Thursday, May 22, 2008

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. It has 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 Abraham.

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 Nebuchadnezzar.”

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).

Biblical Prophecies

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 the same? Was evil punishable only then, not now? Were messianic expectations valid only B.C. and not AD? The question has filled volumes; I tend to agree with those who view biblical prophecies as eternally valid.

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. Indeed, it 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 12th Planet, The Wars of Gods and Men, and The Lost Book of Enki

War Comes to the "Landing Place"

The name of an ancient site – Ba’albek in Lebanon – has now been mentioned in dispatches by war correspondents covering the latest flareup in the Middle East. Israeli planes have been dropping bombs there on training and supply encampments of Hezbollah terrorists, in a tit-for-tat for the latter’s missile attacks on Israel. Some of the dispatches refer to the town’s “Roman ruins” - remains of temples that Roman emperors erected in honor of Rome’s gods; but little, if any, mention is made of the place’s earlier and much more significant archaeological remains.

The Colossal Stone Blocks

The most important section of that ancient Landing Place was its northwestern corner, where the remains of the Jupiter temple are located. Its ruins stand atop a platform that rose even higher by rows of perfectly shaped stone blocks weighing some 600 tons each. (Fig. 3); this is a weight that no existing modern equipment can lift. (By comparison, the stone blocks of the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt, weigh about 25 tons each).

These are far from being the largest stone blocks there. As described in my latest illustrated book The Earth Chronicles Expeditions, the ever-rising layers of these stone blocks form, in the northwestern corner, a funnel-like stone tower. The western wall of that towerlike structure has been reinforced with rows (“courses”) of stone blocks weighing 900 tons each. On top of them, another higher course is made up of three unique stone blocks weighing 1,100 tons each. Known as the Trilithon, these are the largest cut and shaped construction stone blocks in the world!

The Quarry

The enigmas surrounding the site and the colossal stone blocks do not include one puzzle - where were those stone blocks quarried; because at a stone quarry about two miles away from the site, one of those 1,100-ton blocks is still there – its quarrying unfinished.... Z.Sitchin


"Ninharsag and her crew are closer to being vindicated as time passes, and soon your theories will no longer be theories!"

So wrote to me a fan (Jack Byrd in Virginia) in a congratulatory letter accompanying a newspaper clipping headlined "Genetically modified primate is world's first." It was the report about the successful birth of ANDi ('inserted DNA' spelled backward), a baby rhesus monkey "created" by a group of researchers at the Oregon Regional Primate Center, whose genetic makeup was modified to include the genes from a jellyfish that make it glow in the dark.

Mice have been previously genetically modified for medical research. But because the rhesus monkey is roughly 95 percent akin to humans genetically, "I think we are at an extraordinary moment in the history of humans, " said the chief researcher Dr. Gerald Schatten.

I was of course pleased to be congratulated. Yet, I wrote back to my fan with thanks coupled with an admonition. "While it is nice to get such reassuring compliments," I wrote to him, "I am trying to get my fans to write about it to others, and first and foremost to the newspapers that carried the reports. In this case, the Associated Press report stresses that it is the world's FIRST genetically modified primate; what a Letter to the Editor should point out is that according to Sumerian texts reported by Zecharia Sitchin in his books The 12th Planet and Genesis Revisited, ADAM was the first genetically modified primate, some 300,000 years ago!"

The news about the genetically modified rhesus monkey was just one item in an avalanche of reports on human genetics, cloning etc. in which the names of Enki and Ninharsag could well replace the names of Dr. Schatten, Dr. Phyllis Leppert (and their other modern colleagues). So please -- TELL IT TO THE NEWSPAPERS!


The continuing carnage in Iraq is reflected in many readers’ letter to me. 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 prophecied becomes both intriguing and relevant.

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 judgements 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 linen
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 desdolate.

Revelation 18:15-18

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 his wrath.

Revelation 16:17, 19

As events in Iraq unfold, we will see whether they will follow the prophetic script to its cataclysmic conclusion.

© Z. Sitchin, 2005