Chapter Twelve

"Was the crossing of the paths of Marduk and Abraham in Harran just a chance coincidence, or was Harran chosen by the unseen hand of Fate?

"....The key events, recorded for posterity by eyewitnesses, began and ended with the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies concerning Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon; and they included the departure of a god from his temple and his city, his ascent to the heavens, and his return from the heavens a half century later.

"And, for a reason perhaps more metaphysical than geographic or geopolitical, so many of the crucial events of the last two millennia of the count that began when the gods, meeting in council, decided to give Mankind civilization, took place in or around Harran.

"We have already mentioned in passing the detour of Esarhaddon to Harran.... It was when Esarhaddon contemplated an attack on Egypt, he turned northward instead of westward and looked for "the cedarwood temple" in Harran. There "he saw the god Sin leaning on a staff, with two crowns on his head. The god Nusku was standing before him. The father of my majesty the king enter the temple. The god placed a crown upon his head, saying: ’You will go to countries, therein you will conquer!’ He departed and conquered Egypt." (Nusku, we know from Sumerian God List, was a member of Sin’s entourage).

"The invasion of Egypt by Esarhaddon is a historical fact, fully making true Isaiah’s prophecy. The details of the detour to Harran additionally serve to confirm the presence there, in 675 B.C., of the god Sin; for it was several decades later that Sin "became angry with the city and its people" and was gone - to the heavens.

"Nowadays Harran still stands where it did in the time of Abraham and his family.... But the pride of the place was the temple dedicated to the god Sin, in whose ruins written testimony of the miraculous events concerning Nannar/Sin has survived the millennia.

"The testimony was not hearsay; it consisted of eyewitness reports. They were not anonymous witnesses, but a woman named Adda-Guppi and her son Nabuna’id. They were not, as happens nowadays, a country sheriff and his mother reporting a UFO sighting in some sparsely inhabited area. She was the High Priestess of the great temple of Sin, a sacred and revered shrine since millennia before her time; her son was the last king of the mightiest empire on Earth in those days, Babylon.

"The High Priestess and her son the king recorded the events on stelae - stone columns inscribed in cuneiform script, accompanied by pictorial depictions. Four of them have been found this century (twentieth) by archaeologists, and it is believed that the stelae were placed by the king and his mother each at each corner of the renowned temple to the Moon god in Harran, the E.HUL.HUL ("Temple of Double Joy").... It was on the stelae of Adda-Guppi, the temple’s High Priestess, that the departure and heavenly ascent of the god Sin were recorded, and it was in the inscriptions of the king, Nabuna’id that the god’s miraculous and unique return were reported. With an evident sense of history and in the manner of a trained temple official, Adda-Guppi provided in her stelae precise dates for the outstanding events....

"....She was born, Adda-Guppi wrote, in the twentieth year of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria - in the middle of the seventh century B.C. Though in her inscriptions Adda-Guppi does not state her genealogy, other sources suggest that she stemmed from a distinguished lineage. She lived, according to her inscription, through the reigns of several Assyrian and Babylonian kings, reaching the ripe old age of ninety-five when the miraculous events had taken place. Scholars have found her listings of reigns to be in accord with Assyrian and Babylonian annals.

"Here is the record of the first remarkable occurrence, in Adda-Guppi’s own words:

It was the sixteenth year of Nabupolassar,
king of Babylon, when Sin, lord of gods,
became angry with his city and his temple
and went up to heaven;
and the city and the people in it
went to ruin.

"....The year was 610 B.C. - when the defeated Assyrian army retreated to Harran for a last stand.

"There are quite a number of issues that call for clarification as a result of this statement: Was Sin "angry with the city and its people" because they let the Assyrian in? Did he decide to leave on account of the Assyrians, or the approaching Umman-Manda hordes? How, by what means, did he go up to heaven - and where did he go? To another place on Earth, or away from Earth, a celestial place? The writings of Adda-Guppi gloss over these issues, and for the moment we, too, shall leave the questions hanging.

