Chapter 12: The Greatest Theophany

Mr. Sitchin introduces this Chapter by bringing to mind the science fiction film “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (1952),

“…in which the memorable Michael Rennie was the Extraterrestrial who stepped out in Washington, D.C. and spoke his reassuring words in English…

“In truth the above scenario need not to be the summary of a science fiction movie… in essence if not in detail – has really happened. Not in modern times but in antiquity; not in the United States but in the ancient Near East; and in the actual sequence, the Earth stood still some time after rather than before the spacecraft appeared.

“It was indeed the greatest Divine Encounter in human memory – the greatest Theophany on record, witnessed by no less than a multitude of 600,000 people.

“The site of the Theophany was Mount Sinai, the “Mountain of the Elohim” in the Sinai peninsula; the occasion was the granting of the Laws of the Covenant to the Children of Israel, the high point of an eventful and miracle-filled Exodus from Egypt.

Mr. Sitchin reminds the reader of the chain of events that culminated in the Exodus…; “it was a path whose milestones were Divine Encounters.”

[These events all appear in his previous books 1 to 7]

“…Jacob was 130 years old when the Children of Israel began their sojourn in Egypt; as prophesied, it ended in bondage four hundred years later. It is with the death and burial of Jacob, and the subsequent death and mummification of Joseph, that the Book of Genesis ends.

“The Book of Exodus picks up the story centuries later, “when there arose a new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph…”

“…Almost four hundred years had passed since the Lord had spoken to Jacob “in a nighttime vision,” until he has now come to take a look at the Children of Jacob/Israel crying out of their bondage. That the Elohim intended here was Yahweh becomes clear in the subsequent narrative. Where was he during those long four centuries? The Bible does not say; but it is a question to be pondered.

“Be that as it may, the time was propitious for drastic action. As the biblical narrative makes clear, this change of new developments was triggered by the death of the Pharaoh “after a long time” of reign. Egyptian records show that Thothmes III, who had ordered that Moses be put to death, died in 1450 B.C. His successor on the throne, Amenhotep II, was a weak ruler who had trouble to keep Egypt united; and with his ascension, the death sentence against Moses expired.

Mr. Sitchin brings to mind the ten plagues which affected the Egyptians, and that were the result for not “letting my people go,” leading to the real departure and the crossing of the waters…

“…the Children of Israel were free at last, free to proceed through the desert and its hardships to the edge of the Sinai peninsula – all the while led by the Divine Pillar that was a
dark cloud during the day and a fiery beacon at night. Water and food shortages, miraculously averted, and a war with an unexpected
Amalekite enemy, still were in store for them. Finally “in the third month,” they arrived in the Wilderness of Sinai ” and encamped opposite the Mount.”

“They had arrived at their predetermined destination: the “Mountain of the Elohim.” The greatest Theophany ever was about to begin.

“…Earlier when Moses had given his embassy at this very same mount, Yahweh stated his intention to “adopt the children of Israel as his people…” With the Covenant came commandments and laws and restrictions; they were the price to be paid for qualifying for the Theophany…

“…”Yahweh said unto Moses: Behold, I shall be coming unto thee in a thick cloud, enabling the people to hear when I speak with thee, so that in thee too they shall have faith…” on the third day shall Yahweh come down upon Mount Sinai, in full sight of all the people.”

“The landing, Yahweh indicated to Moses, would create a danger for anyone coming too near. “Thou shall set bounds at a distance, telling them to dare not to try to go up or even touch the Mount’s edge, “for whoever toucheth it shall surely be put to death…”

“…”it was on the third day, when it was morning,” that the promised Landing of Yahweh upon the Mount of Elohim began. It was a fiery descent and a noisy one: “There were thundering sounds and flashes of lightning, and a dense cloud [was] upon the Mount, and the Shofar sound, exceedingly strong; and all the people in the encampment were terrified.”

