Daniel, the Visionary of Israel

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Rosh HaShanahThere is no mystery more shrouded than the time of the קֵץ, or End – referring to the End of Days. This special time is marked by the arrival of a wicked ruler which is followed by the arrival of the King Messiah, a messianic Israeli leader who will help usher in an era of peace and justice.

A passage from Megillah 3a tells us that within the Ketuvim (writings) the Kietz or End is contained, meaning the time when the Messiah was to come who would lead Israel to it’s final redemption. The Book of Daniel is part of that biblical collection. The closing chapters of Daniel contain the visions of the ‘Kietz’, but Daniel was instructed by the angel Gabriel to conceal them from human understanding. Jewish tradition tells us that Yonathan ben Uziel, most brilliant of Hillels disciples, revealed the mysteries of the prophets in what we know as the Targums, but when he desired to reveal the secrets of the Writings, a heavenly voiced forbid it, because the secret of the End is contained there.

A kietz or end is a point in time where the culmination of God’s plan is brought about leading to a redemption or to the final redemption. Due to the numerous well-meaning and some not so well meaning scholars who have tried to interpret the exact time when the Messiah was to be revealed, and the numerous disappointments and tragedies that resulted from these incorrect datings, the sages hoping to discourage anyone from trying to determine the date, pronounced a curse upon those who would try. One only need look at the messianic aspirations of the Great Revolt which spawned numerous messianic pretenders and resulted in the deaths of over one million Jews.

Nevertheless, some very prominent rabbi’s have made calculations of the Kietz – R’ Saadia Gaon, Rambam and Ramban. These however are noteworthy in that these calculations were allowed in Jewish communities that were under going intense persecution and forced conversions – such as the Jews of Yemen who were beset by a government who demanded conversion to Islam who sought advice from Rabbi Moshe Maimon. The Jews of Catholic Spain were also under duress to convert.

In these cases, these Jewish communities were in dire need of hope and encouragement and the study of the End was particularly uplifting because it foretold of the demise of Israel’s enemies and the re-establishment of the Davidic Kingdom. In fact one of the prominent features of the Apocalyptic genre, of which the Book of Daniel is archetypical, was to give comfort to a persecuted people.
Daniels visions are part of the apocalyptic tradition and in reality its foundational document. During his days, the Jewish people needed encouragement that God had not abandoned them and that he was working on their behalf to bring about thier redemption.

In the realm of the Final Redemption, two possibilities exist. One, that the guelah (redemption) will occur through Israel’s meritorious deeds. And two, that the guelah will come at ‘its appointed time’ if Israels does not merit it by good deeds.

It should be understood that the sages cautioned that no man knows the time of the End. The End is hidden. But within Daniel lies the knowledge to know how to recognize the signs that indicate when the Kietz – The End of Days is drawing near. It is these signs that we will look at to help us determine if indeed we are in the time of the End.

Prophet or Seer?

Any attempt to decode the Book of Daniel is fraught with numerous challenges. As we look into the visions of Daniel, we will find that the prophesies derived from them have their fulfilment in a specific period of history called the Time of the End. Various bible teachers including the self proclaimed type, attempt to interpret the Book of Daniel without first acknowledging the type of literature and culture they are dealing with. This leads to inadequate or incorrect understanding of this essential link to the Last Days. Our attempt here is not to give a highly detailed interpretation of Daniels visions but to present a foundational understanding which aligns itself with biblical principles, the traditions of Israel’s sages and the historical underpinnings. In areas we a clearly speculating upon will be identified as such.

Prophecy is HaShem’s excursion into the material world.  It is ‘clothed’ in language and images of the Creation.  Daniels prophecies are in reality visions or more to the point – dreams, which require interpretation.  In the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) only two people are noted with the ability to interpret dreams – Joseph and Daniel.

The images of beasts in his visions are symbols which are graphic representations of God’s truth.  In Joseph’s interpretation of Pharoah’s dream, lean cows and wheat represent  lean and fat years.  In Daniels dreams, animals represented kingdoms and the span of world history.

In understanding these kingdoms and spans of history within the Book of Daniel, we must understand that each one of these four metals or four beast represent four different Jewish exiles under the four successive world empires. The Jewish exile is ongoing to this day.

This is important to note, especially when trying to interpret the most difficult of all these, that of the fourth beast.  The sages of Israel have stated that only upon the fall of the fourth and last of these kingdoms would bring גְאוּלָה  שְׁלֵמַה  lasting redemption.  The Jewish people have been in exile for almost 2700 years and the last exile, the Edomite/Ishmael exile, which is coming to it’s conclusion, is represented by the fourth beast. Even though many of the Jewish people have returned to their ancient homeland, there are many who are still outside the Land and still part of the galut or exile.

Daniel was a visionary and mystic sage living in Babylon during the Babylonian galut or exile. Though various non-Jewish schools of thought consider Daniel a prophet, in truth we cannot consider him to be one in the same sense as the old Kingdom prophets prior to the Babylonian exile. Unlike the prophets such as Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amoz, Daniel received no direct communication from HaShem. No “say to the children of Israel, thus says the Lord…”

Daniel, however did receive direct communication with HaShem’s malakhim (messengers or angels). And not just any malakh, but Gabriel one of the four angels that stand at the four sides of God’s throne and serve as guardian angels of the four parts of the globe.1According to the Talmud, the three angels that appeared to Abraham in Genesis chapter 18 were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; Michael, as the greatest, walked in the middle, with Gabriel to his right and Raphael to his left (Yoma 37a). It is said that Michael stands at the right hand of God, Gabriel at His left. Gabriel is, according to the Talmud, the “man clothed with linen” mentioned in Ezek. ix. 3 and x. 2 (Yoma 77a).

