Zechariah 4 – The Candlestick and Two Olive Trees & Lost Cities of Europe: Knossos (3 of 4)

I searched for who invented the toilet and the oldest I found is 1596 A.D. by Sir John Harrington and Thomas Crapper was the first to patent it around 1880.  Yet, not only did they have toilets here, but also in Pompeii and even King David had a toilet.

The most cited seat was found in what is called the House of Ahi’el, on the northeastern slope of the City of David.

It is a typical four-roomed Israelite dwelling from the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, whose name derives from a Hebrew inscription on shard found in the there. The house was large, reflecting the prosperity of the era ahead of the Babylonian destruction in 587-6 BCE, and had an external stone staircase, which led to a second floor.

In a small room, about four and a half feet square, on the ground floor, a limestone toilet seat was discovered embedded in the plaster floor above a plaster-lined cesspit, which reaches eight feet below the floor. The toilet seat was fashioned from a large block of locally available limestone

It’s obvious that errors happen, especially in documents that are written.  So let’s take our attention to the writing of…

Zechariah 4
The Candlestick and Two Olive Trees

1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,

4:1-14 – the fifth vision.  The Jews are encouraged to rebuild the temple of by being reminded of their divine resource.  The light from the candlestick in the tabernacle/temple represents the reflection of God’s glory in the consecration and the holy service of God’s people – made possible only by the power of God’s Spirit.

2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

“Two olive trees” – these stand for the priestly and royal offices and symbolize a continuing supply of oil.  The two olive branches stand for Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel from the royal house of David.

One of the “magazines” or storage rooms at the Palace of Knossos. These pithoi (large jars) were filled with grain, olivesdried fish and other staples. Note the handles on the pithoi, through which ropes were passed so that they could be more easily handled for transportation.

4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?

5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

“Not by might, nor by power’ – Zerubbabel does not possess the royal might and power that David and Solomon had enjoyed.

7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

The Minoans developed their own writing system, known as linear A (as yet only partially deciphered) and Linear B. The Phaistos disc below is of an unknown script similar to Anatolian Heiroglyphs and Linear A, as yet undeciphered.

11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?

12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?

13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

“Two anointed ones” – Zerubbabel from the royal line of David and Joshua the priest.  The oil used in anointing symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The combination of ruler and priest points ultimately to the Messianic King Priest.

Lost Cities of Europe (3 of 4) 

Knossos

Location: Crete, Greece
Date of Construction: c 1900 B.C.
Abandoned: c 1380 B.C.
Built by: Minoans
Key Features: Central Court, Frescoes, Piano Nobile, Royal Apartments, Lustral Basins, Plumbing and Flushing Toilet

Homer’s Odyssey, generally thought to be a chronicle of the heroes of mighty Bronze Age civilizations, describes Crete as:

“a rich and lovely land, densely peopled and boasting ninety cities [including] a great city called Knossos…”

Until 1900, few scholars believed that Crete had indeed hosted a Bronze Age civilization, let alone one of the complexity and sophistication suggested by Homer, but a few years of intensive excavation proved not only that the ancient epic had been right, but that Knossos was the center of perhaps the first civilization in Europe.

Odysseus and the Sirens, Greek Red-Figure Stamnos Vase, c. 480-460 B.C.

Knossos on Crete was the site of the legendary Labyrinth of the Minotaur, constructed by King Minos and penetrated by the hero Theseus with the help of Minos’s daughter Ariadne.

A mound at a site in northern Crete called Kephala was traditionally identified as the site of Knossos and in the late 19th century, with interest in archaeology mounting and Schliemann making the headlines with his ground-breaking discoveries at Troy, attention turned here.

In 1878 the first attempts at systematic excavation were made by a Cretan antiquarian appropriately named Minos Kalokairinos, but his efforts were limited by the Turkish occupation of the island.

Schliemann himself was keen to excavate the site, but it was not until 1900, with the expulsion of the Turks, that British historian Arthur Evans was able to acquire the site and start digging in earnest.

Evans had been inspired by Schliemann’s discovery of Mycenae, which had pushed back the chronology of civilization in Europe by nearly a thousand years.

And had also become intrigued by evidence for another Bronze Age Mediterranean civilization, in the form of clay seals marked with depictions of marine life, which were alien to Mycenae, Egypt or any other known culture, and that seemed to originate from Crete.

Ruins of ancient Gortyna at Crete island in Greece.

In just five years of archaeology, Evans peeled back the layers of the mound at Kephala to reveal a strange and enormous structure, which he immediately identified as the Palace of Minos himself.

Within were vivid frescoes, tablets inscribed with an unidentifiable language in a strange script, sophisticated plumbing, well-crafted artefacts and treasures of gold and silver – all the trappings of a new and previously unknown civilization, whom Evans christened Minoans after the legendary king.

Knossos Through the Ages

Over a century of archaeology at Knossos and other, similar sites around Crete, has revealed much about the history of the Minoans. The first settlements at Knossos date back to at least c 6000 B.C., with urban civilization developing towards the end of the Early Bronze Age.

In the period labelled the Middle Minoan, from about 1900 B.C., Minoan architecture began to take shape and large buildings became a feature of settlements. Eventually these grew to become what are today called palace complexes.

The original “labyrinth” was the home of the fierce monster of Greek mythology, the Minotaur. It was a cave with endless tortuous pathways. Anyone who was foolish enough to venture into it would be lost forever, or until eaten by the Minotaur, whichever came first…usually the latter. From this comes the English word “labyrinthine,” meaning endlessly convoluted and complex (like my prose!). The use of the term in anatomic sense means any coiled and convoluted structure.