“As the descent of the Lord Yahweh began, “Moses brought forth the people from the encampment toward the Elohim, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the Mount,” at the boundary that Moses had marked out all around the Mount.

And Mount Sinai was completely engulfed by smoke,
for Yahweh had descended upon it in a fire.
And the smoke thereof rose up like that of a furnace,
and the whole Mount quaked greatly.
And the sound of the Shofar continued to wax louder;
As Moses spoke, the Elohim answered him in a loud voice.


“(The term Shofar associated in this text with the sounds emanating from the Mount is usually translated “horn.” Literally, however, it means “Amplifier” – a device, we believe, that was to enable all the Israelite multitude, standing at the foot of the mountain, to hear Yahweh’s voice and his talk with Moses).

“Thus did Yahweh, in full view of all the people, all 600,000 of them – descend upon Mount Sinai… and Yahweh called Moses up to the top of the Mount…

“…It was then, from atop the mount, from within the thick cloud, that “Elohim spoke… pronouncing the Ten Commandments…

“…The first three Commandments established monotheism, proclaimed Yahweh as the Elohim of Israel, the sole God, and prohibited the making of idols and their worship…

“…Next came a Commandment intended to express the sanctity of the People of Israel and their subjection to a higher standard of life, by setting aside one day a week to be the Sabbath – a day devoted to contemplation and rest, applying equally to all people, to humans as well as to their livestock…

“…The fifth affirmative Commandment established the family as the human unit, headed by the patriarch and the matriarch…

“…And then came the five No’s that established the moral and social code between Man and Man rather than as at the beginning, between Man and God.

Mr. Sitchin continues relating the episode of the writing of the Law on the Tablets of the Covenant. He then continues,

“…The granting of the Tablets was an event of lasting significance, embedded in the memory of the Children of Israel and therefore requiring witnesses of the highest standing… Aaron and Aaron’s two priestly sons and seventy of the tribal elders. They were not allowed to come all the way (only Moses could do that), but close enough “to see the Elohim of Israel.” Even then all they could see was the space under the Lord’s feet, “made as of pure sapphire, like the colours of skies in clearness…” They were no struck down, and lived to celebrate the Divine Encounter and witness Moses going up to receive the Tablets…

“…the long time Moses stayed atop the Mount was used to instruct him in the construction of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan (“Residence”) in which Yahweh would make his presence known to the Children of Israel… in addition to the architectural details that were given orally, Yahweh also showed Moses “the structural model of all of the instruments thereof.” These included the Ark of the Covenant, the wooden chest inlaid with gold, in which the two Tablets were to be kept, and on top of which the two Cherubim were to be emplaced; that, the Lord explained, would be the Dvir – literally, the Speaker – “where I will keep the appointments with thee, speaking to thee from between the two Cherubim.”

“…Moses was instructed about the priesthood, naming the only ones who could approach the Lord (besides Moses) and officiate in the Tabernacle Aaron, the brother of Moses and the four sons of Aaron. Their vestments were elaborately prescribed… including the Breastplate of Judgment… it was also to hold in place – precisely against the priest’s heart – the Urim and Tumim. Though the exact meaning of the terms has eluded scholars, it is clear from other biblical references (e.g. Numbers 27:21) that they served as an oracular panel for obtaining a Yes or No answer from the Lord in response to a question. The inquiring person’s question was put before the Lord by the priest, “to ask for the Decision of the Urim before Yahweh, and in accordance thereof to act.” When King Saul (I Samuel 28:6) sought Yahweh’s guidance whether to engage in war with the Philistines, he “inquired of Yahweh in dreams, by the Urim, and through prophets.”

“…Back in the encampment his long absence was interpreted as bad news, and his failure to show up after several weeks as an indication that he might have perished by seeing God; “for is there any flesh” – any mortal human – “who hath heard the voice of a living Elohim speaking from inside the fire, and stayed alive?”