The book of Daniel is the first of its kind in a long line of apocalyptic writings. Apocalyptic literature is based on dream visions and use strange symbology and angelic intermediaries who sometimes supply the interpretation of the dream vision. However, those visions are not to be understood literally but symbolically. Even the interpretation given by the angels needs to be deciphered and the symbols interpreted. In the Tanakh, dreams are never literal. This is an important principle to understand and will go a long way in helping us avoid improper interpretations.

Even in the Christian New Testament, Peter’s dream in Acts chapter 10 was never taken literally until the ascension of Gentile leadership within the followers of Jesus. The Gentile Church used a literal interpretation to impose an interpretation to the dream, which was outside of traditional Jewish thinking and quite anti-Semitic in tone. Quite clearly within the text of Acts, Peter himself does not understand the dream until God supplies the meaning of which has absolutely nothing to do with the eating of food whether it be kosher or unclean, but table fellowship between Jews and non-Jews.

Sealed Until the Kietz

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. (Daniel 12:4)

During the last two millenia, many schools of prophetic thought have proposed various scenarios concerning the coming of the End of Days, but it was the return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land in 1948, and Jerusalem being freed of Gentile domination in 1967, that truly opened the door to a new understanding of the prophecies of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible.

One thing which may upset the reader, depending on his religious tradition, is that any specific prophetic scenarios put forth by religious men prior to the modern age are questionable at best. All views theorized out of Daniel before 1967 would at best be incomplete. While studying Daniel certainly would have had some benefit, a detailed understanding of the prophesies were out of the question because HaShem had ordained it to be so:

“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan 12:9).

This sealing of Daniel’s prophetic visions applied as well to the Church throughout the Christian era. The Church has postulated various interpretations surrounding Daniel’s visions. But the seminal event which changed all that was the re-acquisition of Jerusalem, during a Yovel (jubilee) year.

Until the appointed time, only HaShem could know what was going to unfold during the end. There have been many who have had to re-assess their understanding of the Last Days simply because the facts on the ground have changed.  But many still cling to their antiquated theologies and therefore may not recognize the brazen-faced contemptible king who would arise during the final conflict with the enemies of God, until it’s too late.

The Time of the End began in 1967 when Jerusalem was re-captured by the Israeli Defense Forces thus terminating Gentile control of Jerusalem. In 1948 CE, the new nation of Israel was established and in 1967, Jerusalem again came under Jewish control for the first time in 2573 years.

Daniel prophesies were sealed until the Time of the End.

Y’hudah ben Shmuel (Judah Ben Samuel) was a prolific German rabbi of the 12th century who made some astonishing and specific predictions about the future of Jerusalem and Israel that came true. Judah Ben Samuel, also known as Judah he-Hasid (Judah the Pious), lived and worked from the end of the 12th century until the beginning of the 13th century in Regensburg, authoring a number of books in the German language. Ludwig Schneider of Israel Today has translated some of his work into English over the last few years, including The Book of the Pious – Sefer Hasidim and the Book of Calculations – Sefer Gematriyot. His identification of the beginning of messianic times corresponds to 1967 as we shall show.

Ben Samuel was often called “Light of Israel.” Even bishops came to him for advice. If anyone asked him where his wisdom came from he would answer, “The prophet Elijah, who will proceed the Messiah, appeared to me and revealed many things to me and emphasized that the precondition for answered prayer is that it is fueled by enthusiasm and joy for the greatness and holiness of God.”

Judah Ben Samuel published the results of his biblical calculations and astrological observations and summarized as follows: “When the Ottomans conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”

One jubilee (yovel – Heb.) is 50 years (Leviticus 25). In reality it is a nation wide ‘reset’ in which land which had been leased or bought had to returned to it’s rightful owners and slaves were set free. During the First Temple Period, Israel suffered God’s judgement because they often ignored these just commandments and perverted God’s Torah.

Ben Samuel’s calculations were purely theoretical; there was absolutely no sign at that time of their being fulfilled. He himself was not able to experience their fulfillment, for it was only 300 years after his death that the first of his predictions were to come true.

The Mamluks, who had been ruling Jerusalem since 1250 CE, were conquered in 1517 by the Ottoman Turks. They ruled for eight jubilees or 400 years. In 1917, the Ottoman Turks were conquered by the British. 400 years after the Turks took control of Jerusalem they were driven out of the city and the holy land in 1917 by the Allied forces under the command of General George Allenby on the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The League of Nations conferred the Mandate for the Holy Land and Jerusalem to the British. Therefore under international law, Jerusalem was no-man’s land beginning in 1917.

Then, when Israel captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War (1967), exactly one jubilee later, Jerusalem reverted to Jewish-Israeli ownership once again for the first time in over 1900 years. Thereby, according to the prophecies of ben Shmuel, 1967 is the beginning of the Time of the End. Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews people and the kietz (end) would begin would begin. This tenth and last jubilee ends in 1917, about four years from now.

The secret of how Judah the Pious arrived at such accurate predictions has less to do with the actual calculations than it does with the fact that he had consecrated his life to God. His pupils Rabbi Isaac ben Moses (Vienna), Rabbi Baruch ben Samuel (Mainz) and Rabbi Simcha (Speyer) testify that Ben Samuel was a model of abstinence and selflessness and was awaiting with a burning desire the coming of the Messiah.

one stoneDaniel Chapter Two Vision

King Nebudchadnezzar’s statue, revealed to Daniel in a dream is the very first revelation of the entire span of human history and government. Rabbi Moshe Alshich, (1508-1600) student of Rabbi Yosef Caro and immenent teacher of Rabbi Chaim Vital, taught that the 60 cubit statute that Nebudchadnezzar made refers to the primary epochs of human history, ending with the Kingdom of HaShem. He said that in Nebuchadnezzars dream, the history of man was divided into four periods, each represented by a section of the image, being composed of different material.  And because the fourth kingdom was composed of two substances, iron and earthenware (clay), it represented a total of five kingdoms, which would be followed by a sixth kingdom – the government of HaShem.