"....Indeed, the desolation in the abandoned Harran brings to mind the opening words of the biblical Book of Lamentations about the desolate and desecrated Jerusalem: "How solitary lies the city, once so full of people! Once great among the nations, now become a widow; once queen among the provinces, now become a tributary."

"While others fled, Adda-Guppi stayed on. "Daily, without ceasing, by day and night, for months, for years," she went to the abandoned shrines.... mourning....

"....Then, in the abandoned sacred precinct, she discovered a robe that had once belonged to Sin. It must have been a magnificent garment, in the manner of robes worn at the time by various deities, as depicted on monuments from Mesopotamia.... She could not take her eyes off the sacred garb, daring not to touch it except by "taking hold of its hem." As if the god himself was there to listen, she prostrated herself and "in prayer and humility" uttered the following vow:

If you would return to your city,
all the Black-Headed people
would worship your divinity!

""Black-Headed people", was a term used by the Sumerians to describe themselves; and the employment of the term by the High Priestess in Harran was highly unusual. Sumer, as a political-religious entity, had ceased to exist almost 1,500 years before the time of Adda-Guppi, when the land and its capital, the City of Ur, fell victim to a deadly nuclear cloud in 2024 B.C. Sumer, by Adda-Guppi’s time, was just a hallowed memory.... the "Black-Headed" people dispersed to many lands....

"....It was a true vision of the Return of the Exiles and a Restoration of a god in his ancient cult center worthy of biblical prophecies. To achieve that, Adda-Guppi proposed her god a deal: if he would return and then use his authority and divine powers to make her son Nabuna’id the next imperial king, reigning in Babylon over both the Babylonian and Assyrian domains - Nabuna’id would restore the temple of Sin in Ur and would reinstate the worship of Sin in all the lands where the Black-Headed people dwelt!

"The Moon god liked the idea. "Sin, lord of the gods of Heaven and Earth, for my good doings looked upon me with a smile; he heard my prayers, he accepted my vow. The wrath of his heart calmed; toward Ehulhul, the temple of Sin in Harran, the divine residence in which his heart rejoiced, he became reconciled, and he had a change of heart."

"The smiling god, Adda-Guppi wrote on in her inscription, accepted the deal.

Sin, lord of the gods,
looked with favor upon my words.
Nabuna’id, my only son,
issue of my womb, to the kingship he called -
the kingship of Sumer and Akkad.
All the lands from the border of Egypt,
from the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea,
in his hands he entrusted.

"Grateful and overwhelmed, Adda-Guppi raised her hands and "reverently, with imploration" thanked the god for "pronouncing the name of Nabuna’id, calling him to kingship...."

"In a postscript added to the inscriptions when Adda-Guppi aged 104, was on her deathbed (or recording her words right after she passed on), the text reported that both sides kept their bargain: "I myself saw it fulfilled"; Sin "honored his word which he spoke to me," causing Nabuna’id to become king of a new Sumer and Akkad (in 555 B.C.).

"....The duplicate stela’s inscription contains nineteen additional lines undoubtedly added by Adda-Guppi’s son. In the ninth year of Nabuna’id - in 546 B.C. -

"the Fate of herself carried her off, Nabuna’id her son, issue of her womb, emtombed her corpse, wrapped in (royal) robes and pure white linen. He adorned her body with splendid ornaments of gold set with beautiful precious stones. With sweet oils he anointed her body, and laid to rest in a secret place."

"The mourning for the king’s mother was widespread. "People from Babylon and Borsippa, dwellers of far regions, kings, princes, and governors came from the border of Egypt on the Upper Sea unto the Lower Sea" - from Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. The mourning which included casting ashes upon the head, weeping, and self-inflicted cuts, lasted seven days.

