SUMERIAN AND AKKADIAN texts leave no doubt that the peoples of the ancient Near East were certain that the Gods of Heaven and Earth were able to rise from Earth and ascend into the heavens, as well as roam Earth's skies at will.

In a text dealing with the rape of Inanna/Ishtar by an unidentified person, he justifies his deed thus:

One day my Queen,
After crossing heaven, crossing earth -
After crossing heaven, crossing earth -
After crossing Elam and Shubur,
After crossing...
The hierodule approached weary, fell asleep.
I saw her from the edge of my garden;
Kissed her, copulated with her.

Inanna, here described as roaming the heavens over many lands that lie far apart - feats possible only by flying - herself spoke on another occasion of her flying.


In a text which S. Langdon (in Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archeologie Orientale) named "A Classical Liturgy to Innini," the goddess laments her expulsion from her city. Acting on the instructions of Enlil, an emissary, who "brought to me the word of Heaven," entered her throne room, "his unwashed hands put on me," and, after other indignities,

Me, from my temple,
they caused to fly;
A Queen am I whom, from my city,
like a bird they caused to fly.

Such a capability, by Inanna as well as the other major gods, was often indicated by the ancient artists by depicting the gods - anthropomorphic in all other respects, as we have seen - with wings.


The wings, as can be seen from numerous depictions, were not part of the body - not natural wings - but rather a decorative attachment to the god's clothing.

Inanna/Ishtar, whose far-flung travels are mentioned in many ancient texts, commuted between her initial distant domain in Aratta and her coveted abode in Uruk. She called upon Enki in Eridu and Enlil in Nippur, and visited

her brother Utu at his headquarters in Sippar. But her most celebrated journey was to the Lower World, the domain of her sister Ereshkigal.


The journey was the subject not only of epic tales but also of artistic depictions on cylinder seals - the latter showing the goddess with wings, to stress the fact that she flew over from Sumer to the Lower World.

The texts dealing with this hazardous journey describe how Inanna very meticulously put on herself seven objects prior to the start of the voyage, and how she had to give them up as she passed through the seven gates leading to her sister's abode.


Seven such objects are also mentioned in other texts dealing with Inanna's skyborne travels:

1. The SHU.GAR.RA she put on her head.
2. "Measuring pendants," on her ears.
3. Chains of small blue stones, around her neck.
4. Twin "stones," on her shoulders.
5. A golden cylinder, in her hands.
6. Straps, clasping her breast.
7. The PALA garment, clothed around her body.

Though no one has as yet been able to explain the nature and significance of these seven objects, we feel that the answer has long been available.


Excavating the Assyrian capital Assur from 1903 to 1914, Walter Andrae and his colleagues found in the Temple of Ishtar a battered statue of the goddess showing her with various "contraptions" attached to her chest and back.


In 1934 archaeologists excavating at Mari came upon a similar but intact statue buried in the ground. It was a life-size likeness of a beautiful woman. Her unusual headdress was adorned with a pair of horns, indicating that she was a goddess. Standing around the 4,000-year-old statue, the archaeologists were thrilled by her lifelike appearance (in a snapshot, one can hardly distinguish between the statue and the living men).


They named her The Goddess with a Vase because she was holding a cylindrical object.


Unlike the flat carvings or bas-reliefs, this life-size, three-dimensional representation of the goddess reveals interesting features about her attire.


On her head she wears not a milliner's chapeau but a special helmet; protruding from it on both sides and fitted over the ears are objects that remind one of a pilot's earphones. On her neck and upper chest the goddess wears a necklace of many small (and probably precious) stones; in her hands she holds a cylindrical object which appears too thick and heavy to be a vase for holding water.

Over a blouse of see-through material, two parallel straps run across her chest, leading back to and holding in place an unusual box of rectangular shape. The box is held tight against the back of the goddess's neck and is firmly attached to the helmet with a horizontal strap.


Whatever the box held inside must have been heavy, for the contraption is further supported by two large shoulder pads. The weight of the box is increased by a hose that is connected to its base by a circular clasp. The complete package of instruments - for this is what they undoubtedly were - is held in place with the aid of the two sets of straps that crisscross the goddess's back and chest.

The parallel between the seven objects required by Inanna for her aerial journeys and the dress and objects worn by the statue from Mari (and probably also the mutilated one found at Ishtar's temple in Ashur) is easily proved.


We see the "measuring pendants" - the earphones - on her ears; the rows or "chains" of small stones around her neck; the "twin stones" - the two shoulder pads - on her shoulders; the "golden cylinder" in her hands, and the clasping straps that crisscross her breast.


She is indeed clothed in a "PALA garment" ("ruler's garment"), and on her head she wears the SHU.GAR.RA helmet - a term that literally means "that which makes go far into universe."

All this suggests to us that the attire of Inanna was that of an aeronaut or an astronaut.

The Old Testament called the "angels" of the Lord malachim - literally, "emissaries," who carried divine messages and carried out divine commands. As so many instances reveal, they were divine airmen: Jacob saw them going up a sky ladder, Hagar (Abraham's concubine) was addressed by them from the sky, and it was they who brought about the aerial destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The biblical account of the events preceding the destruction of the two sinful cities illustrates the fact that these emissaries were, on the one hand, anthropomorphic in all respects, and, on the other hand, they could be identified as "angels" as soon as they were observed. We learn that their appearance was sudden.



"raised his eyes and, lo and behold, there were three men standing by him."

Bowing and calling them "My Lords," he pleaded with them,

"Do not pass over thy servant," and prevailed on them to wash their feet, rest, and eat.

Having done as Abraham had requested, two of the angels (the third "man" turned out to be the Lord himself) then proceeded to Sodom.


Lot, the nephew of Abraham,

"was sitting at the gate of Sodom; and when he saw them he rose up to meet them and bowed to the ground, and said: If it pleases my Lords, pray come to the house of thy servant and wash your feet and sleep over-night."


Then "he made for them a feast, and they ate." When the news of the arrival of the two spread in the town, "all the town's people, young and old, surrounded the house, and called out to Lot and said: Where are the men who came this night unto thee?"

How were these men - who ate, drank, slept, and washed their tired feet - nevertheless so instantly recognizable as angels of the Lord?


The only plausible explanation is that what they wore - their helmets or uniforms - or what they carried - their weapons - made them immediately recognizable. That they carried distinctive weapons is certainly a possibility.


The two "men" at Sodom, about to be lynched by the crowd,

"smote the people at the entrance of the house with blindness... and they were unable to find the doorway."

And another angel, this time appearing to Gideon, as he was chosen to be a Judge in Israel, gave him a divine sign by touching a rock with his baton, whereupon a fire jumped out of the rock.