The kingdoms in Daniels visions including the dream image of Nebuchadnezzar, are all with us today though they generally have different names.  Babylon is today’s Iraq, Persia is now called Iran. The Roman empire is broken up into the European Union and Greece comprises the nation of Greece and the Balkan States. The territory of the ancient empires of Babylon and Medo-Persia  now comprise of a majority of what can described as the Islamic Block, stretching from India to Africa. Greece and Rome comprise what is nominally known as the Christian West.

Christian authors have been instrumental in raising awareness of the Time of the Kietz or End. Though they seldom utilize the Hebrew term, more well known terms such as the Tribulation, the Last Days, End of Days, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and the like have become more of household terms because of the Christian culture. As a Jew I am thankful of their contribution in spreading knowledge of HaShem and the End of Days prophecies which will bring about the Kingdom of HaShem under Davidic governance.

However, with that said, how Jews see concepts such as the End of Days and the Kingdom of HaShem, differ considerably than the theology of our Christian friends. For instance, the term Kingdom of God in Christian tradition and theology concerns itself with a time when God rules the world under the grace of their saviour Jesus, with the Church being the administrators of his will and law. This kingdom concept is of course is nowhere to be found in the Tanakh.

Before we dive into the human governments outlined in Daniel, I believe it to be extremely important to understand God’s government, not necessarily His universal rule over all of Creation, but specifically His kingdom on earth known in the Book of Daniel as The One Stone.

The Kingdom of the One Stone

Our rabbi’s and sages acknowledge the world wide rule of God through the House of David – “…For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a standard for the peoples; and his resting place will be glorious.”

While it is true that the Kingdom of God resides in the hearts of men and that HaShem rules over that kingdom and the universe at large, it’s return to earth is the hope of the Jewish people, to be realized again at the Kietz. The Kingdom of Heaven is not some ethereal Kingdom in a spiritual realm, that we ascend to upon our death.  It is a tangible Kingdom here on earth that was established by HaShem Himself at Mount Sinai 3500 years ago. This kingdom was ordained by HaShem in the wilderness, as it says:  “You shall be My kingdom of priests, my holy nation.  These are the words you shall speak to the Israelites.”

HaShem established His visible and tangible kingdom on earth at the Revelation at Sinai when the gift of the Torah was bestowed upon Israel. That kingdom follows the laws of the King, called the Torah.6 That kingdom eventually was represented by the House of David, after the era of the Judges. The following passage clearly indicates that the Davidic line sits upon the throne of HaShem’s kingdom on earth:

1 Chronicles 28:2-5 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be     king over Israel forever For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. “Of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons), He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the Kingdom of the LORD over Israel.

This designation was not given to the idolatrous Northern Kingdom of Jeroboam but only refers to the Davidic Dynasty thru Solomon, Rehoboam and is seen again in 2 Chronicles referring to the Davidic Dynasty through Rehoboam’s son Abijah:

“So now you intend to resist the kingdom of the Lord through the sons of David, being a great multitude and having with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made for gods for you.” 2 Chronicles 13:8

Millenia ago, after the reign of King Solomon, the Northern Kingdom (Israel) rebelled against the Mashiach – the anointed Davidic King who ruled upon the throne over the Kingdom of God over all of Israel, the House of Judah and Israel. The House of Judah had been and still is the appointed Lawgiver over the nation.

Genesis 49:10
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Psalm 60:7
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;

The rebellion of 10 Israel was a repudiation of not only the House of David and Judah, but also a rejection of the Torah and God. This rebellion resulted in an idolatrous Israelite state which eventually was sent into exile.

Scripture attests to is a worldwide exile of the Northern Kingdom, popularly known as the Lost Ten Tribes and the House of Judah (Judah, Benjamin and the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood).  The Assyrian exile of the Northern tribes occurred over 2700 years ago. Some 150 years later the House of Judah was also sent into an initial 70 year exile in Babylon, from which a small remnant returned. Another exile after the Great Revolt sent them into a 1900 year exile under Rome or Edom as it is referred to in rabbinic literature.

The Scripture also tells us that prior to the End of Days, HaShem would begin to re-gather His people into the land of Israel – first the House of Judah and then later the other tribes. The Sages of Israel understood that the Messianic Kingdom referred to the restored 12 tribe Kingdom under a Davidic King. This will take place under the authority of a Davidic king.

Note Ezekiel’s prophetic words:

The word of the Lord came again to me saying,  “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.  When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’  say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”

“ The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.  Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;  and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms.  They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their [g]dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.

“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.  They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.  I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will [h]place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.  My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.  And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”    -Ezekiel 37:15-28

The Kingdom of God and the One Stone of Daniel chapter two is one and the same. This kingdom is a re-united kingdom of Israel, constituting both houses under Davidic kingship, established by HaShem. Even the use of the terms Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven within the Christian New Testament should be understood within a Jewish cultural context, not a Christian one. Christianity did not exist inside of the land of Israel until the 2nd century C.E. Christianity and Christians were a reference to Gentile followers of Jesus outside the land of Israel, under the direction of Paul, who according to the witness of the New Testament itself was at odds with the leadership of the Nazarenes and whose qualifications were questionable at the least. This discussion is expanded upon at my Don’t Confuse Me Withe The Facts, Please blog – http://antimissionary.wordpress.com/

Both terms refer to the Kingdom of the Lord over Israel. In the Tanakh, the concept of the Kingdom of God is one that refers to the Hashem ordained government of Israel under Davidic kingship.