“… Alerted by Yahweh, “Moses turned and went down from the Mount, with the two Tablets of the Testimony in his hand.” And when he neared the camp and saw the golden calf, Moses was furious, “and he threw the tablets out of his hand, and broke them at the foot of the Mount; and he took the calf which they had made and burnt it in fire, and [its gold] he ground it into a powder, and strewed the dust upon the waters… Moses beseeched the Lord not to abandon the Children of Israel…

“…”And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned.” Moses himself discouraged and despairing, picked his tent and pitched it outside the encampment, far off from the camp,

And it came to pass,
when Moses was entering the tent,
that the pillared cloud descended,
and stood at the entrance of the tent,
and a voice spoke to Moses.

And when the people, all of them,
saw the pillar of cloud standing
at the entrance to the tent,
the whole people rose up and prostrated
themselves, each at his tent’s entrance.

And Yahweh spoke unto Moses face to face,
as a man would speak unto his friend.


“When the Lord spoke to Moses from inside the Burning bush, “Moses covered his face, for he was afraid to look at the Elohim… At the end of the forty years of wandering, as the Israelites were ready to enter Canaan, Moses in his testamental review of the Exodus and the great Theophany made a point of stressing that “on the day Yahweh hath spoken unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire, ye saw no visage of any kind.”

“…But now that the relenting God was talking to Moses “face to face” – but still from within the cloud-pillar – Moses seized a moment to seek a reaffirmation of his role as the leader chosen by the Lord.

“Answering enigmatically, Yahweh said: “Thou canst not see my face, for no Man can see Me and live.”

“So Moses pleaded again: “Please show me thy glory!”

“And Yahweh said: “Behold, there is a place by me; go and stand there upon the rock. And when my glory shall pass by there, I will put thee in the cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand until I have passed by; and I will then remove my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

“The Hebrew name that has been rendered “glory” in English translations, in all the above quoted instances (previous page on this site), is Kabod; it stems from the root KBD whose seminal meaning is “weighty, heavy.” Literally then, Kabod would mean “the heaviness, the weighty thing.” That a “thing,” a physical object and not an abstract “glory” is meant when applied to Yahweh is clear from its first mention in the Bible, when the Israelites “beheld the Kabod of Yahweh,” enveloped by the ubiquitous cloud…

“…Indicating a manifestation of Yahweh, the term Kabod is so used in all five books of the Pentateuch… In all instances, called the “Kabod of Yahweh,” it was something concrete that the people could see – but always engulfed by a cloud, as though within a dark fog.

“The term is repeatedly employed by the Prophet Ezequiel in his descriptions of the Divine Chariot…

“…The Kabod, Ezequiel wrote (10:4) had a luminosity that shone through the cloud that shrouded it, a kind of a radiance. This detail provides an insight into a facet of a Close Encounter by Moses with the Lord Yahweh and his Kabod…

When Moses spent forty days and forty nights at the Mount, with Yahweh,

And it came to pass,
when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai
and the two Tablets of the Testimony in his hand
– as Moses was coming down from the mount –
he knew not that the skin of his face radiated
when He was speaking to him.

And Aaron and all of the Children of Israel,
seeing Moses, saw that the skin of his face radiated,
and they were afraid to come nigh unto him.


“…It is evident from this that Moses, when he had been in the proximity of the Kabod, was subjected to some kind of radiation that affected his skin. What exactly the source material of that radiation was we do not know, but we do know that the Anunnaki could (and did) employ radiation for a variety of purposes…

“…And we have read in the Tale of Zu what had happened when he removed the Tablet of Destinies from the Mission Control Center in Nippur: “Stillness spread all over, silence prevailed; the sanctuary’s brilliance was taken away.”

“A physical object, one that can move about, station itself upon a mountain, rise and take off, shrouded in a cloud of dark fog, radiating brilliance – this is how the Bible describes the Kabod – literally, “The Heavy Object” – in which Yahweh moved about. It all describes what we nowadays call, out of ignorance or disbelief, a UFO – an Unidentified Flying Object.

