

When Inanna/Ishtar, unauthorized, went to visit her older sister Ereshkigal in the Lower World, she was not well received, and she ends by being turned into a corpse, hung from a stake. The existence of these asexual emissaries comes to light then, Mr. Sitchin continues,

“…Ninshubur rushed from god to god to seek help; but no one except Enki could counteract the death-dealing Namtar… an Angel of Death. Unlike the deities or humans, “he has no hands, he has no feet; he drinks no water, eats no food.” So, to save Inanna, Enki contrived to fashion similar androids who could go to the “Land of no Return” and perform their mission safely.

They revived Inanna.

“Commenting on the description of the two emissaries A. Leo Oppenheim (Mesopotamian Mythology) saw the main attributes that qualified them to penetrate the domain of Ereshkigal and save Inanna as having been

  1. that they were neither male nor female
  2. that they were not created in a womb.

 

Moreover, he found a reference to the ability of the gods to create “robots” in the Enuma elish, the Babylonian version of the Creation Epic…

“…In an updated translation of the Sumerian version Diane Wolkstein (Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth) explains the nature of the two emissaries as “creatures neither male nor female.”

A more precise explanation is provided, however, by the Akkadian version, in which Enki/Ea created only one being to save Ishtar. As rendered by E.A. Speiser (Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World) the relevant verses read:

Ea in his wise heart conceived an image
and created Ashushunamir, a eunuch.

 

“…Holding a wand or a weapon, these androids belonged to a class of emissaries called Gallu – usually translated “demons” – whom we have already encountered in the story of the death of Dumuzi, when Marduk had sent “the sheriffs” –  the Gallu – to seize him…

“…although the Gallu had neither the face nor the body of the divine Sukkals that served as emissaries between the gods themselves, they did “hold a staff in their hands, carried a weapon on their loins.” Not flesh and blood, they were described as beings,

“who have no mother, who have no father, neither sister nor brother, nor wife or child, they know not food, know not water. they flutter in the skies over Earth like wardens.”

 

“Have these Androids of ancient lore come back in recent times?

“The question is pertinent because of the way in which the occupants of UFOs have been described by people who claim to have encountered them (or even abducted by them): of undetermined sex, a plastic skin, conical heads, oval eyes – humanlike in shape but definitely nonhuman, behaving like androids…

“…There was yet another class of Divine Emissaries – demonic beings. Some were in the service of Enki, some in the service of Enlil…

Warriors with bodies of cave birds,
a race with raven’s faces.
The great gods created them;
in the plains the gods built them a city.

 

“…With the passage of time, and as the gods themselves became more distant and less visible, the “demons” were held responsible for every malady, mishap, or misfortune. Incantations were composed, prescribed appeals to the gods to call off their evildoers; amulets were made (to be worn or affixed to doorstops) whose “sacred words” could delay the demon depicted on the amulet – a practice that continued well into the latest pre-Christian times and has persisted thereafter.

“On the other hand, in post-biblical times and the Hellenistic Age that followed the conquests of Alexander, Angels as we think of them nowadays came to dominate popular and religious beliefs…


Continue to Chapter 12: The Greatest Theophany