The mosaic at left shows the slaying of the Minotaur by Theseus. Theseus was vary clever: he knew he’d have to find his way out of the labyrinth, so as he went deeper in search of the monster he unspooled a thread behind him, and after the deed was accomplished, he simply wound it up and followed it home.

At least four major palace complexes have been found on Crete (together with many more lesser and/or suspected ones), with Knossos being the largest.

Archaeologists use the term “palace complex” because these great structures were obviously much more than simply places of residence for kings or chieftains. They are equipped with extensive storage facilities, workshops, public spaces, cult shrines and ritual spaces, as well as what look like banqueting halls, audience rooms and suites of private chambers.

They dominate the settlements of which they are the foci – the palace at Knossos had around 1,300 rooms, while the city around it was relatively small (although estimates of the population vary from as few as 5,000 to as many as 30,000 or even higher).

And it seems likely that they served a variety of functions: government; religious and ceremonial center; storage and distribution point for food and goods surpluses; industrial and craft workshops and residence for the ruling family/class.

The palaces were the center of Minoan life for 600 years, with Knossos lasting the longest. The Old Palace or First Palatial period, from 1900 B.C., was cut short by a catastrophic earthquake that brought widespread destruction, but the palaces were rebuilt grander than before and Minoan civilization reached its apogee during the Neopalatial period.

But around 1450 B.C. fresh disasters struck – probably more earthquakes, but possibly the eruption of Thera.

In the Post-palatial period most of the palaces except for Knossos were abandoned and the evidence from the types of pottery, writing and other cultural artefacts at the site suggests that it had been taken over by the Mycenaeans, the warlike and aggressive power that had been rising on the Greek mainland.

Perhaps they were responsible for the destruction of the other palaces or perhaps they simply took advantage of a post-cataclysm power vacuum.

Grave Circle A at Mycenae aerial view
Homer described the city as “Mycenae, rich in gold” in the great epic poem The Iliad. Certainly the graves at Mycenae were rich in gold grave goods, such as this mask. The splendor of the graves at Mycenae demonstrate the power and grandeur of the Mycenaean kings of that time.

The amateur archeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, went to Mycenae because it was the legendary home of King Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks who went to Troy to fight the Trojan War. He used the text of Pausanias, the second-century A.D. Roman traveler, as his guide. The site was already well-known, but he was the first to dig systematically at the site. He discovered the deep shaft graves which were cut into the rock of the Mycenae acropolis.

Around 1380 B.C. Knossos was destroyed by fire and abandoned altogether, although what caused the fire is unclear. New settlements sprang up during Classical Greek and Roman times, but in the Middle Ages nearby towns supplanted Knossos and only local traditions connected it to the ancient legends.

Thanks to the work of Evans, the excavated and partially reconstructed site has now become Crete’s major tourist attraction, but his legacy is double-edged.

Although his work captured public imagination and made Minoan studies a major theatre of Mediterranean archaeology, his highly personal and subjective interpretation of the site and his often highly speculative restoration have damaged the archaeological record and confused many historical issues.

The Palace
of Knossos

Roughly in the center of Crete’s northern coast (in the suburbs of the modern Cretan capital Heraklion), Knossos was built on a low ridge overlooked by higher hills, in the center of the broad valley of the River Kairatos, about 5 miles from the sea.

In Minoan times the area would have been less arid, the hills covered in oak and cypress and productive farmland in the valley. Significantly, the site was obviously not chosen for its defensibility and on the whole the Minoans seem to have had little to fear from civil strife or invasion.

Their civilization was stable and peaceful, and through trade and their maritime skill it developed into a mercantile empire that spanned the eastern Mediterranean and forged close links with the Egyptians.

Neopalatial Knossos (i.e. the second palace) was dominated by the palace complex. A small city clustered around the palace, while “mini-palaces,” sometimes called villas, dotted the countryside.

The reconstructed Dolphin Fresco from the Queens Megaron. Recent research suggests that the fresco was originally painted on the floor of the room now known as the Treasury. Themes such as the dolphins show the Minoans ’ close relationship with the sea.

The palace itself was vast. The floor area of one of its levels is around 139,000 square feet. Given that most of the palace consisted of at least two, and sometimes up to five stories, the total floor area must have been at least double this.

In all, there were around 1,300 rooms, with multiple kinked corridors, stairways, anterooms and platforms giving a truly labyrinthine dimension.

All of the Cretan palaces shared the same basic layout and types of feature, but in each case they were arranged in a unique fashion, apparently developing organically with new units added over time.

On the other hand, the way that these additional structures were incorporated seamlessly into the infrastructure of the palace suggests that additions were far from haphazard and must have been planned or allowed for.

The basic arrangement is of four wings in a roughly rectangular arrangement around a central court. The court possibly served as a public area – perhaps similar to a Greek agora or Roman forum – but may also have simply been a device to ensure maximum access to air and light for rooms in the massive complex.

It is clear from the preponderance of features such as light-wells, walls pierced with multiple doorways, multiple windows in upper stories and open colonnades along corridors, that the Minoans were concerned to ensure the best possible ventilation and lighting for as many rooms as possible.

The other possible use of the central court was as the arena for bull-leaping and other ceremonial sports. Decoration and motifs throughout the palace testify to the importance of the bull as a symbol to the Minoans.

The plain chalice is an example of Pyrgos ware, one of the earliest forms of Cretan pottery. Minoan sites are commonly dated by the style of their pottery.

Minoan ceramics became increasingly ornate. After the Thera explosion and tsunami, marine creatures were frequently used to decorate the pottery.

Most famously in the context of frescoes showing “bull- leaping” – where young Minoans (both men and women) apparently faced an on-rushing bull and somersaulted between its horns and over its back before landing on their feet behind it.

Whether what would have been an incredibly difficult and dangerous sport actually took place, or was even possible, is unclear. The pictures may be purely fantastical or symbolic. But if it did really happen, the central court would be the obvious arena.