The team headed by Andrae found yet another unusual depiction of Ishtar at her temple in Ashur. More a wall sculpture than the usual relief, it showed the goddess with a tight-fitting decorated helmet with the "earphones" extended as though they had their own flat antennas, and wearing very distinct goggles that were part of the helmet.

Needless to say, any man seeing a person - male or female - so clad, would at once realize that he is encountering a divine aeronaut.

Clay figurines found at Sumerian sites and believed to be some 5,500 years old may well be crude representations of such malachim holding wandlike weapons. In one instance the face is seen through a helmet's visor.


In the other instance, the "emissary" wears the distinct divine conical headdress and a uniform studded with circular objects of unknown function.

The eye slots or "goggles" of the figurines are a most interesting feature because the Near East in the fourth millennium B.C. was literally swamped with wafer-like figurines that depicted in a stylized manner the upper part of the deities, exaggerating their most prominent feature: a conical helmet with elliptical visors or goggles.

A hoard of such figurines was found at Tell Brak, a prehistoric site on the Khabur River, the river on whose banks Ezekiel saw the divine chariot millennia later.

It is undoubtedly no mere coincidence that the Hittites, linked to Sumer and Akkad via the Khabur area, adopted as their written sign for "gods" the symbol
clearly borrowed from the "eye" figurines.


It is also no wonder that this symbol or hieroglyph for "divine being," expressed in artistic styles, came to dominate the art not only of Asia Minor but also of the early Greeks during the Minoan and Mycenaean periods.

The ancient texts indicate that the gods put on such special attire not only for their flights in Earth's skies but also when they ascended to the distant heavens.


Speaking of her occasional visits to Anu at his Celestial Abode, Inanna herself explained that she could undertake such journeys because "Enlil himself fastened the divine ME-attire about my body."


The text quoted Enlil as saying to her:

You have lifted the ME,
You have tied the ME to your hands,
You have gathered the ME,
You have attached the ME to your breast....
O Queen of all the ME, O radiant light
Who with her hand grasps the seven ME.

An early Sumerian ruler invited by the gods to ascend to the heavens was named EN.ME.DUR.AN.KI, which literally meant "ruler whose me connect Heaven and Earth."


An inscription by Nebuchadnezzar II, describing the reconstruction of a special pavilion for Marduk's "celestial chariot," states that it was part of the,

"fortified house of the seven me of Heaven and Earth."

The scholars refer to the me as "divine power objects."


Literally, the term stems from the concept of "swimming in celestial waters." Inanna described them as parts of the "celestial garment" that she put on for her journeys in the Boat of Heaven. The me were thus parts of the special gear worn for flying in Earth's skies as well as into outer space.

The Greek legend of Icarus had him attempt to fly by attaching feathered wings to his body with wax. The evidence from the ancient Near East shows that though the gods may have been depicted with wings to indicate their flying capabilities - or perhaps sometimes put on winged uniforms as a mark of their airmanship - they never attempted to use attached wings for flying. Instead, they used vehicles for such travels.

The Old Testament informs us that the patriarch Jacob, spending the night in a field outside of Haran, saw "a ladder down. The Lord himself stood at the top of the ladder. And the astounded Jacob "was fearful, and he said":

Indeed, a God is present in this place,
and I knew it not...
How awesome is this place!
Indeed, this is none but the Lord's Abode
and this is the Gateway to Heaven.

There are two interesting points in this tale.


The first is that the divine beings going up and down at this "Gateway to Heaven" were using a mechanical facility - a "ladder." The second is that the sight took Jacob by complete surprise. The "Lord's Abode," the "ladder," and the "angels of the Lord" using it were not there when Jacob lay down to sleep in the field. Suddenly, there was the awesome "vision." And by morning the "Abode," the "ladder," and their occupants were gone.

We may conclude that the equipment used by the divine beings was some kind of craft that could appear over a place, hover for a while, and disappear from sight once again.

The Old Testament also reports that the prophet Elijah did not die on Earth, but "went up into Heaven by a Whirlwind." This was not a sudden and unexpected event: The ascent of Elijah to the heavens was prearranged. He was told to go to Beth-El ("the lord's house") on a specific day. Rumors had already spread among his disciples that he was about to be taken up to the heavens.


When they queried his deputy whether the rumor was true, he confirmed that, indeed,

"the Lord will take away the Master today."

And then:

There appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire. ... And Elijah went up into Heaven by a Whirlwind.

Even more celebrated, and certainly better described, was the heavenly chariot seen by the prophet Ezekiel, who dwelt among the Judaean deportees on the banks of the Khabur River in northern Mesopotamia.

The Heavens were opened,
and I saw the appearances of the Lord.

What Ezekiel saw was a Manlike being, surrounded by brilliance and brightness, sitting on a throne that rested on a metal "firmament" within the chariot.


The vehicle itself, which could move whichever way upon wheels-within-wheels and rise off the ground vertically, was described by the prophet as a glowing whirlwind.

And I saw
a Whirlwind coming from the north,
as a great cloud with flashes of fire
and brilliance all around it.
And within it, from within the fire,
there was a radiance like a glowing halo.

Some recent students of the biblical description (such as Josef F. Blumrich of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration) have concluded that the "chariot" seen by Ezekiel was a helicopter consisting of a cabin resting on four posts, each equipped with rotary wings - a "whirlwind" indeed.

About two millennia earlier, when the Sumerian ruler Gudea commemorated his building the temple for his god Ninurta, he wrote that there appeared to him,

"a man that shone like Heaven... by the helmet on his head, he was a god."

When Ninurta and two divine companions appeared to Gudea, they were standing beside Ninurta's "divine black wind bird." As it turned out, the main purpose of the temple's construction was to provide a secure zone, an inner special enclosure within the temple grounds, for this "divine bird."

The construction of this enclosure, Gudea reported, required huge beams and massive stones imported from afar. Only when the "divine bird" was placed within the enclosure was the construction of the temple deemed completed. And, once in place, the "divine bird" "could lay hold on -heaven" and was capable of "bringing together Heaven and Earth."


The object was so important - "sacred" - that it was constantly protected by two "divine weapons," the "supreme hunter" and the "supreme killer" - weapons that emitted beams of light and death-dealing rays.

The similarity of the biblical and Sumerian descriptions, both of the vehicles and the beings within them, is obvious. The description of the vehicles as "bird," "wind bird," and "whirlwind" that could rise heavenward while emitting a brilliance, leaves no doubt that they were some kind of flying machine.

Enigmatic murals uncovered at Tell Ghassul, a site east of the Dead Sea whose ancient name is unknown, may shed light on our subject.


