by Zecharia Sitchin
The War in
Iraq and The Earth Chronicles
“War has come to the cradle of civilization, “ current headlines
have been announcing; and both fans and interviewers have asked me
what is my “take” on these events.
“How strange that 6000 years of
human history keep leading us to devastation in this ancient
place; I wonder if you have any thoughts on this issue,” asked a
fan from England. “Is this the fulfillment of biblical
prophecies?” asked an interviewer.
Indeed, today’s Iraq encompasses ancient
Mesopotamia, the Land Between the Rivers where Assyria and Babylon
and long before them
Sumer had flourished.
It is there,
geographically, where the first known civilization had blossomed
out, giving Mankind the firsts in writing and literature, the wheel
and the kiln, art and music, mathematics and astronomy, kingship and
laws, temples and religion, and the first Cities of Man, among them
the famed Ur whence Abraham had come.
Preserving The Legacy
The issue of preserving and respecting that ancient legacy is
perhaps best illustrated by Ur’s mighty ziggurat (step pyramid)
whose ruins still dominate the landscape. In the first Gulf War, the
Iraqis placed their aircraft next to the ziggurat, expecting
(correctly!) that the Americans would not risk bombing the planes
for fear of damaging the ziggurat; the Iraqis did it again this time
- but this time (according to unconfirmed reports) the airfield was
captured by Special Forces without a bomb dropped.
While the Iraqis converted a symbol of Sumer’s legacy into a
military target, it is known that in Washington panels of
archeologists and other scholars have been advising the campaign
planners on the location and importance of ancient sites.
been pointed out, however, that various dam and irrigation projects
have obliterated potential archeological sites; and although in the
first Gulf War war-damage was minimal, post-war looting of sites and
museums was rampant
The Wars of Men
War - any war - entails carnage and destruction, and a time of No
More Wars was deemed already in biblical times as the idyllic time
when swords shall be made into ploughshares.
Yet wars accompanied
Mankind from the earliest times, and the Lands of the Bible,
encompassing today’s Iraq, have known war after war after war.
Today’s Iraq was artificially put together by the victorious Allies
after World War I, in the 1920’s. Today’s capital, Baghdad (which is
not ancient Babylon) was established by invading Arabs in AD 750 and
was overrun by Mongol hordes in AD 1469. Greeks (under Alexander the
Great), Persians, Medians, Sassanians, Parthians warred there. And
the great international war recorded in the Bible, of the Kings of
the East against the Kings of the West, took place in the time of
The kingdoms that followed Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria, turned war
into a permanent state policy; their kings boasted in their annals
of one campaign after another. Killings, annihilations, destruction,
pillaging, subjugation fill the records.
In Who’s Footsteps?
While ancient Sumer knew wars
(its monuments indeed depict soldiers and war chariots), its kings
boasted of assuring peace, and the highest epithet for a ruler was
to be called a Righteous Shepherd. The present ruthless ruler of
Iraq chose as his model, however, not a Sumerian king but the
Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar, the one who captured Jerusalem and
destroyed the Temple that Solomon built for Yahweh.
Saddam Hussein rebuilt (on a reduced scale)
Babylon, not Ur or Nippur; and like the olden kings had each brick stamped with an
honorific inscription - paying homage to “Saddam Hussein, protector
of civilization, who rebuilt the palace which belonged to
Like that Babylonian king, Saddam Hussein spoke of Iraqi domination
from the Persian Gulf (the ancient “Lower Sea”) to the Mediterranean
(the “Upper Sea”), of capturing Jerusalem, of destroying the
“Zionist State” (alias ancient Zion).
By comparing Iraq to ancient Babylon and himself to Nebuchadnezzar,
Saddam Hussein inescapably brings to mind the biblical prophecies
concerning the kingdom that turned greatness to evil and the king
whose rule brought slaughter and destruction.
The prophet Isaiah foretold the demise and destruction of Babylon by
armies from a distant land, even from the skies (!) (Chapter 13) and
prophesied the fate of Babylon’s king and his sons (!) (Chapter 14).
The prophet Jeremiah, recording the evils of Babylon and its rulers,
foretold the coming punishment:
“A sound of battle is in the land
and a great destruction… A sword is upon the Chaldeans and upon the
inhabitants of Babylon, upon her princes and upon her counselors; a
sword is upon her liars… a sword is upon her mighty men.”
As much as the biblical prophets were for Peace, they deemed war in
punishment of evil as justified.
Of First Things and Last Things
Do biblical prophecies hold
true just for the time they were uttered, or are they of eternal
validity, holding true for posterity whenever the circumstances are
Was evil punishable only then, not now?
expectations valid only B.C. and not AD?