"Before we turn to the inscriptions of Nabuna’id and their miracle-filled tales, one must stop to wonder how - if what Adda-Guppi had recorded was true - she managed to communicate with a deity that by her own statement was no longer in the temple or in the city - gone and ascended to heaven, in fact.

"The first part, that of Adda-Guppi addressing her god, is easy....: Prayer, as a way of laying before the deity one’s fears and worries, asking for health or good fortune or long life, even seeking guidance for the right choices between alternatives, is still with us....

Indeed, prayer as a means of communicating with one’s deity probably preceded the written word and, according to the Bible, began when the first humans became Homo sapiens: it was when Enosh ("Homo sapiens Man"), the grandson of Adam and Eve, was born, "that it was begun to call the name of God" (Genesis 4:26).

"Touching the hem of the god’s robe, prostrating herself, with great humility Adda-Guppi prayed to Sin. She did so day after day, until he heard her prayers and responded.

"Now comes the more tricky part - how did Sin respond, how could his words or message reach the High Priestess?

"The inscription itself provides the answer....

In a dream
Sin, lord of the gods,
laid his two hands on me.
He spoke to me, thus:
"On account of you
the gods will return to inhabit Harran.
I will entrust your son, Nabuna’id,
with the divine residences in Harran.
He shall rebuild the Ehulhul,
shall perfect its structure;
he will restore Harran and make her
more perfect than it was before."

"....Throughout the ancient world kings and priests, patriarchs and prophets received the divine word through the medium of dreams. They could be oracle dreams or omen ones, sometimes with words only heard, sometimes including visions....

A victory Stela of Sin

"....Nabuna’id also reported divine communications received by means of dreams. But his inscriptions reported much more: a unique event and a theophany. His two stelae (referred to by scholars as H2A and H2B are adorned at their tops with a depiction of the king holding an unusual staff and facing the symbols of three celestial bodies, the planetary gods that he venerated....

This is the great miracle of Sin
that has by gods and goddesses
not happened to the land,
since days of old unknown;
That the people of the Land
had neither seen nor found written
on tablets since days of old;
That divine Sin,
lord of gods and goddesses,
residing in the heavens,
has come down from the heavens -
in full view of Nabuna’id
king of Babylon.

"The claim that this was a unique miracle was not unjustified, for the event entailed both a return of a deity and a theophany - two aspects of divine interaction with humans that, as the inscriptions cautiously qualifies, were not unknown in the Days of Old.... the fact is that such events did happen.

"Thus, in the turbulent times that ended with the demise of the Sumerian empire circa 2000 B.C., the god Enlil, who was away somewhere else, hurried back to Sumer when he was notified that his city, Nippur, was in danger. According to an inscription by the Sumerian king Shu-Sin, Enlil returned "flying from horizon to horizon; from south to north he traveled; through the skies, over the Earth, he hurried."

"....Some five hundred years later - still almost a thousand before the return and teophany of Sin - the greatest theophany on record took place in the Sinai peninsula, during the Israelite Exodus from Egypt. Notified in advance and told how to prepare for the event, the Children of Israel - all 600,000 of them - witnessed the Lord descending upon Mount Sinai. The Bible stresses that it was done "in full sight of the people" (Exodus 19:11). But that great theophany was not a return.

"Such divine comings and goings, including the ascent and descent of Sin to and from the heavens, imply that the Great Anunnaki possessed the required flying vehicles - and indeed they did. Yahweh landed on Mount Sinai in an object that the Bible called Kabod that had the appearance of a "devouring fire" (Exodus 24:11) the Prophet Ezequiel described the Kabod (usually translated "glory" but which literally means "the heavy thing") as a luminous and radiating vehicle equipped with wheels within wheels. He might have had in mind something comparable to the circular chariot in which the Assyrian god Ashur was depicted. Ninurta possessed the Imdugud, the "Divine Black Bird"; and Marduk had a special housing built in his sacred precinct in Babylon for his "Supreme Traveler"; it was probably the same vehicle that the Egyptian called the Celestial Boat of Ra.