Dating to circa 3500 B.C., the murals depict a large eight-pointed "compass," the head of a helmeted person within a bell-shaped chamber, and two designs of mechanical craft that could well have been the "whirlwinds" of antiquity.

The ancient texts also describe some vehicle used to lift aeronauts into the skies.


Gudea stated that, as the "divine bird" rose to circle the lands, it "flashed upon the raised bricks." The protected enclosure was described as MU.NA.DA.TUIiTUR ("strong stone resting place of the MU"). Urukagina, who ruled in Lagash, said in regard to the "divine black wind bird":

"The MU that lights up as a fire I made high and strong."

Similarly, Lu-Utu, who ruled in Umma in the third millennium B.C., constructed a place for a mu,

"which in a fire comes forth," for the god Utu, "in the appointed place within his temple."

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, recording his rebuilding of Marduk's sacred precinct, said that within fortified walls made of burned brick and gleaming onyx marble:

I raised the head of the boat ID.GE.UL
the Chariot of Marduk's princeliness;
The boat ZAG.MU.KU, whose approach is observed,
the supreme traveler between Heaven and Earth,
in the midst of the pavilion I enclosed,
screening off its sides.

ID.GE.UL, the first epithet employed to describe this "supreme traveler," or "Chariot of Marduk," literally means "high to heaven, bright at night."


ZAG.MU.KU, the second epithet describing the vehicle - clearly a "boat" nesting in a special pavilion - means "the bright MU which is for afar."

That a mu - an oval-topped, conical object - was indeed installed in the inner, sacred enclosure of the temples of the Great Gods of Heaven and Earth can, fortunately, be proved. An ancient coin found at Byblos (the biblical Gebal) on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Lebanon depicts the Great Temple of Ishtar. Though shown as it stood in the first millennium B.C., the requirement that temples be built and rebuilt upon the same site and in accordance with the original plan undoubtedly means that we see the basic elements of the original temple of Byblos, traced to millennia earlier.

The coin depicts a two-part temple. In front stands the main temple structure, imposing with its columned gateway. Behind it is an inner courtyard, or "sacred area," hidden and protected by a high, massive wall.


It is clearly a raised area, for it can be reached only by ascending many stairs.

In the center of this sacred area stands a special platform, its crossbeam construction resembling that of the Eiffel Tower, as though built to withstand great weight. And on the platform stands the object of all this security and protection: an object that can only be a mu.

Like most Sumerian syllabic words, mu had a primary meaning; in the case of mu, it was "that which rises straight." Its thirty-odd nuances encompassed the meanings "heights," "fire," "command," "a counted period," as well as (in later times) "that by which one is remembered."


If we trace the written sign for mu from its Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform stylizations to its original Sumerian pictographs, the following pictorial evidence emerges:

We clearly see a conical chamber, depicted by itself or with a narrow section attached to it.

"From a golden chamber-in-the-sky I will watch over thee," Inanna promised to the Assyrian king.

Was this mu the "heavenly chamber"?

A hymn to Inanna/Ishtar and her journeys in the Boat of Heaven clearly indicates that the mu was the vehicle in which the gods roamed the skies far and high:

Lady of Heaven:
She puts on the Garment of Heaven;
She valiantly ascends towards Heaven.
Over all the peopled lands
she flies in her MU.
Lady, who in her MU
to the heights of Heaven joyfully wings. .
Over all the resting places
she flies in her MU.

There is evidence to show that the people of the eastern Mediterranean had seen such a rocket-like object not only in a temple enclosure but actually in flight.


Hittite glyphs, for example, showed - against a background of starry heavens - cruising missiles, rockets mounted on launch pads, and a god inside u radiating chamber.

Professor H. Frankfort (Cylinder Seals), demonstrating how both the art of making the Mesopotamian cylinder seals and the subjects depicted on them spread throughout the ancient world, reproduces the design on a seal found in Crete and dated to the thirteenth century B.C.


The seal design clearly depicts a rocket ship moving in the skies and propelled by flames escaping from its rear.

The winged horses, the entwined animals, the winged celestial globe, and the deity with horns protruding from his headdress are all known Mesopotamian themes.


It can certainly be assumed that the fiery rocket shown on the Cretan seal was also an object familiar throughout the ancient Near East.

Indeed, a rocket with "wings" or fins - reachable by a "ladder" - can be seen on a tablet excavated at Gezer, a town in ancient Canaan, west of Jerusalem. The double imprint of the same seal also shows a rocket resting on the ground next to a palm tree.


The celestial nature or destination of the objects is attested by symbols of the Sun, Moon, and zodiacal constellations that adorn the seal.

The Mesopotamian texts that refer to the inner enclosures of temples, or to the heavenly journeys of the gods, or even to instances where mortals ascended to the heavens, employ the Sumerian term mu or its Semitic derivatives shu-mu ("that which is a mu"), sham, or shem.


Because the term also connoted "that by which one is remembered," the word has come to be taken as meaning "name." But the universal application of "name" to early texts that spoke of an object used in flying has obscured the true meaning of the ancient records.

Thus G. A. Barton (The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad) established the unchallenged translation of Gudea's temple inscription - that "Its MU shall hug the lands from horizon to horizon" - as "Its name shall fill the lands."


A hymn to Ishkur, extolling his "ray-emitting MU" that could attain the heights of Heaven, was likewise rendered:

"Thy name is radiant, it reaches Heaven's zenith."

Sensing, however, that mu or shem may mean an object and not "name," some scholars have treated the term as a suffix or grammatical phenomenon not requiring translation and have thereby avoided the issue altogether.

It is not too difficult to trace the etymology of the term, and the route by which the "sky chamber" assumed the meaning of "name."


Sculptures have been found that show a god inside a rocket-shaped chamber, as in this object of extreme antiquity (now in the possession of the University Museum, Philadelphia) where the celestial nature of the chamber is attested by the twelve globes decorating it.

Many seals similarly depict a god (and sometimes two) within such oval "divine chambers"; in most instances, these gods within their sacred ovals were depicted as objects of veneration.

Wishing to worship their gods throughout the lands, and not only at the official "house" of each deity, the ancient peoples developed the custom of setting up imitations of the god within his divine "sky chamber." Stone pillars shaped to simulate the oval vehicle were erected at selected sites, and the image of the god was carved into the stone to indicate that he was within the object.

It was only a matter of time before kings and rulers - associating these pillars (called stelae) with the ability to ascend to the Heavenly Abode - began to carve their own images upon the stelae as a way of associating themselves with the Eternal Abode.


If they could not escape a physical oblivion, it was important that at least their "name" be forever commemorated.

That the purpose of the commemorative stone pillars was to simulate a fiery skyship can further be gleaned from the term by which such stone stelae were known in antiquity.

  • The Sumerians called them NA.RU ("stones that rise").