The One Stone hewn without human hands is interpreted later in  chapter two of Daniel as the Kingdom of God, which according to our sages comes about during the era of the King Mashiach. This kingdom will not be accomplished by human effort or even human interference, hence the usage ‘without human hands.’ Jewish history well remembers the Biryonim, Jewish sectarian agitators who believed they could force HaShem’s hand to bring forth the redemption ahead of it’s intended time.

Some of Jesus’ followers were parts of the Zealots and the Sicarii, both groups of agitators within the Biryonim (meaning zealous fanatics or fundamentalists) who sought to force God’s hand to free them from the rule of Rome. This tactic, one which was condemned by the Jewish sages of the day, brought about death and destruction to the Jewish people, their city Jerusalem, their Temple and way of life.

This One Stone is to be be brought forth supernaturally by the Hand of God and there is nothing that we can or cannot do to stop it. Hashem’s direction to us is to live a righteous lifestyle according to His Torah.

Nebudchadnezzar’s Image

The image of the kings dream is a head of gold, with the torso and arms being silver, the thighs and loins being copper and the two legs are iron with iron and clay toes. This image actually details the entire span of human government from the time of Daniel to our modern age. The image also shows man’s governing systems as devolving into something less enlightened, less spiritual. In this devolving span of human government, our society becomes more base, more brutal and more cruel.

The gold head is interpreted as being Babylon. Gold is a very precious metal and is highly sought after. The head of gold represents the Mind and Thought. Babylon was the closest culturally and in language to Israel. Though not as sublime as Israel and considered unclean and defiled, Babylon was still a spiritually minded culture, though one of the occult.

The Persian civilization, which succeeded the Babylonian empire, was established by the great Achaemenid kings. Though Old Persian was the official language, Aramaic was used mostly in the kingdom. Darius I organized the empire, rewrote the legal code, fortified and reorganized the military and standardized weights and measures. While he was a Zoroastrian, he held a policy of religious tolerance, and did not allow the use of slaves.

The second section of the image demonstrates the de-evolution of human government. Medo-Persia is the torso and arms of silver. This section of the body houses the human heart. Therefore, Medo-Persia was less spiritually inclined than Nebudchadnezzars Babylon and more emotional.  This is seen in the edict which the enemy of Israel, Haman, arranged to be passed into law. The Persians emotional response to the supposed slight that Israel somehow represented to Persia, required that on one pre-ordained day, the Persian empire would rise up and murder all the Jews in the empire. This is in sharp contrast to the Babylonian empire who recognized the value of the Jewish exiles and appointed them into high positions within the government and valued their wisdom.

The third section of the image, the copper loins and thighs,  is assigned to the Greek empire. This section of the image contains the human genitalia. Greek culture was a sexually driven culture and highly offensive to Jewish sensibilities, and put them culturally at odds with one another. The Greek empire symbolizes raw power and lust which burns brightly at first but quickly burns out. Alexander the Great’s meteoric rise to power, conquests, and empire was like a brilliant shooting star. However, like the star, his life and empire was short lived – he died at the age of 33.

The two legs of Iron represent Rome. This symbolizes utility and strength. Iron crushes all other metals and was not used much in decoration, so its purpose is utilitarian. Rome was the least spiritually inclined and ruled by brute force and cruelty. It’s edicts concerning Israel were harsh and they ruled mercilessly.

Since the Two Legs represent the final governments before the coming of the One Stone, the two legs of the Roman empire also must represent more than imperial Rome.

The one leg represents the West –  Christianity and its lands or Europe. The United States of America is included under the Christian West. The eastern leg represents Islamic Middle East. Also important to this is the toes made of iron and clay. Iron and clay simply do not mix and the two religions of Christianity and Islam simply are not conducive to one another. This must be understood by my christian readers – Christianity (and Islam) are not represented within the Kingdom of the One Stone but within the idolatrous image representing Gentile governments.

The prophecy notes that all these empires, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome shall be present at the end of human history when the One Stone comes and crushes the human empires to make room for the Kingdom of HaShem. Those old empires are now Iraq, Iran, Eastern Europe and Western Europe and are represented within two spheres – that of Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East.  These two civilizations are prophesied to clash during the Kietz – the End of Days. This prophecy is now being fulfilled in our day.

astral planeUnveiling the Spiritual Realms – The Heavenly Sanhedrin and the Watchers

In Daniel chapter four we are introduced to a group known as עִירִין  וְקַדִּשׁ (irin v’kadish) translated as  the Holy Watchers.

I looked in the visions of my head as I lay on my bed, and there appeared a holy watcher coming down from heaven. 11 (14) He cried out: “Cut down the tree, cut off its branches, strip off its leaves, scatter its fruit! Let the wild animals flee from its shelter! Let the birds abandon its branches! 12 (15) But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the lush grass of the countryside; let him be drenched with dew from the sky and share the lot of animals in the pasture; 13 (16) let his heart and mind cease to be human and become those of an animal; and let seven seasons pass over him.

14 (17) “‘“This decree is issued by the watchers, the sentence is announced by the holy ones, so that all who live may know that the Most High rules the human kingdom, that he gives it to whomever he wishes and can raise up over it the lowliest of mortals.” Daniel 4:10-14

These beings known as Watchers are appointed to watch over humanity and have judical authority to act – Nebuchadnezzar’s haughty attitude was to be corrected by a decree or order coming from the Watcher. This group is well known in the ancient world and is referred to by different names – the Heavenly Sanhedrin, the Divine Council, and others. According to Jewish tradition, each of the 70 nations was represented at this council which appears to be located outside the physical realm.

One of the interesting points to be made here is that contact with Watchers occurred in Daniel unconscience mind, in his dreams.

