Sunday School teachers the world over love to teach about the Tower of Babel because it allows them to use compelling imagery and explain how God sometimes intervenes in the plans of men, even if it means He must confuse our languages to do it. The actual, historical account is not quite as neat and tidy, however. For starters, the word “Babel” is actually a play on words. We turn again to Derek P. Gilbert, who explains this in The Great Inception:
We often find words in the Bible that sound like the original but make a statement—for example, Beelzebub (“lord of the flies”) instead of Beelzebul (“Ba`al the prince”), or Ish-bosheth (“man of a shameful thing”) instead of Ishbaal (“man of Ba`al”). Likewise, the original Akkadian words bab ilu, which means “gate of god” or “gate of the gods,” is replaced in the Bible with Babel, which is based on the Hebrew word for “confusion.”[i]
Those Hebrew writers were certainly clever when it came to puns. Was this tower located in Babylon as most Sunday School teachers would have you believe? Probably not. Gilbert continues:
So where should we look for the Tower of Babel?
Remember, the oldest and largest ziggurat in Mesopotamia was at Eridu, the first city built in Mesopotamia. In recent years, scholars have learned that the name “Babylon” was interchangeable with other city names, including Eridu. Even though Eridu never dominated the political situation in Sumer after its first two kings, Alulim and Alalgar, ruled immediately after the Flood, Eridu was so important to Mesopotamian culture that more than three thousand years later, Hammurabi, king of the old Babylonian empire in the eighteenth century B.C., was crowned not in Babylon, but in Eridu—even though Eridu had ceased to be a city about three hundred years earlier. Even as late as the time of Nebuchadnezzar, 1,100 years after Hammurabi, the kings of Babylon still sometimes called themselves LUGAL.NUNki—“King of Eridu.”
Why? What was the deal with Eridu? Yes, it was the first city, the place where “kingship descended from heaven,” which, I will repeat, was possibly built by Cain or his son, and perhaps named for Cain’s grandson, Irad.
Think about that for a moment. Eridu, its name interchangeable with Babylon, may have been established by the first murderer on Earth. In a sense, then, Cain, not Nimrod, was the founder of the original Babylon.[ii] (emphasis added)
Chilling thought, isn’t it? That the tower where men sought to open a gateway to the gods, that artificial mountain built by Nimrod, was probably built within a city descended from the hands of the world’s first killer. The plain of Shinar, being a plain, had no mountains, so the city’s planning and zoning department had to find another way to ascend into the heavenlies and bring down the small-“g” gods that once brought “enlightenment” to the world from Hermon. Since the heights were where these portals existed, then to access these doorways, one must build a “stairway to heaven.” Hence, we arrive at the very first, big public works project, where everyone pitched in to add his or her own brick to the rising walls of religious heresy.
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But there is a secondary, “as above, so below,” sort of aspect to this man-made mountain of Babel, and that is its “roots.” In the Bible, we often see that mountains have “roots” that reach into the earth and possibly into spiritual, extradimensional space beyond.
In Jonah, chapter 2, the writer describes a harrowing journey into the bowels of the earth:
I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. (Jonah 2:6)
In the case of the artificial mountain of Babel (at Eridu), construction may have occurred over the waters of the E-abzu, where stood the temple of Enki. Gilbert explains:
Archaeologists have uncovered eighteen levels of the temple to Enki. The oldest levels of the E-abzu, a small structure less than ten feet square, date to the founding of the city, around 5400 B.C. Fish bones were scattered around the building, which means Enki seems to have been a fan of Euphrates River carp.
Now, think about that for a moment: That first small shrine to Enki may have been built by Cain or one of his immediate descendants. And consider that the spot remained sacred to Enki long after the city was finally deserted, which was around the year 2000 B.C. And the temple site wasn’t abandoned until the fifth century B.C.—nearly five thousand years after the first crude shrine was built to accept offerings of fish to the god of the subterranean waters, the abzu.
Now, at this point I should tell you that abzu is the word from which we get our modern English word “abyss.”[iii]
So, Nimrod, who may have claimed to be part god, chose to construct his mountain of brick and stone upon the watery temple of Enki, Lord of the Abyss! Not only was Nimrod attempting to assault the heights but he hoped Enki and his underworld minions would help in the attempt!
There is so much more to discuss with regard to Babel’s Towering Artificial Mountain, but it is beyond the scope of this chapter, so let’s move on to another world mountain that is an imitation of the original Divine Mount of God. This one is another Sunday School favorite.
Elijah’s confrontation with the priests of Ba’al on the mount of Carmel is the kind of story that could easily be made into a blockbuster movie. It’s got a hero (Elijah), villains (Jezebel, Ahab, and those nasty priests), and a visually breathtaking locale.