  • The Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians called them naru ("objects that give off light").

  • The Amurru called them nuras ("fiery objects" - in Hebrew, ner still means a pillar that emits light, and thus today's "candle").

  • In the Indo-European tongues of the Hurrians and the Hittites, the stelae were called hu-u-ashi ("fire bird of stone").

Biblical references indicate familiarity with two types of commemorative monument, a yad and a shem.


The prophet Isaiah conveyed to the suffering people of Judaea the Lord's promise of a better and safer future:

And I will give them,
In my House and within my walls,
A yad and a shem.

Literally translated, this would amount to the Lord's promise to provide his people with a "hand" and a "name."


Fortunately, however, from ancient monuments called yad's that still stand in the Holy Land, we learn that they were distinguished by tops shaped like pyramidions.


The shem, on the other hand, was a memorial with an oval top. Both, it seems evident, began as simulations of the "sky chamber," the gods' vehicle for ascending to the Eternal Abode. In ancient Egypt, in fact, the devout made pilgrimages to a special temple at Heliopolis to view and worship the ben-ben - a pyramidion-shaped object in which the gods had arrived on Earth in times immemorial.


Egyptian pharaohs, on their deaths, were subjected to a ceremony of "opening of the mouth," in which they were supposed to be transported by a similar yad or a shem to the divine Abode of Eternal Life.

The persistence of biblical translators to employ "name" wherever they encounter shem has ignored a 'farsighted study published more than a century ago by G. M. Redslob (in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesell-schaft) in which he correctly pointed out that the term shem and the term shamaim ("heaven") stem from the root word shamah, meaning "that which is highward."


When the Old Testament reports that King David "made a shem" to mark his victory over the Aramaeans, Redslob said, he did not "make a name" but set up a monument pointing skyward.

The realization that murr shem in many Mesopotamian texts should be read not as "name" but as "sky vehicle" opens the way to the understanding of the true meaning of many ancient tales, including the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.

The Book of Genesis, in its eleventh chapter, reports on the attempt by humans to raise up a shem. The biblical account is given in concise (and precise) language that bespeaks historical fact. Yet generations of scholars and translators have sought to impart to the tale only an allegorical meaning because - as they understood it - it was a tale concerning Mankind's desire to "make a name" for itself. Such an approach voided the tale of its factual meaning; our conclusion regarding the true meaning of shem makes the tale as meaningful as it must have been to the people of antiquity themselves.

The biblical tale of the Tower of Babel deals with events that followed the repopulation of Earth after the Deluge, when some of the people "journeyed from the east, and they found a plain in the land of Shin'ar, and they settled there."

The Land of Shinar is, of course, the Land of Sumer, in the plain between the two rivers in southern Mesopotamia.


And the people, already knowledgeable concerning the art of brickmaking and high-rise construction for an urban civilization, said:

"Let us build us a city,
and a tower whose top shall reach the heavens;
and let us make us a shem,
lest we be scattered upon the face of the Earth."

But this human scheme was not to God's liking.

And the Lord came down, to see the city and the tower which the Children of Adam had erected.
And he said: "Behold,
all are as one people with one language,
and this is just the beginning of their undertakings;
Now, anything which they shall scheme to do
shall no longer be impossible for them."

And the Lord said - to some colleagues whom the Old Testament does not name:
"Come, let us go down,
and there confound their language;
So that they may not understand each other's speech."
And the Lord scattered them from there
upon the face of the whole Earth,
and they ceased to build the city.
Therefore was its name called Babel,
for there did the Lord mingle the Earth's tongue.

The traditional translation of shem as "name" has kept the tale unintelligible for generations.


Why did the ancient residents of Babel - Babylonia - exert themselves to "make a name," why was the "name" to be placed upon "a tower whose top shall reach the heavens," and how could the "making of a name" counteract the effects of Mankind's scattering upon Earth?

If all that those people wanted was to make (as scholars explain) a "reputation" for themselves, why did this attempt upset the Lord so much? Why was the raising of a "name" deemed by the Deity to be a feat after which "anything which they shall scheme to do shall no longer be impossible for them"? The traditional explanations certainly are insufficient to clarify why the Lord found it necessary to call upon other unnamed deities to go down and put an end to this human attempt.

We believe that the answers to all these questions become plausible - even obvious - once we read "skyborne vehicle" rather than "name" for the word shem, which is the term employed in the original Hebrew text of the Bible. The story would then deal with the concern of Mankind that, as the people spread upon Earth, they would lose contact with one another.


So they decided to build a "skyborne vehicle" and to erect a launch tower for such a vehicle so that they, too, could - like the goddess Ishtar, for example - fly in a mu "over all the peopled lands."

A portion of the Babylonian text known as the "Epic of Creation" relates that the first "Gateway of the Gods" was constructed in Babylon by the gods themselves.


The Anunnaki, the rank-and-file gods, were ordered to Construct the Gateway of the Gods....

Let its brickwork be fashioned.
Its shem shall be in the designated place.

For two years, the Anunnaki toiled - "applied the implement... molded bricks" - until "they raised high the top of Eshagila" ("house of Great Gods") and "built the stage tower as high as High Heaven."

It was thus some cheek on the part of Mankind to establish its own launch tower on a site originally used for the purpose by the gods, for the name of the place - Babili - literally meant "Gateway of the Gods."

Is there any other evidence to corroborate the biblical tale and our interpretation of it?

The Babylonian historian-priest Berossus, who in the third century B.C. compiled a history of Mankind, reported that the,

"first inhabitants of the land, glorying in their own strength... undertook to raise a tower whose 'top' should reach the sky."

But the tower was overturned by the gods and heavy winds,

"and the gods introduced a diversity of tongues among men, who till that time had all spoken the same language."

George Smith (The Chaldean Account of Genesis) found in the writings of the Greek historian Hestaeus a report that, in accordance with "olden traditions," the people who had escaped the Deluge came to Senaar in Babylonia but were driven away from there by a diversity of tongues.


The historian Alexander Polyhistor (first century B.C.) wrote that all men formerly spoke the same language. Then some undertook to erect a large and lofty tower so that they might "climb up to heaven." But the chief god confounded their design by sending a whirlwind; each tribe was given a different language.

"The city where it happened was Babylon."

There is little doubt by now that the biblical tales, as well as the reports of the Greek historians of 2,000 years ago and of their predecessor Berossus, all stem from earlier - Sumerian - origins.


A. H. Sayce (The Religion of the Babylonians) reported reading on a fragmentary tablet in the British Museum "the Babylonian version of the building of the Tower of Babel." In all instances, the attempt to reach the heavens and the ensuing confusion of tongues are basic elements of the version. There are other Sumerian texts that record the deliberate confusion of Man's tongue by an irate god.