The wisdom of our kabbalistic sages reveals that HaShem created an infinite number of worlds. These worlds are believed to be inter-dimensional quantum realities, or spiritual worlds (alternate dimensions). They are contained within the four general kabbalistic worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, and Yetzirah, which correspond to the dimensions of Spirit, Mind and Emotion. The four general world is Asiyah which represents the Physical Dimension.

The dimensional plane of Yetzirah or the Astral Plane is the realm of Angels and Demons and the location of the Divine Council. Our Sages tell us that angelic beings are non-physical but can take on form. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam) states in his his Mishnah Torah, Foundations of the Torah:
Angels have form, but no matter at all; for example, the angels, for the angels do not possess bodies or corporeal being, but rather are forms which are separate from each other.

Since they possess no body, what separates the form [of the angels] from each other? Their existence is not alike. Rather each one is below the level of the other and exists by virtue of its influence, [in a progression of levels,] one above the other.

Everything exists by virtue of the influence of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His goodness. Solomon alluded to this [concept] in his wisdom, saying (Ecclesiastes 5:7): “Because above the one who is high there is a watcher [and there are others higher than them].” (Foundations of the Torah 2:5-6)

Angelic Races

Maimonides, Foundations of the Torah, chapter 2, Halacha 7 lists ten orders of celestial beings:

The different names with which the angels are called reflect their [spiritual] levels. Thus, they are called:

1) The holy chayyot, who are above all the others;
2) the ofanim;- the wheel angels
3) the er’elim;- the great exalted ones
4) the chashmalim;- fiery beings that communicate
5) the serafim; – the burning ones; the reptilians
6) the mal’achim; – messengers
the elohim; – judges of the lower realm
the sons of the elohim – workers for the elohim
the keruvim – childlike angels
the ishim – human looking angels who appear to mankind as humans

These ten names which are used to refer to the angels reflect their ten [different spiritual] levels. The level above which there is no higher level except that of God, blessed be He, is that of the form called chayyot. Therefore, the prophets state that they are below God’s throne of glory.

The tenth [and lowest] level is that of the form called ishim. They are the angels who communicate with the prophets and are perceived by them in prophetic visions. Therefore, they are called ishim, (“men”), because their level is close to the level of human knowledge.

The Ishim (which means Men) are the Watchers of Genesis 6, some of which connected to Heavenly Sanhedrin of Psalm 82. In his commentary on the Torah, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman writes that”…when the Creator – may He be blessed – created everything out of nothing, He made the upper realms in control of the lower realms that are beneath them.7

This is taken to mean that the astral realm of Yetzirah has vested power and authority over earth.
Psalm 8:4-6   what are mere mortals, that you concern yourself with them; humans, that you watch over them with such care? You made him but little lower than the angels, you crowned him with glory and honor, you had him rule what your hands made, you put everything under his feet…”

Psalm 8 tells us that humans, while destined to be universal rulers in the future have been made lower than the angels. In actuality, the term here is not malakh, the Hebrew word for angel, but elohim, which is a certain class of angelic judge. These judges are part of the Heavenly Sanhedrin:
Psalm 82   A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judgeth: ‘How long will ye judge unjustly, and respect the persons of the wicked? Selah.  Judge the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither do they understand; they go about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are moved. I said: Ye are godlike beings, and all of you sons of the Most High. Nevertheless ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’ Arise, O God, judge the earth; for Thou shalt possess all nations.

The angel which Jacob wrestled with was one of the Ishim.

“…and Ya‘akov was left alone. Then some man wrestled with him until daybreak.  When he saw that he did not defeat Ya‘akov, he struck Ya‘akov’s hip socket, so that his hip was dislocated while wrestling with him. The man said, “Let me go, because it’s daybreak.” But Ya‘akov replied, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked, “What is your name?” and he answered, “Ya‘akov.” Then the man said, “From now on, you will no longer be called Ya‘akov, but Isra’el; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed.” Ya‘akov asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he answered, “Why are you asking about my name?” and blessed him there.

Ya‘akov called the place P’ni-El [face of God], “Because I have seen God face to face, yet my life is spared.” As the sun rose upon him he went on past P’ni-El, limping at the hip. This is why, to this day, the people of Isra’el do not eat the thigh muscle that passes along the hip socket — because the man struck Ya‘akov’s hip at its socket.”

Another appearance of an Ish is recounted in Joshua chapter 5:13-15.

One day, when Y’hoshua was there by Yericho, he raised his eyes and looked; and in front of him stood a man with his drawn sword in his hand. Y’hoshua went over to him and asked him, “Are you on our side or on the side of our enemies?”  “No,” he replied, “but I am the commander of Adonai’s army; I have come just now.” Y’hoshua fell down with his face to the ground and worshipped him, then asked, “What does my lord have to say to his servant?”  The commander of Adonai’s army answered Y’hoshua, “Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.” And Y’hoshua did so.

Nachmanides in his commentary on Deuteronomy 18:9-12 tells us that certain stars are guided by archangels, and that those archangels are the souls of those planets. They are called the Princes of the Teli (Dragon).

Rabbi Chaim Vital teaches that the bodies of the Ishim are indeed physical but only consist of the element of fire. Humans consist of all four elements – water, fire, air and earth. The realm of the Ishim is ‘beneath the ten levels of Heaven’ known as the Teli or Dragon. The Teli is understood by the Sages to be referring to the Milky Way Galaxy. The Ishim as Watchers very well could be considered masters and guardians of the Milky Way Galaxy. Sefer Yetzirah (chapter 6) is the only known source for information on the Teli.

The Alien Message

Popular modern theories abound regarding the the angels mentioned in the Bible. Many secular researchers who investigate the alien and UFO phenomenon believe that the angels of the Bible are nothing more than extra-terrestrial beings travelling to earth in spacecraft beyond our level of science. Some believe that Ezekiels Wheels are nothing more that saucer craft transporting aliens beings.  today, the Revelation at Sinai has been turned into a Contact Event, with Mothership and all the trappings.