The question has filled
volumes; I tend to agree with those who view biblical prophecies as
The New Testament’s Book of Revelation’s assertion “I am Alpha and I
am Omega,” I am the First and I am the Last, re-expressed the more
encompassing Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) credo of all the
prophets that The First Things Shall Be The Last Things.
was the knowledge of what had been that was the basis for
foretelling what will be; or, as I put it in my lectures, the Past
is the Future.
That history will repeat itself, there should be no doubt. What
remains a mystery is what chapter of history will be repeated when - are we still in the middle of the what I named The Earth Chronicles,
or is the grand cycle nearing completion and the very First Things
shall fulfill the prophecies of The Return? In this regard it
behooves us to recall that before the Cities of Man there had been
cities of the gods and before the wars of men there were the wars of
the gods - including the one in 2024 B.C., when
the use of nuclear
weapons caused the demise of the Sumerian civilization.
I do recommend that my fans re-read my books, especially
The Wars of Gods and Men, and
The Lost Book of Enki.
PROPHECIES FORETELL IRAQ’S FUTURE?
The continuing carnage in Iraq is reflected in many readers’ letter
The “Land Between the Rivers” is where civilization began,
where Abraham began his actual and spiritual journey, where the
story of Man and his gods began. The questions I am asked are not
only about the antiquities that are destroyed, not only about the
past, but also about the future: Is there anything in the
biblical prophecies that foretells where it is all leading?
FATE Magazine published a short article of mine on the subject in
its October 2005 issue, here are excerpts:
Breaking Apart to Repeat History?
The conflict involves a host of issues - democracy, religious
freedom, women’s rights stand out. A core issue that divides the
three main religious-political-ethnic groups is the extent of
autonomy that each will have - the majority Shiites in the
south, the distinct Kurds in the north (both in oil-producing
regions) and the minority Sunnis in the central region (which
includes Baghdad but no oil).
The concern is that the greater the
autonomy, the greater the chances that Iraq will break up into
three parts and will no longer be one national state.
Whether such an outcome is desirable or need be prevented at all
costs can be argued pro and con. The arguments should not ignore
the fact that “Iraq” is an artificial entity created after World
War I by Britain and France when they divided the remnants of
the Ottoman (Turkish) empire. How far in history should one go
in untangling the ethnic-religious issues?
It is a fact that Saddam Hussein saw
himself as a reincarnation of the famed Babylonian king
Nebuchadnezzar and envisioned Iraq as a great New Babylon; and
it is a fact, even if little noticed, that the Shiites of
southern Iraq intend to call their autonomous region or
independent state Sumer!
The Biblical Prophecies
Old Testament Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel - predicted both
the sacking of Jerusalem and its Temple by Nebuchadnezzar as well as
the subsequent downfall and destruction of Babylon; both prophecies
came true, in 586 B.C. and 539 B.C.
In the New Testament, Babylon and its fate are the main subject of
three chapters in the Book of Revelation (“The Apocalypse of St.
john”). Those prophecies of wrath against Babylon have posed a
problem for both biblical scholars and theologians, since when the
Book of Revelation was written, “Babylon” had already long been
forsaken and in ruins for centuries. Most scholars therefore believe
that the book was composed after the start of the persecution of
Christians in Rome and that “Babylon” was a code word for Rome.
But if one believes that Revelation is indeed a book of prophecies
- of events to come - and that it says what it means and means what it
says, then “Babylon of the future” is a “code word” for today’s
Iraq! And if so, what Revelation prophesied becomes both intriguing
The Merchants of Evil
The future fall of “Babylon,”
according to Revelation, will follow and will be hastened by a
period of “harlotry,” during which “merchants of the Earth… have
committed fornication with her… and waxed rich through the abundance
of her delicacies” (chapter 18:2).
Applying this to current events, one can
easily find here an allusion to Iraq’s main “delicacy” - oil - and
the parallel to the “Food for Oil” program of the United Nations
through which “merchants of the Earth,” committing ethical and
business “adultery,” enriched themselves while providing the Iraqi
dictator with funds to stay in power and commit more atrocities.
But when the judgments were pronounced upon Babylon, “the Mother of
Harlots” with whom “the kings of the Earth have committed
fornication,” those very beneficiaries of the trade abandoned her,
stood aside when the destruction began:
The merchants of these
things, who were made rich by her,
shall stand far off for fear of her torment,
weeping and wailing, and saying:
Alas, alas that great city that was clothed in fine
and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold…
For in one hour so great riches is come to naught;
And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships,
and as many as trade by sea,
stood far off, and cried when they saw the smoke
and her burning, saying:
Alas, alas that great city… for in one hour is she made
The Breakup Into Three Parts
Once the destruction of
“Babylon” was so swiftly carried out, the seventh angel “poured out
his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the
Temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying: IT IS DONE.”
And the great city was
divided into three parts…
And great Babylon came in remembrance before God
to give unto her the cup of wine of the fierceness of
As events in Iraq unfold, we will see
whether they will follow the prophetic script to its cataclysmic