Mankind, presumably, did not possess at that time the technology required for such an aerospace project; the guidance and collaboration of a knowledgeable god was essential. Did such a god defy the others to help Mankind?


A Sumerian seal depicts a confrontation between armed gods, apparently over the disputed construction by men of a stage tower.

A Sumerian stela now on view in Paris in the Louvre may well depict the incident reported in the Book of Genesis.


It was put up circa 2300 B.C. by Naram-Sin, king of Akkad, and scholars have assumed that it depicts the king victorious over his enemies. But the large central figure is that of a deity and not of the human king, for the person is wearing a helmet adorned with horns - the identifying mark exclusive to the gods. Furthermore, this central figure does not appear to be the leader of the smaller-sized humans, but to be trampling upon them.


These humans, in turn, do not seem to be engaged in any warlike activities, but to be marching toward, and standing in adoration of, the same large conical object on which the deity's attention is also focused.


Armed with a bow and lance, the deity seems to view the object menacingly rather than with adoration.

The conical object is shown reaching toward three celestial bodies.


If its size, shape, and purpose indicate that it was a shem, then the scene depicted an angry and fully armed god trampling upon people celebrating the raising of a shem, 

Both the Mesopotamia!! texts and the biblical account impart the same moral: The flying machines were meant for the gods and not for Mankind.

Men - assert both Mesopotamian and biblical texts - could ascend to the Heavenly Abode only upon the express wish of the gods. And therein lie more tales of ascents to the heavens and even of space flights.

The Old Testament records the ascent to the heavens of several mortal beings.

The first was Enoch, a pre-Diluvial patriarch whom God befriended and who "walked with the Lord." He was the seventh patriarch in the line of Adam and the greatgrandfather of Noah, hero of the Deluge. The fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis lists the genealogies of all these patriarchs and the ages at which they died - except for Enoch, "who was gone, for the Lord had taken him." By implication and tradition, it was heavenward, to escape mortality on Earth, that God took Enoch.


The other mortal was the prophet Elijah, who was lifted off Earth and taken heavenward in a "whirlwind."

A little-known reference to a third mortal who visited the Divine Abode and was endowed there with great wisdom is provided in the Old Testament, and it concerns the ruler of Tyre (a Phoenician center on the eastern Mediterranean coast).


We read in Chapter 28 of the Book of Ezekiel that the Lord commanded the prophet to remind the king how, perfect and wise, he was enabled by the Deity to visit with the gods:

Thou art molded by a plan,
full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.
Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was thy thicket. ...
Thou art an anointed Cherub, protected;
and I have placed thee in the sacred mountain;
as a god werest thou,
moving within the Fiery Stones.

Predicting that the ruler of Tyre should die a death "of the uncircumcised" by the hand of strangers even if he called out to them "I am a Deity," the Lord then told Ezekiel the reason.


After the king was taken to the Divine Abode and given access to all wisdom and riches, his heart "grew haughty," he misused his wisdom, and he defiled the temples.

Because thine heart is haughty, saying
"A god am I;
in the Abode of the Deity I sat,
in the midst of the Waters";
Though thou art a Man, not a god,
thou set thy heart as that of a Deity.

The Sumerian texts also speak of several men who were privileged to ascend to the heavens.


One was Adapa, the "model man" created by Ea. To him Ea "had given wisdom; eternal life he had not given him." As the years went by, Ea decided to avert Adapa's mortal end by providing him with a shem with which he was to reach the Heavenly Abode of Anu, there to partake of the Bread of Life and the Water of Life. When Adapa arrived at Anu's Celestial Abode, Anu demanded to know who had provided Adapa with a shem with which to reach the heavenly location.

There are several important clues to be found in both the biblical and the Mesopotamia!! tales of the rare ascents of mortals to the Abode of the Gods. Adapa, too, like the king of Tyre, was made of a perfect "mold." All had to reach and employ a shem - "fiery stone" - to reach the celestial "Eden."


Some had gone up and returned to Earth; others, like the Mesopotamian hero of the Deluge, stayed there to enjoy the company of the gods. It was to find this Mesopotamian "Noah" and obtain from him the secret of the Tree of Life, that the Sumerian Gilgamesh set out.

The futile search by mortal Man for the Tree of Life is the subject of one of the longest, most powerful epic texts bequeathed to human culture by the Sumerian civilization. Named by modern scholars "The Epic of Gilgamesh," the moving tale concerns the ruler of Uruk who was born to a mortal father and a divine mother.


As a result, Gilgamesh was considered to be "two-thirds of him god, one-third of him human," a circumstance that prompted him to seek escape from the death that was the fate of mortals.

Tradition had informed him that one of his forefathers, Utnapishtirn - the hero of the Deluge - had escaped death, having been taken to the Heavenly Abode together with his spouse. Gilgamesh therefore decided to reach that place •and obtain from his ancestor the secret of eternal life.

What prompted him to go was what he took to be an invitation from Anu. The verses read like a description of the sighting of the falling back to Earth of a spent rocket. Gilgamesh described it thus to his mother, the goddess NIN.SUN:

My mother,
During the night I felt joyful
and I walked about among my nobles.
The stars assembled in the Heavens.
The handiwork of Anu descended toward me.
I sought to lift it; it was too heavy.
I sought to move it; move it I could not!
The people of Uruk gathered about it,
While the nobles kissed its legs.
As I set my forehead, they gave me support.
I raised it. I brought it to thee.

The interpretation of the incident by Gilgarnesh's mother is mutilated in the text, and is thus unclear.


But obviously Gilgamesh was encouraged by the sighting of the falling object - "the handiwork of Anu" - to embark on his adventure. In the introduction to the epic, the ancient reporter called Gilgamesh "the wise one, he who has experienced everything":

Secret things he has seen,

what is hidden to Man he knows;

He even brought tidings of a time before the Deluge.
He also took the distant journey,

wearisome and under difficulties;

He returned,

and engraved all his toil upon a stone pillar.

The "distant journey" Gilgamesh undertook was, of course, his journey to the Abode of the Gods; he was accompanied by his comrade Enkidu.


Their target was the Land of Tilmun, for there Gilgamesh could raise a shem for himself. The current translations employ the expected "name" where the Sumerian mu or the Akkadian shumu appear in the ancient texts; we shall, however, employ shem instead so that the term's true meaning - a "skyborne vehicle" - will come through:

The ruler Gilgamesh
toward the Land of Tilmun set his mind.
He says to his companion Enkidu:
"O Enkidu...
I would enter the Land, set up my shem.
In the places where the shem's were raised up
I would raise my shem."