One of the more disturbing elements of alien contact phenomenon is their spiritual message. The aliens message to humanity is almost always set against the Abrahamic faiths. The ET messengers tell humanity that there is no Supreme Being and that humanity was created by tampering with primordial human DNA which helped mankind evolve to an intelligent species.

Another troubling aspect is the Alien Abduction phenomenon. Several prominent Alien Abduction researchers and medical professional have compiled an enourmous amount of data regarding the characteristics of alien abduction. Jacques Vallee and John Keel both point out the connections between Alien Abduction  Satanic Ritual Abuse. Also noted is the abductors preoccupation with sex and procreation including experimentation with abuctees sexual organs and the inpregnation of human women.

This whole affair is a clever deception. While claiming to be beings from another world or star system, they kidnap humans for nefarious reasons. Many people have stopped alien abduction in their tracks by reciting scripture, such as the Psalms and calling on the Name of HaShem to intervene. Psalm 91 is particularly powerful as a abduction deterent.

If these beings were truly other worldly travellers as they claim, the reading of God’s Word should not have the effect it does. Several researchers have concluded that the Alien/UFO phenom is demonic deception, including our rabbis.

Rabbi Ariel bar Zadok mentions in his work, The Torah on Life in Space and UFO’s, that there are two levels of demons – demons which were created and fallen angels. The Talmud, Avot 5:6,  tells us that God created demons on the six day, on the eve of the Sabbath. Due to God resting on the 7th day, the demons were only partially created and have no bodies. The Kabbalists teach that the demons are seeking bodies to inhabit which explains the pre-occupation with sex and procreation – they are creating shells to inhabit.

The Baal HaTurim, Rabbi Acco teach that the bene elohim is a reference to fallen angels. The holy Zohar says that these bene elohim are angels which rule the night. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus tells us that the Bene Elohim are Watchers.8

Jewish Rabbinic and Kabbalistic texts clearly teach that demons occupy the inner regions of Earth. These demons are known as Mazikin – Those Who Do Harm – and dwell in the subterreanean depths of the earth. While demons may occupy the depths of the earth, they most likely do so in the Yetzirah plane of existence which has its own laws and may be far different than this physical dimension.

Rabbi Horowitz (an illuminary who wrote Sefer HaBrit in 1797) says that the the extra-terrestrial beings are called ba’alei sekhel u’madah which means masters of intelligence and  science. It is not beyond their means to create advanced technologies such as craft that appear to move in ways not possible given the laws of nature within our plane of existence – Asiyah, the physical realm. Many accounts testify to the fact that these ‘craft’ perform maneuvers which contradict the laws of our physical universe. It is more likely that we are seeing craft from the astral realm through a doorway or portal.

HaShem is not ET

Israel has been given a tremendous gift from the Most High. At Mount Sinai 3500 years ago a pivotal event in the human experience occurred. This event was like none other, to this very day. A doorway was opened into this world where the Presence of HaShem manifested, contrary to the established natural laws of the world of Asiyah – the physical realm.

That day, Israel received the Torah of YHVH in written form including the understanding of how it was to be applied and interpreted. Through this, the Jewish rabbis and sages know without a doubt that the Creator is no mere cosmic superman utilizing highly advanced technology. That day the elders of Israel entered into a spiritual plane:

Moshe, Aharon, Nadav, Avihu and seventy of the leaders went up; and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a sapphire stone pavement as clear as the sky itself.  He did not reach out his hand against these notables of Israel; on the contrary, they saw God, even as they were eating and drinking. Exodus 24:9-11

The Jewish people, contrary to modern popular theory, did not receive the Holy Torah from extra-terrestrials. HaShem is not some cosmic astronaut as claimed by many in the UFO movement. Ishim are not responsible for the UFO craft. The holy Ishim Watchers come in the name of God. ET does not, they come in their own name. Several people who have had contact experiences have been told that there is no ultimate Supreme Creator who exists above and beyond creation. Why would they make this claim? Most would say they are being deceived. While this certainly is part of their modus operandi, there is much more to it than that.

The reason for this is explained by the Sages of Israel. It is called Free Will.

Free Will

Free Will is the spiritual ability to raise consciousness above the control of the forces of time and space. Free Will is the ability of an entity to evolve at the spiritual level. One who is devoid of Free Will is bound to the laws of creation, both seen an unseen. All the advanced technology in the universe cannot accomplish this one unique ability that Man has over all other physical creatures.

According to our holy sages, mankind alone, has been imbued with behirah or free will. According to the Kabbalah of our Sages (not the modern bastardized version many people are familiar with), there are multiple higher realities. Of the four planes we have already discussed, the physical plane is the lowest. The astral plane with is the domain of demons and angels, is a parallel plane to our own – existing side by side. The astral plane is the dimension of Time and Emotion.

The third plane is that of the Mind or Consciousness. This level is the dimension of the Soul or Higher Self and totally non-corporeal. According to the Kabbalists, this was the plane on with Adam was first created. This level – Beriah – is above the reach of the angels whose evolution does not allow them to attain this height. At this level of the Mind, according to the Kabbalists, one may truly know the Creator.

The four plane, Atzilut, is a purely spiritual one, occupied by the Sefirot. this is the realm of the Creator, of YHVH, the God of Israel. Our sages tell us that Pharaoh in the book of Exodus acknowledged that there was a God – This is the Finger of God (Exodus 8:15) – but denied YHVH who is above the laws of nature.

While HaShem Himself controls all of creation, the message of ET is that creation alone controls the laws of nature. This view point is a result of their lack of Free Will, their ability to evolve to a higher plane of existence. They may have attained great knowledge, engineered advanced technology, but they lack the ability to spiritually evolve to a higher realm.