“In this regard it will be helpful to trace the Akkadian and Sumerian roots from which the Hebrew term had derived. While the Akkadian Kabbuttu meant “heavy, weighty,” the similar-sounding Kabdu (paralleling the Hebrew Kabod) meant “Wing-holder” – something to which wings are attached, or perhaps into which wings can retract. And the Sumerian term KI.BAD.DU meant “to soar to a faraway place…”

“We can only speculate whether the Kabod looked like the winged “Divine Black Bird” of Ninurta, the wingless (or with wings retracted) bulbous vehicles depicted in the murals of Tell Ghassul – or as the rocketlike object that Gilgamesh had seen rise from the Landing Place in Lebanon…

“Might it have resembled an American shuttlecraft. We wonder, because of the similarity to it of a small figurine, discovered a few years ago at a site in Turkey (the ancient Tuspa). Made of clay, it shows a flying machine that combines features of a modern shuttlecraft (including the engine exhausts) with the cockpit of a single-seater plane (designs of all these appear on Mr. Sitchin’s book). The partly damaged image of the “pilot” seated on the cockpit, as well as the totality of the artform bring to our mind Mesoamerican depictions of bearded gods accompanied by rocketlike objects. The Archaeological Museum in Istambul, which has been keeping this figurine, has not put it on display; the official excuse is that its “authenticity” has not been established. If it is authentic, it will serve not only to illustrate ancient “UFOs” but also to add light on the links between the ancient Near East and the Americas.

Image: Tuspa, the capital of the Urartu in ancient times, Tuspa is a hilltop stronghold near present-day Van, on the shore of Lake Van, Turkey

Tuspa, the capital of the Urartu in ancient times, Tuspa is a hilltop stronghold near present-day Van, on the shore of Lake Van, Turkey

Mr. Sitchin continues from here relating the story of Joshua, from the Book of Joshua chapter 10, “the Sun and the Moon stood still for a day…"

And the Sun stood still and the Moon stayed,
until the people had avenged themselves of the enemies.
Indeed it is all written in the Book of Jashar:
The Sun stood still in the midst of the skies
and it hastened not to go down,
about a whole day.


“…Both Sumerian and Old Babylonian texts speak of celestial upheavals that were observed in the skies and that called for incantations against the celestial “demons.” Treated as “magical texts” (e.g. Charles Fossey, Textes Magique; Morris Jastrow, Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens; and Eric Ebeling, Tod und Leben) such texts described an “evil seven, born in the vast skies, unknown in heaven, unknown on Earth” who “attacked Sin and Shamash” – the Moon and the Sun, upsetting at the same time Ishtar (Venus) and Adad (Mercury). Prior to 1994 the possibilities that seven comets would “attack” our celestial region all at once was so remote that the text seemed more a fantasy than a reality witnessed by Mesopotamian astronomers. But when, in July 1994, comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke up into twenty-one pieces that impacted Jupiter in quick succession – in full view from observers from Earth – the Mesopotamian texts assume an impressive reality.

“…Or, as Alfred Jeremias (The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient Near East)… treated it as possibly an unusual alignment of seven planets that, with the resulting immense gravitational pull, affected the sun and Moon from the perspective of Earth – making the Sun and Moon appear to stand still because in reality it was the Earth whose rotation was temporarily halted.

“Whatever the explanation, there is corroboration for the occurrence itself from the other side of the world. In both Mesoamerica and South America, “legends” – collective memories – have persisted of a long night of about twenty hours during which the Sun failed to rise. Our investigations (fully reported in The Lost Realms) concluded that this long night occurred in the Americas circa 1400 B.C. the same time when the Sun did not set in Canaan for a similar period…

“…The Mesoamerican and South American recollections thus validate the tale of the Day the Earth Stood Still – not the movie script, but the olden biblical tale

Continue to Chapter 13: Prophets of an Unseen God