Unable to dissuade him, both the elders of Uruk and the gods whom Gilgamesh consulted advised him to first obtain the consent and assistance of Utu/Shamash.

"If thou wouldst enter the Land - inform Utu," they cautioned him.

"The Land, it is in Utu's charge," they stressed and re-stressed to him.

Thus forewarned and advised, Gilgamesh appealed to Utu for permission:

Let me enter the Land,
Let me set up my shem.
In the places where the shem's are raised up,
let me raise my shem. ...
Bring me to the landing place at. ...
Establish over me thy protection!

An unfortunate break in the tablet leaves us ignorant regarding the location of "the landing place."


But, wherever it was, Gilgamesh and his companion finally reached its outskirts. It was a "restricted zone," protected by awesome guards. Weary and sleepy, the two friends decided to rest overnight before continuing.

No sooner had sleep overcome them than something shook them up and awoke them.

"Didst thou arouse me?" Gilgamesh asked his comrade.

"Am I awake?" he wondered, for he was witnessing unusual sights, so awesome that he wondered whether he was awake or dreaming.

He told Enkidu:

In my dream, my friend, the high ground toppled.
It laid me low, trapped my feet. ...
The glare was overpowering!
A man appeared;
the fairest in the land was he.
His grace...
From under the toppled ground he pulled me out.
He gave me water to drink; my heart quieted.

Who was this man, "the fairest in the land," who pulled Gilgamesh from under the landslide, gave him water, "quieted his heart"? And what was the "overpowering glare" that accompanied the unexplained landslide?

Unsure, troubled, Gilgamesh fell asleep again - but not for long.
In the middle of the watch his sleep was ended.
He started up, saying to his friend:
"My friend, didst thou call me?
Why am I awake?
Didst thou not touch me?
Why am I startled?
Did not some god go by?
Why is my flesh numb?"

Thus mysteriously reawakened, Gilgamesh wondered who had touched him.


If it was not his comrade, was it "some god" who went by? Once more, Gilgamesh dozed off, only to be awakened a third time. He described the awesome occurrence to his friend.

The vision that I saw was wholly awesome!
The heavens shrieked, the earth boomed;
Daylight failed, darkness came.
Lightning flashed, a flame shot up.
The clouds swelled, it rained death!
Then the glow vanished; the fire went out.
And all that had fallen had turned to ashes.

One needs little imagination to see in these few verses an ancient account of the witnessing of the launching of a rocket ship.


First the tremendous thud as the rocket engines ignited ("the heavens shrieked"), accompanied by a marked shaking of the ground ("the earth boomed"). Clouds of smoke and dust enveloped the launching site ("daylight failed, darkness came").


Then the brilliance of the ignited engines showed through ("lightning flashed"); as the rocket ship began to climb skyward, "a flame shot up." The cloud of dust and debris "swelled" in all directions; then, as it began to fall down, "it rained death!" Now the rocket ship was high in the sky, streaking heavenward ("the glow vanished; the fire went out").


The rocket ship was gone from sight; and the debris "that had fallen had turned to ashes."

Awed by what he saw, yet as determined as ever to reach his destination, Gilgamesh once more appealed to Shamash for protection and support. Overcoming a "monstrous guard," he reached the mountain of Mashu, where one could see Shamash "rise up to the vault of Heaven."

He was now near his first objective - the "place where the shem's are raised up." But the entrance to the site, apparently cut into the mountain, was guarded by fierce guards:

Their terror is awesome,

their glance is death.

Their shimmering spotlight sweeps the mountains.

They watch over Shamash,

As he ascends and descends.

A seal depiction showing Gilgamesh (second from left) and his companion Enkidu (far right) may well depict the intercession of a god with one of the robot-like guards who could sweep the area with spotlights and emit

death rays. The description brings to mind the statement in the Book of Genesis that God placed "the revolving sword" at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, to block its access to humans.

When Gilgamesh explained his partly divine origins, the purpose of his trip ("About death and life I wish to ask Utnapishtim") and the fact that he was on his way with the consent of Utu/Shamash, the guards allowed him to go ahead.

Proceeding "along the route of Shamash," Gilgamesh found himself in utter darkness; "seeing nothing ahead or behind," he cried out in fright. Traveling for many beru (a unit of time, distance, or the arc of the heavens), he was still engulfed by darkness.



"it had grown bright when twelve beru he attained."

The damaged and blurred text then has Gilgamesh arriving at a magnificent garden where the fruits and trees were carved of semi-precious stones.


It was there that Utnapishtim resided. Posing his problem to his ancestor, Gilgamesh encountered a disappointing answer: Man, Utnapishtim said, cannot escape his mortal fate. However, he offered Gilgamesh a way to postpone death, revealing to him the location of the Plant of Youth - "Man becomes young in old age," it was called.


Triumphant, Gilgamesh obtained the plant. But, as fate would have it, he foolishly lost it on his way back, and returned to Uruk empty-handed.

Putting aside the literary and philosophic values of the epic tale, the story of Gilgamesh interests us here primarily for its "aerospace" aspects. The shem that Gilgamesh required in order to reach the Abode of the Gods was undoubtedly a rocket ship, the launching of one of which he had witnessed as he neared the "landing place." The rockets, it would seem, were located inside a mountain, and the area was a well-guarded, restricted zone.

No pictorial depiction of what Gilgamesh saw has so far come to light. But a drawing found in the tomb of an Egyptian governor of a far land shows a rockethead above-ground in a place where date trees grow.


The shaft of the rocket is clearly stored underground, in a man-made silo constructed of tubular segments and decorated with leopard skins.

Very much in the manner of modern draftsmen, the ancient artists showed a cross-section of the underground silo.


We can see that the rocket contained a number of compartments. The lower one shows two men surrounded by curving tubes. Above them there are three circular panels. Comparing the size of the rockethead - the ben-ben - to the size of the two men inside the rocket, and the people above the ground, it is evident that the rockethead - equivalent to the Sumerian mu, the "celestial chamber" - could easily hold one or two operators or passengers.

TIL.MUN was the name of the land to which Gilgamesh set his course. The name literally meant "land of the missiles." It was the land where the shem's were raised, a land under the authority of Utu/Shamash, a place where on e could see this god "rise up to the vault of heavens."

And though the celestial counterpart of this member of the Pantheon of Twelve was the Sun, we suggest that his name did not mean "Sun" but was an epithet describing his functions and responsibilities. His Sumerian name Utu meant "he who brilliantly goes in." His derivate Akkadian name - Shem-Esh - was more explicit: Esh means "fire," and we now know what shem originally meant.

Utu/Shamash was "he of the fiery rocket ships." He was, we suggest, the commander of the spaceport of the gods.