The different wings or blocks around the court seem to have had separate functions. The lower floor of the west wing was mainly devoted to storerooms, known as magazines. These featured stone-lined pits to hold liquids and many large clay jars to hold other goods.

Above these was what Evans called the piano nobile, by analogy with the palazzi of Renaissance Italy. This was an upper story consisting of “halls of state”, possibly used for audiences, receptions or government business.

Also in the west wing were cult rooms – crypt-like rooms with pillars marked with magical or arcane symbols. In particular the double-headed axe blade symbol beloved of the Minoans, and known as a labrys in Greek, from which the word labyrinth is derived, features. These symbols may have been intended to help appease the Earth gods and ward off earthquakes.

The east wing of the palace contained suites of rooms that were apparently residential quarters, including areas dubbed by Evans the “apartments of King Minos”, a bath-room with a lustral basin (a sunken bath thought to have had ritual/religious significance) and a toilet room, with arguably the world’s earliest flushing toilet.

Highly sophisticated plumbing was a major feature of the palace, with aqueducts bringing water and clay pipes carrying away sewage. These pipes were put together using standardized, mass-produced units that tapered along their length to produce a male-female fit giving a waterproof seal – much like modern plumbing components.

The palace of Knossos, exterior.

Although there were entrances to the palace complex from all sides, the access routes through the surrounding city would have delivered visitors to a ceremonial court in front of the west wing, offering a clear view of the palace.

Here the awestruck visitor would be confronted with the vast scale of the complex, while the irregular, broken elevation and skyline of the palace, and the western facade in particular, may have been deliberately intended to confuse the observer and give the impression of a building almost without limits.

Together with the maze of corridors, rooms, halls and stairs within, it is not difficult to see where the legend of the Labyrinth arose.

Beyond the palace there are several other important buildings. Linked to the main palace by the Royal Road is the Little Palace, which may have been built to house members of the royal family.

To the northwest of the palace are the remains of a shallow stepped bowl, assumed to be a theatre of some sort, possibly for religious ceremonies or bull-leaping. Further to the north, towards the sea, is a building Evans dubbed the “customs house”, because it was on the way in from the harbor.

Also in the town is a two-story building with elaborate plumbing and bathrooms known as the caravanserai, roadside inn) because it was assumed to be a guesthouse.

Minoan Mysteries

The Palace of Knossos seems to encapsulate Minoan civilization. According to archaeologist J. C. McEnroe:

And interior;
The inside of the palaces also had a flushing toilet and a primitive sort of shower.

They were very advanced for the time. The same kind of indoor plumbing was found in Santorini, a Minoan colony. The first Palace was built around 2000 BC and destroyed 300 years later.

“Knossos “is a building that may encompass the breadth and depth of its culture more eloquently than any other single building in the history of European architecture.”

Yet despite the evidence of Knossos and the dozens of other sites on Crete, the Minoan civilization remains hedged with mysteries. What were its roots? To what extent was it homegrown?

How much inspiration did it draw from the cultures of Egypt, Assyria and the Levant? Where did the palace model come from? Did it evolve from the accretion of smaller elements or was it the product of a single genius, like the Egyptian Imhotep who designed the first pyramids?

Was Minoan civilization really a peace-loving, non-militaristic, utopian paradise, as suggested by the general absence of weapons or militaristic art? Or was there a sinister underside of human sacrifice, as suggested by some remains found at Minoan cult sites and by the sinister legend of the Minotaur?

Light might be shed on these issues if Minoan language and writing were not also impenetrable mysteries. Clay tablets found at Knossos are inscribed with a script known as Linear A, which seems to encode a language unrelated to any known language and thus impossible to decipher.

The graceful, free-spirited art of the Minoans marks them out from other ancient cultures and makes them the object of enduring fascination. It is ironic that we may never solve the many mysteries surrounding them.

…Zechariah’s authorship.

Zechariah 3 – Joshua Cleansed and Reclothed & Judaism

I believe there are going to be millions and millions of people that will be surprised when Jesus comes back.  You have made things so simple for us to spend eternity with You, rather than burning in hell with the devil.

All we have to do is accept Jesus for who He truly is and walk His way.  It’s that simple.

All those that believe in Judaism and anything other than Christianity are going to hell.  But many of the Christians are too, like those that live by the Catholic faith or the Conservative Christians.  Jesus was very clear on that:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils?  And in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).

I know the type of people Jesus is talking about right there are those that profit by Your name (Ex 20:7) for their own gain, such as many, many pastors, the Catholic Church, the Mormons and so forth.

I know Your Son doesn’t like those that are lukewarm (Rev 3:16), but He doesn’t accept the wishy-washy either:

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor 10:21).

Tomorrow, if it’s okay with You, I would like to look at another one of those Lost Cities in Europe, let’s look at…

Zechariah 3
Joshua Cleansed and Re-clothed

About 4000 Nuzi tablets in the Hurrian language were discovered by archaeologists in the early part of the twentieth century.

Ancient Nuzi was not an important urban center, but these tablets reveal much about economic and domestic life from a period beginning about 2400 B.C. and continuing several centuries.

It has been pointed out that several events associated with the biblical patriarchs, mentioned in the Book of Genesis, can better be illustrated through an understanding of these documents.

1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

“Joshua” – a variant of Jeshua, here and elsewhere in Zechariah and in Haggai.  In Ezra 2:2 and Neh 7:7 he is referred to as Jeshua.  Here he represents the sinful nation of Israel.  The name “Joshua” and “Jeshua” were common in ancient times.

The Greek equivalent is spelled “Jesus” in English, and all three forms of the name mean “The Lord Saves.”