"What about Sin and his celestial comings and goings?

"That Sin indeed possessed such a flying vehicle - an essential requirement for the heavenward departure and return reported in the Harran inscriptions - is attested by many hymns to him....

Father Nannar, Lord of Ur
Whose glory is the sacred Boat of Heaven . . .
When in the Boat of Heaven thou ascendeth,
thou art glorious.
Enlil hath adorned thy hand with a scepter,
everlasting when over Ur
in the Sacred Boat thou mountest.

"While no depiction of the Moon god’s "Boat of Heaven" has so far been identified, a possible depiction does exist.

Mr. Sitchin relates at this point the event of the prophet Elijah, when he was taken to heaven, by the Jordan River, leaving Elisha behind; a description of the chariot follows:

A fiery chariot with fiery horses
suddenly appeared
and separated them one from the other;
and Elijah went up to heaven
in a whirlwind.

"According to Jewish tradition, the Prophet Elijah will return someday to announce the Messianic Time.

"That Adda-Guppi and her son Nabuna’id thought that such a time had indeed arrived, signaled and signified by the Return of the Moon god, is evident. They expected their Messianic Time to usher in an era of peace and prosperity, a new era that would begin with the rebuilding and rededication of the Temple of Harran.

"That similar prophetic visions had taken place at about the same time regarding the God and the Temple of Jerusalem is, on the other hand, hardly realized. But that, in fact, was the subject of the prophecies of Ezequiel - that began "when the heavens opened" and he saw the radiating celestial chariot coming in a whirlwind.

"The chronology provided in the Harran inscriptions, as verified by scholars from Assyrian and Babylonian annals, indicates that Adda-Guppi was born circa 650 B.C.; that Sin departed from his temple in Harran in 610 B.C. - and returned in 556 B.C. That was the exact same period when Ezequiel, who had been a priest in Jerusalem was called to prophecy when he was among the Judean exiles in northern Mesopotamia. We are provided by him with an exact date: it was on the fifth day of the fourth month in the fifth year of the exile of the Judean king Jeho’iachin, "when I was among the exiles on the banks of the river Khebar that the heavens opened up and I saw divine visions" Ezequiel wrote right at the beginning of his prophecies. The time was 592 B.C.!

"....Ezequiel was one of the several thousand noblemen, priests, and other leaders of Judea who were captured and taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who overran Jerusalem in 597 B.C.

"Those tragic events are detailed in the second book of Kings, mainly 24:8-12. Remarkably, a Babylonian clay tablet (part of the series known as The Babylonian Chronicles) recorded the very same events, with matching dates.

"Remarkably too, this Babylonian expedition - like the earlier one by Esarhaddon - was also launched from a starting point near Harran.

"....For a while - apparently for the first five years - the exiles believed that the calamities that had befallen their city and temple and themselves were a temporary setback....

"....But no sooner had Ezequiel been called to prophecy, in the fifth year of exile (592 B.C.), than the Lord God instructed him to announce to the people that the exile and the sacking of Jerusalem and its Temple were not the end of the ordeal. It was only meant as a warning to the people to mend their ways - behave with justice toward each other, and worship Yahweh according to the commandments. But, said Yahweh to Ezequiel, the people did not mend their ways; rather, they turned to the worship of "alien gods." Therefore, said the Lord God, Jerusalem shall be attacked again, and this time it shall be totally destroyed, temple and all.

"The instrument of his wrath, Yahweh said, would again be the king of Babylon. It is an established and known historical fact....

"....This much is indeed known. But what is hardly known is the reason why the warning was not heeded by the people and their remaining leaders in Jerusalem. It was their belief that "Yahweh has left the Earth!"

"Accorded what would these days he deemed "remote vision," Ezequiel was shown first the Elders of Jerusalem behind their closed doors, then taken on a visionary tour of the city’s streets. There was a complete breakdown of justice and religious observances, for the word that got out was

Yahweh sees us no more -
Yahweh has left the Earth!