King Ahab ruled the northern tribes in Israel during the ninth century B.C. as part of the Omri dynasty. Not the brightest bulb in the box, he married Jezebel, daughter of the Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. It’s thought that Jezebel’s name is actually an intentional shortening of the Phoenician name Baalzebel, meaning “Ba’al has exalted,” but that is speculation. Regardless of the exact meaning of her name, Jezebel was a piece of work. Her name also arises in the letter to the church at Thyatira in the book of Revelation:
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)
Now, is the woman Christ mentions here the Old Testament queen? Probably not, but rather a false teacher whose cult proliferated in Thyatira and probably provided the seed for the Great Whore of Babylon—false religion and idol worship. In fact, the residents of Thyatira made their living from the production of purple dye.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. (Revelation 17:4, emphasis added)
While Jezebel and Ahab play the villains in the story, the scene is a high mountaintop. Mount Carmel is located near the modern city of Haifa not far from Megiddo. The high place located on this mountain served as a cult center for the god Melqart. The name of “Carmel” means “garden,” but its name is tantalizingly similar to krm (cherem) studied earlier with respect to Hermon and “devoted to destruction.” One wonders if this is a nudge, nudge, wink, wink moment from the Holy Spirit. That the mount’s name indicates a garden or vineyard is evocative of the original Mount of Assembly and its “well-watered garden” of Eden. Considering that the god worshiped by Ahab and Jezebel lived in a “well-watered garden” akin to Eden, the three-year-long drought inflicted upon Israel by Yahweh must have seemed even harder to explain. Golly, Your Majesty, why don’t you just go ask Melqart for a little rain? Oops. Guess he’s not as powerful as you thought.
After this three-year period, when crop fields and bellies alike grew more and more empty (including the bellies of the cattle, so protein supplies were at an all-time low at the local big box store), Elijah shows up to talk with King Ahab. Needless to say, Ahab placed the blame for the drought (and his declining popularity in the polls) squarely on the shoulders of the prophet of the Lord, but Elijah wasn’t about to put up with that. In fact, he put the blame on the king and queen and challenged Ahab and the god he worshipped to a duel:
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18:19–20)
This smackdown consisted of 850 priests of Ba’al against one, solitary prophet of the Lord. Most would consider this an uneven match, and they’d be right. Those pitiful priests of Ba’al never saw it coming. Gilbert puts it this way:
Mount Carmel was considered holy for at least six hundred years before Elijah’s day. The name Carmel means “vineyard of God”—or, considering the influence of Amorite/Canaanite religion (especially under Ahab and Jezebel), “vineyard of El.” Pharaoh Thutmose III, on his way to the Battle of Megiddo mentioned earlier, probably meant Mount Carmel in an inscription that mentioned Rash-Qadesh, or “holy headland.”
Later, in the fourth century B.C., a Greek geographer called Mount Carmel “the mountain of Zeus,” specifically an incarnation of Zeus called Zeus Heliopolitanus. That was a reference to Heliopolis in Phoenicia, located at the north end of Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. We know that city today by a different name: Baalbek.
If you’ve researched megalithic structures at all, you’ve heard the name Baalbek. We won’t go into a discussion of the Trilithon, the three massive stones from the retaining wall of the temple of Jupiter. Let’s just say that at 880 tons each, they’re impressive.[iv] The important point is that Jupiter’s temple at Baalbek was built on top of an older temple to Hadad—Ba`al. Remember, Jupiter = Zeus = Ba`al.[v]
The high priests of Ba’al did their best to summon their “god,” but the entity never answered, presumably because the REAL power in heaven had told the fallen angel/Watcher that he was not permitted to do so. Despite their god’s continued silence, the energetic acolytes shouted, sang, prayed, wept, danced, and even cut themselves (the types of self-maiming employed by these priests meant they would actually flay themselves in huge stripes along their chests, carving deep grooves). Needless to say, the small-“g” god of Mount Carmel did not answer.
So, what does Elijah do? After three years of no rain, he tells the men to bring large jars of water to douse the altar and the wood. The audience must have thought, “Man, oh, man, what a waste!” And this meant that someone had to climb down the mountain to the Kishon River at the foot of Carmel, fill up the jars, and then trudge back up the hillside with the heavy load. Not fun. But they did it, and before long the altar and wood were soaked. Only then, did Elijah pray. He did not wail. He did not cry out. He did not weep. He did not cut himself. He prayed softly, asking the Lord to answer by supernatural fire.
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Remember, the gods of these mountaintops were usually considered as “storm gods” (think Zeus, Odin, Hadad, Ba’al, Horus, Indra, Set, to name but a few), so answering by fire should have been an easy task for old Melqart, but as mentioned earlier, he’d most likely been told to keep his silence. In fact, Elijah even taunts the priests during their frenzy and suggests that their god is “sleeping”:
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. (1 Kings 18:27)
Now, why would Elijah suggest Melqart was snoozing? Storm gods were often also “rising and dying gods” who spent half the year beneath the earth. It’s assumed then that this showdown either occurred during the half of the year when Melqart was in occultation (dead/sleeping) or else he was simply too busy to be bothered. However, the ultimate power in heaven, no matter what the powers and principalities like to believe, is God Almighty, and HE had told Melqart to stand down. Consequently, the god of the high place on Carmel was “offline” that day.