The commanding role of Utu/Shamash in matters of travel to the Heavenly Abode of the Gods, and the functions performed by his subordinates in this connection, are brought out in even greater detail in yet another Sumerian tale of a heavenward journey by a mortal.

The Sumerian king lists inform us that the thirteenth ruler of Kish was Etana,

"the one who to Heaven ascended."

This brief statement needed no elaboration, for the tale of the mortal king who journeyed up to the highest heavens was well known throughout the ancient Near East, and was the subject of numerous seal depictions.

Etana, we are told, was designated by the gods to bring Mankind the security and prosperity that Kingship - an organized civilization - was intended to provide. But Etana, it seems, could not father a son who would continue the dynasty. The only known remedy was a certain Plant of Birth that Etana could obtain only by fetching it down from the heavens.

Like Gilgamesh at a later time, Etana turned to Shamash for permission and assistance.


As the epic unfolds, it becomes clear that Etana was asking Shamash for a shem!

O Lord, may it issue from thy mouth! Grant thou me the Plant of Birth! Show me the Plant of Birth! Remove my handicap! Produce for me a shem!

Flattered by prayer and fattened by sacrificial sheep, Shamash agreed to grant Etana's request to provide him with a shem. But instead of speaking of a shem. Shamash told Etana that an "eagle" would take him to the desired heavenly place.

Directing Etana to the pit where the Eagle had been placed, Shamash also informed the Eagle ahead of time of the intended mission. Exchanging cryptic messages with "Shamash, his lord," the Eagle was told:

"A man I will send to thee; he will take thy hand... lead him hither... do whatever he says... do as I say."

Arriving at the mountain indicated to him by Shamash,

"Etana saw the pit," and, inside it, "there the Eagle was."

"At the command of valiant Shamash," the Eagle entered into communication with Etana.

Once more, Etana explained his purpose and destination; whereupon the Eagle began to instruct Etana on the procedure for "raising the Eagle from its pit."


The first two attempts failed, but on the third one the Eagle was properly raised. At daybreak, the Eagle announced to Etana:

"My friend... up to the Heaven of Anu I will bear thee!"

Instructing him how to hold on, the Eagle took off - and they were aloft, rising fast.

As though reported by a modem astronaut watching Earth recede as his rocket ship rises, the ancient storyteller describes how Earth appeared smaller and smaller to Etana:

When he had borne him aloft one beru,
the Eagle says to him, to Etana:
"See, my friend, how the land appears!
Peer at the sea at the sides of the Mountain House:
The land has indeed become a mere hill,
The wide sea is just like a tub."
Higher and higher the Eagle rose; smaller and smaller Earth appeared.

When he had borne him aloft a second beru, the Eagle said:
"My friend,
Cast a glance at how the land appears!

The land has turned into a furrow....

The wide sea is just like a bread-basket."...
When he had borne him aloft a third beru,
The Eagle says to him, to Etana:
"See, my friend, how the land appears!
The land has turned into a gardener's ditch!"
And then, as they continued to ascend, Earth was suddenly out of sight.
As I glanced around, the land had disappeared,
and upon the wide sea mine eyes could not feast.

According to one version of this tale, the Eagle and Etana did reach the Heaven of Anu.


But another version states that Etana got cold feet when he could no longer see Earth, and ordered the Eagle to reverse course and "plunge down" to Earth.


Once again, we find a biblical parallel to such an unusual report of seeing Earth from a great distance above it. Exalting the Lord Yahweh, the prophet Isaiah said of him:

"It is he who sitteth upon the circle of the Earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as insects."

The tale of Etana informs us that, seeking a shem, Etana had to communicate with an Eagle inside a pit. A seal depiction shows a winged, tall structure (a launch tower?) above which an eagle flies off.

What or who was the Eagle who took Etana to the distant heavens?

We cannot help associating the ancient text with the message beamed to Earth in July 1969 by Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft:

"Houston! Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed!"

He was reporting the first landing by Man on the Moon.


"Tranquility Base" was the site of the landing; Eagle was the name of the lunar module that separated from the spacecraft and took the two astronauts inside it to the Moon (and then back to their mother craft).


When the lunar module first separated to start its own flight in Moon orbit, the astronauts told Mission Control in Houston:

"The Eagle has wings."

But "Eagle" could also denote the astronauts who manned the spacecraft. On the Apollo 11 mission, "Eagle" was also the symbol of the astronauts themselves, worn as an emblem on their suits.


Just as in the Etana tale, they, too, were "Eagles" who could fly, speak, and communicate.

How would an ancient artist have depicted the pilots of the skyships of the gods? Would he have depicted them, by some chance, as eagles?

That is exactly what we have found.


An Assyrian seal engraving from circa 1500 B.C. shows two "eagle-men" saluting a shem!

Numerous depictions of such "Eagles" - the scholars call them "bird-men" - have been found.


Most depictions show them flanking the Tree of Life, as if to stress that they, in their shem's, provided the link with the Heavenly Abode where the Bread of Life and Water of Life were to be found.


Indeed, the usual depiction of the Eagles showed them holding in one hand the Fruit of Life and in the other the Water of Life, in full conformity with the tales of Adapa, Etana, and Gilgamesh.

The many depictions of the Eagles clearly show that they were not monstrous "bird-men," but anthropomorphic beings wearing costumes or uniforms that gave them the appearance of eagles.

The Hittite tale concerning the god Telepinu, who had vanished, reported that "the great gods and the lesser gods began to search for Telepinu" and "Shamash sent out a swift Eagle" to find him.

In the Book of Exodus, God is reported to have reminded the Children of Israel, "I have carried you upon the wings of Eagles, and have brought you unto me," confirming, it seems, that the way to reach the Divine Abode was upon the wings of Eagles - just as the tale of Etana relates. Numerous biblical verses, as a matter of fact, describe the Deity as a winged being.


Boaz welcomed Ruth into the Judaean community as "coming under the wings" of the God Yahweh.


The Psalmist sought security "under the shadow of thy wings" and described the descent of the Lord from the heavens.

"He mounted a Cherub and went flying; He soared upon windy wings."

Analyzing the similarities between the biblical El (employed as a title or generic term for the Deity) and the Canaanite El, S. Langdon (Semitic Mythology) showed that both were depicted, in text and on coins, as winged gods.

The Mesopotamian texts invariably present Utu/Shamash as the god in charge of the landing place of the shem's and of the Eagles.

And like his subordinates he was sometimes shown wearing the full regalia of an Eagle's costume.


In such a capacity, he could grant to kings the privilege of "flying on the wings of birds" and of "rising from the lower heavens to the lofty ones." And when he was launched aloft in a fiery rocket, it was he "who stretched over unknown distances, for countless hours." Appropriately, "his net was the Earth, his trap the distant skies."