2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

“Brand pluckt out of the fire” – the Jews were retrieved from the fire of Babylonian exile to carry out God’s future purpose for them.

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

The Mari Tablets belong to a large group of tablets that were discovered by French archaeologists in the 1930s.

More than 25,000 tablets in Akkadian were found in the Mari archives, which give information about the kingdom of Mari, its customs, and the names of people who lived during that time.

More than 8,000 are letters; the remainder includes administrative, economic, and judicial texts.

The tablets, according to André Parrot, “brought about a complete revision of the historical dating of the ancient Near East and provided more than 500 new place names, enough to redraw or even draw up the geographical map of the ancient world.” Almost all of the tablets found were dated to the last 50 years of Mari’s independence (c. 1800 – 1750 B.C.).

“Take away the filthy garments” – thus depriving him of his priestly office.  The act is here symbolic also of the removal of sin.

5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.

“Set a fair mitre upon his head” – or “put a clean turban on his head,” thus reinstating him into his high-priestly function so that Israel once again has a divinely authorized priestly mediator.  On the front of the turban were the words: “HOLINES TO THE LORD” (Ex 28:36, 39:30).

6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,

7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

If Joshua and his priestly associates are faithful they will be co-workers with the angels in the carrying out of God’s purpose for Zion and Israel.

8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.

“Under the vine and under the fig tree” – a proverbial picture of peace, security and contentment.

Judaism

The parent religion of Christianity, Judaism stands in its own right as the world’s oldest Monotheism. Its history stretches from the time when God brought Abraham into a covenant relationship.  Judaism proffers claims of particularity and universality.

Judaism is not the religion the Judaism that Abraham and Moses preached.
The Jews no longer go by the Holy Bible, but by their bible the Tulmud, which defies Jesus Christ.

In a world of paganism, heathenism, and polytheism, God revealed himself as the one true God over against the plethora of competing deities; in this Revelation, he called a particular man, Abram, to father a I particular nation (Israel), which in turn would be given a particular geographical arena (Palestine), which itself would constitute the “Promised Land.”

From this particularity, God revealed a message in history that was destined to become universally applicable to all nations and all peoples. God’s covenant with Abram (Gen 12:1-3) was established and renewed.

Israel selected to be the standard-bearer of this great revelation, both by example to the heathen nations and by obedience to the precepts of God’s divine covenant made known in the sacred Torah (the law).

History

The story of Judaism is a story derived chiefly from the Old Testament portion of the Bible. The text as we have it today comes from three main sources: the Masoretic text (assembled in the 10th century A.D.), the Septuagint (Greek translation), and the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1947 at Qumran).

The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating back to about 1772 BC.

It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets.

The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man.

Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing, for example, the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, for example, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another.

A third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity and sexual behavior. Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official; this provision establishes that a judge who reaches an incorrect decision is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently. A handful of provisions address issues related to military service.

 Before the formation of the actual text, however, the oral tradition (songs, stories, poems) rehearsed and preserved the needs of God (Yahweh) and his covenant people, Israel. 

Many of these facets of the oral tradition were eventually incorporated into the collections of books that now comprise the threefold division of the Hebrew canon: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi ’im), and the Writings (Kethuvim).

Archaeological discoveries have shed much light on the world in which the Jewish nation was born and developed.

1.  The Code of Hammurabi in Babylon, dated about 1700 B.C., outlines laws similar to those of the Torah.

2.  Enuma Elish, dating to 2000 B.C., records a creation account in which a cosmic battle between Marduk and Tiamet takes place. It erupts in chaos. The Genesis account is orderly and clearly testifies to the fact that God is in control.

3.  The Epic of Gilgamesh (7th century B.C.) is a flood story, telling of an ark that was built to preserve life. A dove was sent out and returned. The Genesis account of the Noahic flood no doubt exerted great influence on other cultures that borrowed from much of the oral tradition.

4.  The Ebla Tablets, discovered in 1974, date back to the kingdom of Ebla (2300 B.C.). The tablets are bilingual and are written in the known language of Sumerian and that of Ebla. These tablets mention Sodom, Gomorrah, Abraham, Saul, and numerous other biblical names.

5.  Canaanite literature, particularly that written in Ugaritic, date to the 14th century B.C. and refer to pagan mythology and Baal worship, clearly alluded to in the Old Testament.

6.  The Nuzi Tablets are Assyrian tablets dating to 1500 B.C.; they elucidate many of the customs of the Old Testament. For example, in Genesis 16 Sarai asks Abram to produce a child through her servant Hagar.  The Nuzi tablets explain that it was an obligation for a wife to bring forth a child.

If she failed, she had to provide another woman for her husband. The difference between this custom and the covenant of Yahweh and Israel was that Yahweh transcended that custom by bringing forth a child of promise (Isaac) in spite of Abram and Sarai’s old age and the impossibility of pregnancy ensuing.

7. The Mari Letters make it clear that travel was common between Palestine and the Near East.

The Babylonian creation myth is recounted in the “Epic of Creation” also known as the Enuma Elish. The Mesopotamian “Epic of Creation” dates to the late second millennium B.C..

In the poem, the god Marduk (or Assur in the Assyrian versions of the poem) is created to defend the divine beings from an attack plotted by the ocean goddess Tiamat. The hero Marduk offers to save the gods only if he is appointed their supreme unquestioned leader and is allowed to remain so even after the threat passes.

The gods agree to Marduk’s terms. Marduk challenges Tiamat to combat and destroys her. He then rips her corpse into two halves with which he fashions the Earth and the heavens. Marduk then creates the calendar, organizes the planets, stars and regulates the moon, sun, and weather.

The gods pledge their allegiance to Marduk and he creates Babylon as the terrestrial counterpart to the realm of the gods. Marduk then destroys Tiamat’s husband, Kingu using his blood to create mankind so that they can do the work of the gods.