The story of Mount Carmel has a great, superhero ending. Elijah is triumphant (or rather Yahweh is); the fire comes down and consumes the sacrifice; rain returns to Israel; and the priests of Ba’al are rounded up and killed by the very river where they had to draw out that water. Even Jezebel gets hers in the end. She’s tossed off the top of a high building, and the dogs are the only ones interested enough to tend to her body.
So, who is Melqart? This one will probably come as a surprise. We’ll give credit to Derek P. Gilbert once again for his scholarship and tenacity to uncover this nugget:
As we mentioned, Melqart was one of the dying and rising gods. He would die in the fall and rise again every spring, following the annual growth cycle of agriculture. Religious rites accompanied the god’s death and resurrection every year. The Greek historian Herodotus visited Tyre in the fifth century B.C. and reported that he’d seen Melqart’s tomb inside his magnificent temple. That would be consistent with Elijah’s jibe that the god was “asleep and must be awakened.”
On the other hand, and here’s the kicker, the presence of a tomb might indicate that the cult of Melqart was based on a deified person instead of a spirit. You see, Melqart was the Phoenician name of Heracles—better known as Hercules.
Digest that for a moment. In all probability, the 450 priests who met their doom on Mount Carmel that fateful day served Hercules.[vi]
Bet you won’t see that in a Disney movie.
The Greek pantheon lived high up in the sky, or so we tend to think, on a mythical mountain called Olympus, but was this an imaginary mountain or a very real, historical one? Zeus and his fellow Olympians became rulers of the earth after a massive, worldwide smackdown called the Titanomachy. According to legends, there have been several monarchies amongst the small-“g” gods since Genesis 6 (and perhaps even at least one prior to that if indeed theories held by some, which we do not have time or space in this chapter to peruse, regarding a previous “creation” that preceded the one in Genesis). The first generation of divine rulers are often called the primordial “gods,” Chaos, Gaia, Tartarus, Eros, Erebus, and Nyx. These gave rise to the Titans, the twelve children of Chaos and Gaia (sometimes listed as Uranus—or Ouranos—and Gaia, i.e., Sky and Earth). These twelve were GIANTS, and they lived on Mount Othrys. Kronos (Chronos or Chronus) led these twelve Titans, planning their strategems from their bunker atop Mount Othrys.
Just as the descendants of Noah, following the Flood, may have looked back to the antediluvian realm as a golden age of learning and accomplishment (except for being eaten by those giants), the Greeks thought of the reign of Kronos (Chronos/Chronus) and the Titans as a golden age as well. But all so-called good things must come to an end, and thus it was with Kronos and his cronies. Kronos was a real piece of work, aided and abetted by his bloodthirsty mom, Gaia. Dad (Ouranos) didn’t really like his kids, so he hid a couple of his “giant” children in Tartarus. Mom didn’t like this, so she persuaded “good son” Kronos to use a sickle to castrate Dad. (Sidenote: This is why “Time” [(Kronos] is always pictured as Death carrying a sickle, and the Fourth Horseman may in some respects represent Kronos/Saturn [Saturn is his Roman equivalent] returning, but that’s another whole book). Once the dark deed was done, Cronos became the new “king of the world,” and he married his sister Rhea and begat Zeus and the Olympians.
Guess what? The apple didn’t fall far from the sickle-wielding tree, because Zeus decided to take out Dad and his buddies. Hence the Titanomachy.
The Olympians won, and Zeus and his victorious brethren set up camp on the heights of Olympus. These deities include Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, Hestia, and last but not least, the dying and rising god Apollo (Apollyon). It’s quite possible that the various Olympians have been worshipped by people across the globe under different names, reaching all the way back to the descent at Hermon. If Apollo is actually constrained within the Abyss now, then the E-abzu mentioned earlier that lies beneath the artificial mountain of Babel may actually be where the extradimensional Olympus is located. And Apollo and his brethren want one more crack at conquering the world.
And they will get their chance sooner than most comprehend…
[i] Ibid, p. 57.
[ii] Ibid, p. 59.
[iii] Ibid, p. 59.
[iv] For reference, an 18-wheel flatbed trailer carries a maximum legal load of about 22 tons—so load forty 18-wheelers to the limit and you’ve got the weight of just one of those massive blocks.
[v] Gilbert, The Great Inception, original manuscript, p. 220, published by Defender Publishing, anticipated release date at time of this reference is March, 2017.
[vi] Ibid, p. 228.