"It was in 610 B.C., according to the Harran inscriptions, that "Sin, lord of gods, became angry with his city and his temple and went up to heaven." It was in 597 B.C. - just over a decade later - that Yahweh became angry with Jerusalem his city and its people, and let the uncircumcised Nebuchadnezzar - a king by the grace of Marduk - enter, loot and destroy the Temple of Yahweh.

"And the people cried out: "God has left the Earth!"
"And they knew not when, or if ever, He would return.



"His mother’s expectations for Nabuna’id, as a reuniter of Sumer and Akkad and restorer of the glorious Olden Days, did not prepare the new king for the turmoil that he soon faced. He might have expected military challenges; he did not anticipate the religious fervor with which his domains were seized.

"No sooner was he on the royal throne in Babylon, under a deal between his mother and Sin, than he realized that Marduk - once removed and since returned to Babylon - had to be appeased and given his due. In a series of true or pretended omen-dreams, Nabuna’id reported obtaining the blessing of Marduk (and Nabu) not only to his kingship, but also to the promised rebuilding of Sin’s temple in Harran.

"To leave no doubt the importance of those dream-messages, the king reported that Marduk specifically inquired of him whether he had seen the "Great Star, the planet of Marduk" - a direct reference to Nibiru - and what other planets were in conjunction with it. When the king reported that they were the "god 30" (the Moon, Sin’s celestial counterpart) and the "god 15" (Ishtar and her counterpart Venus), he was told: "There are no evil portents in the conjunction."

"But neither the people of Harran nor the people of Babylon were happy with this "co-regnum" of the gods, nor were the followers of Ishtar "and the other gods." Sin, whose temple in Harran was eventually restored demanded that his great temple in Ur should become again a center of worship. Ishtar complained that her golden cela in Uruk (Erech) must be reconstructed and that she be given again a chariot drawn by seven lions. And, as one reads between the lines of the king’s inscription, he was getting fed up with that tug and pull by multiple gods and their priesthoods.

"In a text titled by scholars Nabuna’id and the Clergy of Babylon (on a tablet now in the British Museum), the priests of Marduk presented a charge sheet, a list of accusations against Nabuna’id; they ran from civil matters ("law and order are not promulgated by him") through economic neglect ("the farmers are corrupted," "the trader’s roads are blocked") and unsuccessful wars ("the nobles are killed in war") to the most serious charges: religious sacrilege -

He made an image of a god
which nobody had seen before in the land;
He placed it in the temple,
raised it upon a pedestal . . .
With lapis lazuli he adorned it,
crowned it with a tiara . . .

"It was a statue of a strange deity - never seen before, the priests stressed - with "hair reaching down to the pedestal." It was so unusual or unseemly that not even Enki and Ninmah could have conceived it, so strange that "not even the learned Adapa knows his name." To make matters worse, two unusual beasts were sculpted as its guardians: one representing the Deluge Demon and the other a Wild Bull. To add insult to sacrilege, the king placed this abomination in the Esagil temple of Marduk and announced that the Akitu (New Year) festival, which was central to the equating of Marduk, with the celestial Nibiru, would no longer be celebrated.

"The priests announced for all to hear that "the protective deity of Nabuna’id became hostile to him," that "the former favorite of the gods was now fated to misfortune." And so Nabuna’id announced that he was leaving Babylon "on an expedition to a distant region." He named his son Bel-sharuzur ("Bel/Marduk protects the king" - the Belshazzar of the Book of Daniel) as regent.

"His destination was Arabia.... Some believe that Nabuna’id was seeking the seclusion of the desert to contemplate monotheism.... The bulk of the evidence suggests, however, that he was propagating the worship of Sin, the Moon god symbolized by the crescent - a symbol adopted in time by the Arabian worshippers of Allah.