The Enuma Elish is written on seven tablets, each are between 115 and 170 lines long.

8.  The Tell el-Amarna Letters date back to the 18th century B.C. These letters were correspondence between an Egyptian king and his son ruling in Palestine. Mention is made of a people called the Habiru, who were causing trouble in the land. This is possibly an allusion to the Hebrews at the time when Joshua invaded the land.

Worship

Jewish worship originally focused around the Torah and the temple. Temple rituals remained possible only as long as the Jews remained the “people of the land.” After the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. and the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem, such rituals ceased altogether.

In its place the Torah and the interpretive traditions of the Mishnah, the Talmuds(Jewish Bible), and the Midrash became increasingly more important.

Jewish worship was grounded in beliefs about God and creation. God as wholly other is accessible only through mediation of the priesthood and the prophets.

Yet God’s whole revelation is grounded in a spacio-temporal frame of reference. That is to say, God chose a people, a time, and a place to manifest his presence and will. And because people are subject to space and time, God conformed to these human limitations.

Jewish worship was prescribed in such a way that careful instructions were given to Israel to celebrate and remember God’s creation and salvation events through the observance of annual feasts, fasts, holy days, and the Sabbath.

The Elect of God

The phrases “chosen people,” “children of Abraham,” “elect of God,” and so on are commonly linked to Israel. Through the promise God made to Abraham, Israel was selected by God to be a standard-bearer of the one true God and the example for the nations.

After the Diaspora, the nation of God’s elect moved from a spiritual concept to a strongly nationalistic one. Being the “children of Abraham” bred a spirit of sectarianism and pride. Jesus challenged this with strong language (Jn 8:39-44).

The Epic of Gilgamish, written in cuneiform on Assyrian and Babylonian clay tablets, is one of the most interesting poems in the world.

In the 7th century edition, which forms the main base of our knowledge of the poem, it was divided into twelve tablets, each containing about three hundred lines in metre. Its subject was the Legend of Gilgamish, a composite story made up probably of different myths which had grown up at various times round the hero’s name.

He was one of the earliest Kings of Erech in the South of Babylonia, and his name is found written on a tablet giving the rulers of Erech, following in order after that of Tammuz (the god of vegetation and one of the husbands of Ishtar) who in his turn follows Lugal-banda, the tutelary god of the House of Gilgamish.

The early church adopted the language of election from Judaism (Acts 2:47; Rom. 8:28-31; Eph. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:9) – but with one important difference. Rather than an elect people called from a specific nation, Israel, the people of God are now the elect from every nation (Acts 3:25).

The covenant God made with Abraham comes to fruition in the birth of the Christian church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The church, the new Israel of God, is now comprised of all people in Christ (Gal. 3:28; 6:16).

Modern Judaism

The following is a brief summary of the different forms of Judaism existing today. Just as Christianity is a vast pluralism of denominations in the modern world, Judaism has undergone a similar phenomenon.

1.  Conservative Judaism. This movement began in the mid-19th century as a reaction against the Reform rabbis. Conservative Judaism in America is called the United Synagogue of America.

2.  Orthodox Judaism. This is the oldest form of Judaism. Orthodox Judaism came to America in 1625, and all the synagogues organized from 1730-1801 followed the Sephardic rite.

3.  Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism introduced changes and updating in the rituals and the use of English in worship services.

4.  Reconstructionist Judaism. Mordecai Kaplan (1881-1983), a professor at Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, “reconstructed” Judaism by altering some fundamental tenets of orthodox Judaism. Reconstructionists deny original sin and, in keeping with modem tenor, uphold the basic goodness of humankind.

The Ebla tablets are a collection of as many as 1800 complete clay tablets, 4700 fragments and many thousand minor chips found in the palace archives of the ancient city of Ebla, Syria.

The tablets were discovered by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team in 1974–75 during their excavations at the ancient city of Tell Mardikh. The tablets, which were found in situ on collapsed shelves, retained many of their contemporary clay tags to help reference them.

They all date to the period between ca. 2500 B.C. and the destruction of the city ca. 2250 B.C.

5.  Humanistic Judaism. Comprised mainly of agnostics and atheists, humanistic Judaism rejects the notion of a God who is “out there.” Theism is replaced with a thoroughly humanistic approach.

That is, morality lies within each person. Right and wrong acts are not done in response to God but to self.

Conclusion

Modem Judaism has undergone significant changes in the latter half of the twentieth century. Radical secular ideologies have resulted in a religionless or secular nationalism, countered by conservative and moderately religious factions.

Intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, especially in the United States, has risen rapidly. Attendance at synagogues is marginal at best. The secularism currently being experienced is countered by a growing interest in orthodoxy as more Jews in the 1980s and 1990s have turned to their historical roots than in previous decades.

Anti-Semitism has undergone a resurgence in the identity movements in America. Most recent is a growing anti-Semitism in the new German nation. The problem is not limited to Germany however. It is a worldwide phenomenon.

…Knossos.

Zechariah 2 – The Measuring Line of Jerusalem & Ancient Aliens Theory

Many believe that the reptilians have infiltrated many parts of our Governments and other parts of our society such as entertainers and and people in high finance positions in an effort to try and control us and eventually take over the world.

The author of the above article is obviously a non-believer.  He has limited himself to the world as we see it, and not to Your world.

My opinion on Ancient Aliens, why not?  I know You can create anything and can do anything, things we can’t begin to fathom, let alone even think of.

There is nothing wrong with allowing our minds to wander and wonder, but if our thoughts take us away from You then we will find ourselves on deadly ground.  Such as the author of this article has done.

Since we are looking at the real and not-real, let’s check out another ancient religion, let’s look at...