The Mind of present day Man is but a small remnant of what it once was. Originally the Mind of Man was able to see from one end of the world to the other – to contemplate and understand the entirety of creation – ruling over time and space. Mankind’s destiny while currently grounded in the physical realm, is to ascend to our proper place once again, the realm of the Mind which we can still access through our unconscious minds, in our dream states. Ishim and demons may pierce the veil of our plane of existence but they may never ascend to a higher existence than they are now.

The above material is meant as an introduction into the angelic realm and the planes of reality. This primer, minimal as it was, is necessary to understand a later chapter in Daniel. When we pick up Daniel chapter 10, we will  delve into the astral dimension once again as we are introduced to the angelic princes of Gabriel, Michael the prince of Israel and Ahriman, the Prince of Persia and the battles waged in the realm of Yetzirah.

Anu the great godThe Fall of Babylon

Daniel chapters 5 and 6, show the fall of the Babylonian empire under King Belshazzar and rise of the Medo-Persian Empire under Darius the Mede and after him Cyrus the Persian.

It would appear that since the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel had been relegated to a position of lesser influence. But now, here in chapter 5, while everybody panicked concerning some mysterious handwriting which appeared on the wall where the revelries of Belshazzar were taking place, the Queen, possibly Belshazzars mother, remembered the divinely-gifted Daniel, who was summoned to foretell the imminent first stage in the collapse of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream-image – the fall of the golden head, Babylon, of which Daniel would now be witness to.

During that evenings debauchery, Belshazzar and his nobles blasphemously drink from sacred Jewish temple vessels, offering praise to inanimate gods, until a hand mysteriously appears and writes upon the wall of the palace – Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.

Daniel was summoned to interpret the message. Despite the fact that in speaking to Belshazzar Daniel knew he was addressing another ruthless and arrogant autocrat, Daniel did not shrink from delivering his message of reproof and doom. After reminding Belshazzar of the forgotten lesson learned by Nebuchadnezzar, he says, “You his son Belshazzar. have not humbled your heart.” (v 22). “You took the Temple vessels and used them to praise gods of silver and gold, copper, iron, wood and stone that do not see or hear or know anything, but you gave no honor to God, in Whose hands are your soul and all your ways” (v 23).

Mene, Mene – God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel – You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Upharsin – Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

The days of Babylonian supremacy had been numbered and were now complete. Belshazzar had been weighed in the scales and found wanting, and the Babylonian empire therefore broke in pieces as the ascendant star of Medea rose over the world. That very night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.

Whose Father?

The lineage of Belshazzar was hotly contested in secular circles until the discovery of the Nabonidus Chronicle which verified Belshazzar as the son of Nabonidus the King of Babylon the last of the Babylonian kings. It appears that Belshazzar was ruling in place of his father. It is the view of many scholars that Nabonidus’ ethnicity was Assyrian and not part of the Chaldean Dynasty of which Nebuchadnezzar, Amel-Marduk, Neriglissar and Labashi-Marduk sprung from.

Daniel says that Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. This does not have to be understood as his literal son. Various passages in the Tanakh, such as Numbers 10:29, refer to grandfathers as אַב the Hebrew word for father. Benjamin Davidson’s Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon lists fore-father and ancestor as additional meanings for the word אַב. Likewise, the Hebrew word for son, בן, is based off the Hebrew prime root בָנָה to build. בן has the meaning of family building and requires understanding of Jewish culture to appreciate.

In the Tanakh9, the term sons of the prophets is understood as not referring to the biological sons of the prophets but their disciples or students. This is demonstrated in 2 Kings 4:1:
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

In the Hebrew culture, as well as other Semetic cultures, the father-son relationship goes beyond the basic family relationship. A teacher-disciple relationship a good example. A rabbi views his students as his sons and the students see the rabbi taking on the role of father. This relationship functions as one of building – the building of a family of future rabbis, a command of Israel’s Men of the Great Assembly:

“Moshe recieved the Torah from Sinai and passed it on to Joshua; Joshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets passed it on to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things: Be deliberate in judgement, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Torah.” (Pirke Avot 1:1)

Therefore when Belshazzar is referred to as Nebuchadnezzar’s son, it does not imply a direct familial relationship as some believe. Son בן can refer to a literal male child, father-son relationship as well as meanings of grandson, foster-son, descendant, disciple and extends even to the nation, as in the Sons of Israel.

Belshazzars Lineage

Belshazzar was his father’s viceroy, but not king—a fact hinted at in Daniel 5:7,  where we read that Belshazzar offered to the interpreter of the writing, scarlet clothing, a gold chain, and the place as “third ruler in the kingdom.” Being himself second in the kingdom, after his father Nabonidus, the highest place he could offer was third.

Belshazzar was only the crown prince. A contemporary king-list found at Uruk, south of Babylon, states the succession of kings:


Nabonidus contested the succession of Labashi-Marduk and wrested power from him. A basalt stela—a stone slab or column bears Nabonidus’s own account of his rise to power:

“I am the real executor of the wills of Nebuchadnezzar and Neriglissar, my royal predecessors! Their armies are entrusted to me, I shall not treat carelessly their orders and I am/anxious/to please them.” (James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton University Press, 1969, p. 309.)

Labashi-Marduk succeeded his father when still only a young boy and was unfit to rule. He was murdered in a conspiracy only nine months after his inauguration that placed Nabonidus, a distinguished general, on the throne. Labashi-Marduk is traditionally listed as a king of the Chaldean Dynasty, being, probably, the son of Neriglissar by his wife, who was the daughter of Nebuchadrezzar.