"Whatever the religious beliefs Nabuna’id was captivated by, they were anathema by the priests of Babylon, And so, when the Achaemenid rulers of Persia absorbed the kingdom of Medea and expanded into Mesopotamia, Cyrus the king was welcomed in Babylon not as a conqueror but as a liberator. Wisely, he rushed to the Esagil temple as soon as he entered the city and "held the hands of Marduk by both hands."

"The year was 539 B.C.; it marked the prophesied end of Babylonian independent existence.

"One of his first acts was to issue a proclamation permitting Jewish exiles to return to Juda and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. The edict, recorded on the Cylinder of Cyrus that is now kept in the British Museum, corroborates the Biblical report, according to which Cyrus "was charged to do so by Yahweh, the God of Heaven."

"The rebuilding of the Temple, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, was completed in 516 B.C. - seventy years after its destruction, as had been prophecied by Jeremiah.

"The story of Babylon’s end is told in the Bible in one of its most enigmatic books, the book of Daniel. Introducing Daniel as one of the Judean exiles taken into Babylonian captivity, it relates how he was selected, with three other friends, to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar and how (as Joseph in Egypt) he was elevated to high office after solving the king’s omen-dreams about future events.

"The book then moves to events at the time of Belshazzar, when, during a great banquet, a hand floating by itself appeared and wrote on the wall MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN. Not one of the king’s seers and wizards could decipher the inscription. As a last resort, Daniel - now long retired - was called in. And Daniel explained the meaning to the Babylonian king:

God has numbered the days of your kingdom: you have been weighed and found wanting; your kingdom will come to an end, divided between the Medes and the Persians.

"After that Daniel himself began to have omen-dreams and see visions of the future in which the "Ancient of Days" and his archangels played key roles. Baffled by his own dreams and visions, Daniel asked the angels for explanations. In each instance they turned out to be predictions of future events that went beyond the fall of Babylon, even beyond the fulfillment of the seventy-year prophecy of the rebuilding of the Temple. The rise and fall of the Persian Empire was predicted, the coming of the Greeks under Alexander, the split of his domains after his death, and what followed.

"Though many modern scholars - but not Jewish sages of the Fathers of the Christian Church - take those prophecies (only accurate in part) as hindsight, indicating a much later author (or even several authors), the central point of the dreams, visions, and omens experienced by Daniel is a preoccupation with the question: When? When will be the final kingdom, the only one that will survive and last?

"It will be one that only the followers of the God Most High, "The ancient of Days," will live to see (even the dead among them, who will rise). But over and over again, Daniel kept asking the angels: When?

"In one instance the angel responded that a phase in the future events, a time when an unholy king shall try to "change the times and the laws," will last "a time, times, and half a time;" only after that will "the kingdoms under heaven be given to the people, the holy ones of the Most High."

"Another time the revealing angel said:

"Seventy weeks of years have been decreed for your people and your city until the measure of transgression is filled and prophetic vision ratified."

"One more time a divine emissary was asked by Daniel:

"How long until the end of these awful things?" He got again an enigmatic answer: The fulfillment of all the prophecied things shall come after "a time, times, and half a time."

""I heard and did not understand," Daniel wrote, "So I said, my Lord, what will be the outcome of these things?

" Speaking still in codes, the divine being answered,

"From the time the regular offering is abolished and an appalling abomination is set up it will be a thousand and two hundred and ninety years. Happy is the one who waits and reaches one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days."

"As Daniel stood puzzled, the Angel of God added:

You, Daniel, shall rest and arise
to your destiny at the End of Days . . .
But keep the words secret,
and seal the book until the End of Time.

"At the End of Time, when the nations of Earth shall gather in Jerusalem, they shall all speak "in a clear language," stated the Prophet Zephaniah (whose very name meant "By Yahweh encoded") - there will no longer be a need for confounded languages and letters to be read backward and hidden encodings.

"And, as Daniel, we are still asking: When?