Zechariah 2
The Measuring Line of Jerusalem

1 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

2:1-13 – the third vision.  There will be full restoration and blessing for the covenant people, temple and city.

2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,

4 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:

“Without walls” = the city’s population will overflow to the point that it will be as though it had no walls.

5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

“Land of the north” – Babylon invaded Judah from the north.

“As the four winds” – in all directions.  The exiles would return from north, south, east and west (Isa 43:5-6, 49:12).

7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

“Apple of his eye” – see Deut 32:10.

9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.

11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

“Many nations” – in fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (Gen 12:3).

“That day” – the day of the Lord.

12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

Ancient Aliens Theory

I have not seen the History Channel about the following data so I’m unable to respond for or against it.  I had no part in the below article either.  There is a lot of gobbledy-gook in it so I am just reporting,  verbatim, what I think could be relevant.  But you can go here to read it all.

Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961), often referred to as C. G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology.

Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, literature, and related fields.

The History Channel has a program series it has titled  ‘Ancient Alien Theory.’ The series so far has a list of eight programs which supports the theory that it was aliens from other worlds that provided the knowledge if not the tools for the construction of earthy ancient structures, including the pyramids of Egypt and South America as well as other mysterious places around the globe.

In its program ‘Gods and Aliens’ it asks the question ‘Could the demigods of mythology have been the offspring of alien and human unions?’

Its primary evidence is the imagery of strange beings found with the ancient structures as well as the similarity in structures thousands of miles apart and from unconnected cultures. How do we explain the similarities unless something more intelligent than ancient man helped construct the structures?

Although I have not seen every program the hypothesis is it was aliens who were responsible for the unexplained, mysterious structures around the world.

The problem is there is a more logical explanation for the similarities found at these structures. And it is from Jungian psyche, an ‘earthly approach’, that we will find the answer. I’ll offer the ‘archetypal’ reasoning after the following opening paragraph from the History Channel that sets the stage for the ‘alien’ theory.

The Jungian psyche is from the known psychologist Carl Jung who had been taught by Sigmund Freud and for a while partnered with him too.

According to ancient alien theorists, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history.

Collective Unconscious

Why did primitive man go to such lengths to describe and interpret the happenings in the natural world, for example the rising and setting of the sun, the phases of the moon, the seasons?

Carl Jung believed that the events of nature were not simply put into fairy-tales and myths as a way of explaining them physically. Rather, the outer world was used to make sense of the inner.

The collective unconscious was expressed through ‘archetypes’, universal thought-forms or mental images that influenced an individual’s feelings and action.

The collective unconscious is a concept developed by psychoanalyst Carl Jung, consisting of an amalgamation of shared ideas said to be universal across humanity. Rather than being consciously understood and passed between individuals, or cultures, these ideas are instead said to be part of the unconscious mind, underlying the way people think and behave.

Jung believed they were an inherited legacy of thousands of years of human society and culture. Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious explains the many recurring themes in human mythology and symbolism.

According to the theory of the collective unconscious, there are certain universal archetypes familiar to all humanity that influence the way people interact with each other.

They also play a role in mythology, and it is notable that some cultures have similar mythological themes even if they have no actual contact with each other. Likewise, symbolism in many cultures has surprising commonalities which are attributed to the collective unconscious.

Jung’s archetypes of the collective unconscious explain why there are similar symbolic imagery as well as design at the various structures:

The great pyramids of the world, Egypt’s Great Pyramids at Giza, similar designed structures of the Olmec, Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations, Latin American pyramids that include the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán, the Pyramid at Cholula and the Inca’s great temple at Cuzco in Peru.

All seem to have a singular mind in their construction yet they are 1000s of miles apart and from different cultures from different periods of time {but all being ancient in their age} with little possibility of a ‘diffusion’ or sharing of information.

But if the singular mind is that of a collective knowledge or collective unconscious then it would explain the similarities.

Mythologies around the world have shared similarities in many different aspects which were first explained in modern times by Adolf Bastian with his theory of ‘Elementary Ideas’ and the psychic unity of mankind.

Jung took up this mantle to develop his concept of the archetypes of the collective unconscious. His hypothesis is the mental acts of all people everywhere on the planet are the products of physiological mechanisms characteristic of the human species {what today we might term the genetic loading on the organization and functioning of the human neuroendocrine syste}.

Every human mind inherits a complement of species-specific ‘elementary ideas’, and hence the minds of all people, regardless of their race or culture, operate in the same way. Sounds very plausible, more so in my opinion than aliens from other worlds sharing their technology with ancients.

Whereas the theories of Jung and Bastian have scientific evidence in their support, the theory of ancient aliens does not {other than what the History Channel promotes with their programming}.

What About the Images of UFOs and Aliens Found at These Ancient Structures?

According to archaeologists and scientists, Egyptian hieroglyphics show images of UFOs. Designs and imagery in the hieroglyphics were also found in Mexico in pottery and stonework.

One scientist stated ‘the UFO shapes are very technical in design and they have no place in the minds of very primitive people working in very crude circumstances.’ Advanced astronomical, mathematical and geometrical knowledge, taught in schools today originated in ancient Egypt.

Where did it come from? The Egyptians seemed to have a deep understanding of outer space. There are images of spirals in Egyptian hieroglyphics, meaning energy, galaxies, etc. There are also images of half human half animal creatures, as well as reptilian creatures.

Some people think that those are images of extraterrestrials. Images in a 3,000 year old New Kingdom Temple in Egypt shows images of modern day helicopters, submarines, and what appears to be UFO’s on the ceiling.

Presented in the 1968 bestselling book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken, the theory of “ancient aliens” rocked people’s beliefs in mankind’s progress.