The Sumerian terminology for objects connected with celestial travel was not limited to the me's that the gods put on or the mus that were their cone-shaped "chariots."

Sumerian texts describing Sippar relate that it had a central part, hidden and protected by mighty walls. Within those walls stood the Temple of Utu, “a house which is like a house of the Heavens." In an inner courtyard of the temple, also protected by high walls, stood "erected upwards, the mighty APIN" ("an object that plows through," according to the translators).

A drawing found at the temple mound of Anu at Uruk depicts such an object. We would have been hard put a few decades ago to guess what this object was; but it is a multistage space rocket at the top of which rests the conical mu, or command cabin.

The evidence that the gods of Sumer possessed not just "flying chambers" for roaming Earth's skies but space-going multistage rocket ships also emerges from the examination of texts describing the sacred objects at Utu's temple at Sippar.


We are told that witnesses at Burner's supreme court were required to take the oath in an inner courtyard, standing by a gateway through which they could see and face three "divine objects."


These were named "the golden sphere" (the crew's cabin?), the GIR, and the alikmahrati - a term that literally meant "advancer that makes vessel go," or what we would call a motor, an engine.

What emerges here is a reference to a three-part rocket ship, with the cabin or command module at the top end, the engines at the bottom end, and the gir in the center. The latter is a term that has been used extensively in connection with space flight. The guards Gilgamesh encountered at the entrance to the landing place of Shamash were called gir-men. In the temple of Ninurta, the sacred or most guarded inner area was called the GlR.SU ("where the gir is sprung up").

Gir, it is generally acknowledged, was a term used to describe a sharp-edged object.


A close look at the pictorial sign for gir provides a better understanding of the term's "divine" nature; for what we see is a long, arrow-shaped object, divided into several parts or compartments:

That the mu could hover in Earth's skies on its own, or fly over Earth's lands when attached to a gir, or become the command module atop a multistage apin is testimony to the engineering ingenuity of the gods of Sumer, the Gods of Heaven and Earth.

A review of the Sumerian pictographs and ideograms leaves no doubt that whoever drew those signs was familiar with the shapes and purposes of rockets with tails of billowing fire, missile-like vehicles, and celestial "cabins."


KA.GIR ("rocket's mouth") showed a fin-equipped gir, or rocket, inside a shaftlike underground enclosure.

ESH ("Divine Abode"), the chamber or command module of a space vehicle.

ZIK ("ascend"), a command module taking off?

Finally, let us look at the pictographic sign for "gods" in Sumerian.


The term was a two-syllable word:

  • DIN.GIR. We have already seen what the symbol for GIR was: a two-stage rocket with fins.

  • DIN, the first syllable, meant "righteous," "pure," "bright."

Put together, then, DIN.GIR as "gods" or "divine beings" conveyed the meaning "the righteous ones of the bright, pointed objects" or, more explicitly, "the pure ones of the blazing rockets."

The pictographic sign
can easily bringing to mind a powerful jet engine spewing flames from the end part, and a front part that is puzzlingly open. But the puzzle turns to amazement if we "spell" dingir by combining the two pictographs.


The tail of the finlike gir fits perfectly into the opening in the front of din!

Fig. 84


The astounding result is a picture of a rocket-propelled spaceship, with a landing craft docked into it perfectly - just as the lunar module was docked with the Apollo 11 spaceship!


It is indeed a three-stage vehicle, with each part fitting neatly into the other: the thrust portion containing the engines, the midsection containing supplies and equipment, and the cylindrical "sky chamber" housing the people named dingir - the gods of antiquity, the astronauts of millennia ago.

Can there be any doubt that the ancient peoples, in calling their deities "Gods of Heaven and Earth," meant literally that they were people from elsewhere who had come to Earth from the heavens?

The evidence thus far submitted regarding the ancient gods and their vehicles should leave no further doubt that they were once indeed living beings of flesh and blood, people who literally came down to Earth from the heavens.

Even the ancient compilers of the Old Testament - who dedicated the Bible to a single God - found it necessary to acknowledge the presence upon Earth in early times of such divine beings.

The enigmatic section - a horror of translators and theologians alike - forms the beginning of Chapter 6 of Genesis. It is interposed between the review of the spread of Mankind through the generations following Adam and the story of the divine disenchantment with Mankind that preceded the Deluge.


It states - unequivocally - that, at that time,

the sons of the gods
saw the daughters of man, that they were good;
and they took them for wives,
of all which they chose.

The implications of these verses, and the parallels to the Sumerian tales of gods and their sons and grandsons, and of semidivine offspring resulting from cohabitation between gods and mortals, mount further as we continue to read the biblical verses:

The Nefilim were upon the Earth,
in those days and thereafter too,
when the sons of the gods
cohabited with the daughters of the Adam,
and they bore children unto them.
They were the mighty ones of Eternity -
The People of the shem.

The above is not a traditional translation.


For a long time, the expression "The Nefilim were upon the Earth" has been translated as "There were giants upon the earth"; but recent translators, recognizing the error, have simply resorted to leaving the Hebrew term Nefilim intact in the translation.


The verse "The people of the shem," as one could expect, has been taken to mean "the people who have a name," and, thus, "the people of renown." But as we have already established, the term shem must be taken in its original meaning - a rocket, a rocket ship.

What, then, does the term Nefilim mean? Stemming from the Semitic root NFL ("to be cast down"), it means exactly what it says: It means those who were cast down upon Earth!

Contemporary theologians and biblical scholars have tended to avoid the troublesome verses, either by explaining them away allegorically or simply by ignoring them altogether. But Jewish writings of the time of the Second Temple did recognize in these verses the echoes of ancient traditions of "fallen angels."


Some of the early scholarly works even mentioned the names of these divine beings "who fell from Heaven and were on Earth in those days": Sham-Hazzai ("shem's lookout"), Uzza ("mighty") and Uzi-El ("God's might").

Malbim, a noted Jewish biblical commentator of the nineteenth century, recognized these ancient roots and explained that,

"in ancient times the rulers of countries were the sons of the deities who arrived upon the Earth from the Heavens, and ruled the Earth, and married wives from among the daughters of Man; and their offspring included heroes and mighty ones, princes and sovereigns."

These stories, Malbim said, were of the pagan gods,

"sons of the deities, who in earliest times fell down from the Heavens upon the Earth... that is why they called themselves 'Nefilim,' i.e. Those Who Fell Down."

Irrespective of the theological implications, the literal and original meaning of the verses cannot be escaped: The sons of the gods who came to Earth from the heavens were the Nefilim.

And the Nefilim were the People of the Shem - the People of the Rocket Ships.


Henceforward, we shall call them by their biblical name.


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