Ancient cave drawings of strange creatures, remains of landing strips in Peru, and Indian texts that describe the “flying machines of the gods” were just a few of the odd archaeological artifacts cited by von Daniken as proof that ancient astronauts were well known to our ancestors….

Answer

Today we have thousands of people who have ‘witnessed’ UFOs as well as aliens all over the world. All types of images of flying saucers and ‘aliens’ have been reported that depict everything from strange lights in the sky to actual descriptive alien ‘beings’.

In today’s world, without sound evidence to support such sightings, these reports are just that. Unconfirmed reports. In ancient times such ‘visions’ or sightings would have been treated as a major event, a ‘sign’ from the gods and made a part of the cultural if not spiritual belief system.

The tendency was to convey these images in what ever mode was in use at the time. Images of UFOs, Unidentifable Flying Objects, of alien beings in weird outfits, are not uncommon in the ancient world archaeological finds, as well as their myths.

But like today the eyes sees what the mind makes it believe it wants to see. But unlike in modern times where such sightings are not news worthy, ancients thought them to be ‘signs’ from the gods, something real and treated them as such.

The imagery I have seen presented by the History Channel, while often looking like real aliens, can be explained by the creative minds of ancient man.

In the caves at Lascaux in France drawings of animals in strange forms are found that show how the ancients conveyed impressions to imagery.

In their 1966 book Intelligent Life in the Universe astrophysicists I.S. Shklovski and Carl Sagan devote a chapter to arguments that scientists and historians should seriously consider the possibility that extraterrestrial contact occurred during recorded history.

However, Shklovski and Sagan stressed that these ideas were speculative and unproven. And that is my point. There is no concrete evidence that prove extraterrestrials contact occurred or had any input to the design/construction of any ancient structure.

How Were Ancient Structures Built?

My answer to this important question itself borders on speculation ‘almost’ as much as it does fact. But there is real evidence there was a knowledge by the ancients that did not require ‘alien’ intelligence to help build these great structures.

Much of it is from a ‘forgotten knowledge’, the techniques that were used in the building of the pyramids as well as other mysterious structures around the world. We must never underestimate the ingenuity of man. Especially ancient man who had use his ‘instincts’ for survival.

It is within the structure of the human mind we possess instinctive and intuitive qualities long forgotten because they are no longer required in modern times. But this information still remains in the psyche and is available for processing, taking intuitive and instinctive aspects and enhancing those abilities.

I believe this is what the ancients possessed, and used, in constructing what we today find mysterious.

I will end in stating my position by saying it is not that I do not believe in the possibility of aliens or UFOs. Of the billions of stars let alone planets in the universe there must be other ‘intelligent’ life out there somewhere. The possibility in the numbers alone suggest that probability.

But have they visited us and did they give ancient man tools to use that we no longer know of. I would think in all of history of mankind we would have emperical evidence of aliens and UFOs if they had made contact with us.

But all we have is speculation and theory. As with all concepts, they are not real until emperically proven. Jung has given us the ‘archetypes’, something that is viable and applicable.

Ancient aliens makes a good documentary but where is the imperical evidence? I’ll await those results before I accept or even deny the possibilities. As for Jung’s archeypes, the intuitive mind, and the dream as a direct link to the unconscious, I have no doubt about those. My experiences are my ’emperical’ evidence.

As a Psychology Major drop out I was and still am a fan of Sigmund Freud and the three other psychologists I had studied the most is Carl Jung, Erikson and Rogers.  I don’t care what anyone says about these four men, without them we may not have psychology at all, especially without Freud.

I had once believed in  Jung’s Collective Unconscious, but that was before I believed in God.  I still do not disbelieve in it, but something tells me that it is not exactly correct, but that’s my opinion.

…Judaism.

Zechariah 1 – Call for National Repentance & Angels and Guardian Spirits in the Bible and the Ancient Near East

The book of Hebrew lets us know that we may meet angels and not know they are angels (Heb 13:2).  And since we know You let angels come down here, we can’t say that there are not bad angels because the devil and his punk cronies are here too (Eph 6:12, Jude 1:6).

Plus, in verse 10 noted below, says that You sent some to “walk to and fro through the earth.”  In Job 1:7 and 2:2 You asked Satan what he was doing and he said he told You that he was “walking to and fro of the earth.”

There are reference to flying machines in the temple carvings and in the ancient writings. The images found on the ceiling beams of a 3000-year old New Kingdom Temple, located several hundred miles south of Cairo and the Giza Plateau, at Abydos resembles modern day Aircrafts.

Reference to ancient Indian flying vehicles comes from ancient Indian sources, many are the well known ancient Indian Epics, and there are literally hundreds of them. Most of them have not even been translated into English yet from the old sanskrit.

 

Therefore, we have no idea what the devil and his demons do, but it certainly isn’t good.  We also don’t know if You created other beings, even though it would only make since that You did, and they come down here. 

So there may be aliens or the aliens may only be Satan’s demons.  And in regards to Ghosts, I can’t believe they’re anything but fallen angels.  I figure a ghost is probably a fallen angel with very small rank, like a private (Eph 6:12).

Also, some people say that there are no female angles, but Zechariah says others wise in Zec 5:9.

Yet, I know there is nothing to fear, I got You on my side, but I do know that we aren’t supposed to take advantage of You and start smart mouthing the devil.  Jesus said so Himself:

“…It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt 1:7).

Paul also warned of us from trying to use You:

“Be not deceived: God is not to be mocked…” (Gal 6:7).

And Peter told us to stay away from Satan:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

Since we’re kinda on the subject of the real and the not-real, let’s see if anyone has investigated the possibility of…

Zechariah 1
Call for National Repentance

Hammurabi Stele
In this stele, the flame shouldered sun-god Shamash(has 8 horned headdress) holds the symbols of divine power(ring and staff) and has his hands stretched towards Hammurabi.

Hammurabi has his hand raised in prayer. Shamash is in a combined front and side view. Made from Basalt (1780 B.C)

1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

“Eighth month…the second year” – October-November, 520 B.C.  Haggai also began his prophetic ministry in Dairus’s second year, on the first day of the sixth month, i.e., on August 29, 520 B.C.

2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.

3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.

“Former prophets” – such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live forever?

“Do they live forever?” – No, but God’s words through them live on to be fulfilled.

6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

1:7-17 – the first vision.  Although God’s covenant people are troubled while the oppression nations are at ease, God is jealous for His people and will restore them and their towns and the temple.  The imagery of the first vision is reflected in that of the eighth and final vision.

Neo-babylonian art with 60 figures of lions molded in relief on high colored(yellow brown, and red) glazed bricks. Each lion is NOT individually characterized. Carefully depicts muscles, snarling muzzles, and long nervous tails. (575 B.C.)

“Four and twentieth day of…Sebat” – February 15, 519 B.C., about three months after the date of v. 1.

8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

“I saw” – not in a dream, but ion a vision.

“Night” – Zechariah had all eight visions in one night.

9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.

10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.

11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

Ishtar Gate
Has the processional way pass through it and has flanking crenelated towers. Made of glazed bricks with superimposed tiers of alternating profile figures of the dragon of Marduk and the Bull of Adad. (575 B.C.)

12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

“Threescore and ten years” – 70 years.

13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.

14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

“Helped forward the affliction” – God was angry with Israel and used the Assyrians and Babylonians to punish her, but they went too far by trying to destroy the Jews as a people.

16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.

1:18-21 – the second vision.  The nations that devastated Israel will in turn be destroyed by other nations.

Putto
Figure of a human baby or toddler almost always male often naked and having wings.

“Four” – if the number is to be taken literally the reference is probably to Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia.

“Horns” – symbolic of strength in general (Ps 18:2), or the strength of a country, i.e., its king or as here, the power of a nation in general.

19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.

“Four carpenters” – if the number is to be understood literally, probably the reference is to Egypt, Babylon, Persia and Greece.  What is clear is that all Judah’s enemies will ultimately be defeated.

21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

Angels and Guardian Spirits in the Bible
and the Ancient Near East

Found in Ur
Object was found in a royal grave. It is a box found that depicts two different scenes (designated as the “war side” and “peace side”).

Tells a story that is read from left to right AND Bottom to top. Little overlapping of figures(which are in “loose” profile) otherwise known as conceptual approach. Relative size on this object shows importance. Made of wood with Lapis lazuli, red limestone, and shell inlays. (2700 B.C)

Both the Hebrew and the Greer words that are translated into English as “angel” also mean “messenger.” This reflects the fact that an angel is a messenger from God.

It was sometimes difficult to determine whether a messenger from God during Bible times was human or angelic (Jdg 13:2- 22), since angels were often perceived as humanlike in appearance and evidently seemed to be either male or female (Zec 5:9).

The situation is also confusing in the case of “the angel of the LORD,” since this being sometimes appears to have been a mere angel but at other times God himself.

Human messengers in the ancient Near East acted as heralds, envoys and ambassadors, bearing the authority of the sender. In like manner angels functioned in the Bible as God’s representatives.

The “message” an angel carried may have been verbal, but it may also have been an action indicative of a judgment (2 Sam 24:15-17), a ministry to believers (1 Kgs 19:5-8) or a service as a guardian of God’s people (Ps 91:11).

Beings analogous to angels also appear in the mythology of Israel’s neighbors:

Tell Asmar Statuettes
These range in size from one foot to 30 inches in height. Made of gypsum with shell and black limestone inlays. Sizes represent differences in relative importance. Represented mortals who were waiting for the apparition of the divinity.

Over-sized eyes and undersized hands are a feature of each of these which may symbolize the eternal wakefulness of common people.

Lists of gods from Mesopotamia often name the servants of the great gods. These lesser divinities purportedly functioned as messengers and agents for the high gods.

Sometimes the myths present these lower gods as a kind of heavenly peasant class who did menial work for the high gods but who, if pushed too hard, were inclined to rebel against their heavenly overlords.

Lesser deities or “personal gods” in the ancient world also functioned as protective spirits with regard to individuals (analogous to the idea of guardian angels or patron saints).They were thought to watch over the lives of devotees in return for their allegiance.

Another group of lower deities encompassed the gatekeepers, typically depicted as fearsome, hybrid creatures, such as winged bulls or lions with human heads.

Colossal statues of such creatures flanked the entrances of temples and palaces and were thought to ward off evil spirits, serving as guardians and attendants of both gods and kings.

The British Museum now houses several of these statues, averaging over 9.8 feet in height. Their Egyptian counterparts were the sphinx and the uraeus serpent.

Biblical cherubim and seraphim are analogous to the supernatural gatekeepers of the ancient Near East. Cherubim secured the way into Eden after the expulsion of the man and woman (Gen 3:24), and figures of winged cherubim also symbolically guarded the ark of the covenant and the Tent of Meeting (Ex 25:18-22; 26:1 ).

Gudea Statue
These statues focus is concentrated mainly on the head.

This is made evident in heads disproportionate size and the great detail of the eyebrows. Hands were oversized (probably to symbolize piety). Made of Dorite (2100 B.C.)

Seraphim served as attendants in the heavenly throne room in Isaiah’s vision (Isa 6). Cherubim are sometimes described in terms reminiscent of the hybrid creatures of ancient Near Eastern art (Ex 37:9; Eze 10:1 -11), and some interpreters believe that the seraphim were serpentine.

Both cherubim and seraphim are closely associated with God’s holiness, sovereignty and purity.

…Ancient aliens.