Nabonidus’s mother also recorded a list of rulers. Her list of kings and their regnal years, found inscribed on two nearly identical stones at Haran, on the Turkish-Syrian border, records the following:

Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria – 42 years
Ashur-etil-ili, king of Assyria – 3 years
Nabopolassar, king of Babylon – 21 years
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon – 43 years
Awel-Marduk, king of Babylon – 2 years
Neriglissar, king of Assyria – 4 years
Nabonid, king of Assyria

Josephus provides even more evidence of Nabonidus’s place in Babylonian history. He points out that the historian Ptolemy lists Nabonadius as the last Babylonian king.

New evidence from Babylon has verified the existence of Belshazzar and his co-regency during the absence of his father in Temâ. However, there is no evidence that Belshazzar ever officially held the title of king as he is never called such on the Nabonidus Cylinder. On that cylinder, Nabonidus petitions the god Sin regarding his son:

“And as for Belshazzar my firstborn son, my own child, let the fear of your great divinity be in his heart, and may he commit no sin; may he enjoy happiness in life.”

In addition, the Verse Account of Nabonidus10 states, “[Nabonidus] entrusted the army to his oldest son, his first born, the troops in the country he ordered under his command. He let everything go, entrusted the kingship to him, and, himself, he started out for a long journey. The military forces of Akkad marching with him, he turned to Temâ deep in the west”.11

The Moon-god of Antiquity

Nabonidus was a deeply religious man and a devotee of the moon-god Sin. A 2-foot-tall basalt stela is thought to depict Nabonidus, who wears a spiked helmet and raises his right hand towards symbols of Sin (circle with crescent), the sun-god Shamash (winged disk) and the love-war goddess Ishtar (a seven-pointed star representing the planet Venus).

Mesopotamian worship consisted of a triad or trinity of gods and goddesses. In hoary antiquity the Sumerian trinity of Anna, Enlil and Enki was revered by the Sumerians, the oldest of the Mesopotamian cultures. Next the triad of Anu, Bel and Ea, whose spheres of influence together embraced the entire universe, were worshipped. Anu was the god of heaven, Bel the god of the earth and of mankind, and Ea the god of the abyss of water beneath the earth. At a very early period in Sumerian history we find these three deities mentioned in close connection with each other under their Sumerian names of Anna (Anu), Enlil (Bel), and Enki (Ea).

After these three deities a second triad, consisting of the two great gods of light, Sin and Shamash, and the god of the atmosphere, and Ramman the Assyrian war god. Sin, the Moon-god, is identified also with Nanna, and had two chief centres of worship, the temple E-gish-shir-gal in Ur, and the temple E-khul-khul in Harran, of which the former was the more ancient. In Ur the worship of the Moon-god was celebrated from remote antiquity, and in influence and splendour his cult appears to have eclipsed that of Shamash, the Sun-god, whose worship was centred in the cities of Sippar and Larsa, in two great temples each of which bore the name of E-babbara, “the bright house.”

Sin was known as the father of the sun god, Shamash (Sumerian: Utu), and, in some myths, of the goddess Ishtar (Sumerian: Inanna), and with them formed another astral triad of deities, and apparently one which King Nabonidus revered. When we acknowledge the triad pattern of worship, is it no wonder that true monothesists reject Christianity and Islam as a legitimate form of worship of the Creator.

Sin is the Akkadian name for the Sumerian deity known as Nanna. Nanna is the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and identified with the Semitic Sin. In some legends Sin gave man knowledge to build cities.

According to the texts, Sin had a beard made of lapis lazuli and rode on a winged bull. The bull is identified with his father, Enlil, the Bull of Heaven, along with the crescent. The crescent emblem also represents the horns of a great bull.

The worship of Nanna/Sin was widespread during the time of Abraham. Contrary to some claims, Abraham was asked to leave Ur of the Chaldees where Sîn (now known as Allah) was worshipped and migrate to Canaan and worship HaShem, the Creator of all.

The term Chaldees is a designation that refers not nessessarily to the land of Chaldea (Mesopotamia/Sumer), but to  a group of nomatic religious mystics, a priestly class called Khaldi (a spelling variant of our anglicized Chaldees (or Culdees). These Chaldeans roamed from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Canaan and even into eastern Europe, and kept alive the ancient mystery religions of ancient Sumer – the religions of the goddess Inanna/ Ishtar and of the sun god Utu (aka Shamash), Nanna/Sin as well as of Marok, Marduk, Merodach, Bel or Baal.

Nabonidus the Moon-god Evangelist

Nabonidus did not really like being king. His real interests in life were as a historian, archeologist and archival restorationist. He loved history and the restoration of the shrines of the god’s he worshipped. He did not believe in the gods of his step-father, Nebuchadnezzar. Rather he disassociated himself with the national god of Babylon, Marduk, to the shock and anger of the powerful Babylonian priesthood. Nabonidus then announced his allegiance to the Sumerian moon-god Sin and the sun-god Shamash. He spent much of his life in the reconstruction of the ancient temple at Harran (Harrânu in Akkadian and Carrhae in Latin) and the temple at Sippar.

On the clay tablet called the Cylinder of Nabonidus discovered in the Temple of Shamash at Sippar, Nabonidus records his restoration and reconstruction of the temple to the moon-god Sin in Harran and also to the sun-god Shamash and goddess Anunitum at Sippar. Fifteen centuries prior, this same temple was built and dedicated to the moon-god Sin at Harran by an ancestor of Daniel – Abraham’s father, Terah, who was the oracular priest in the Sumerian/Babylonian religious hierarchy during the dynasty of Nimrod.

Nabonidus worshiped the moon-god Sîn over all the other gods, even the primary Babylonian god Marduk, and paid special devotion to Sîn’s temple in Harran, where his mother, Addagoppe, was a priestess. Because of the tensions that these religious reforms generated, he had to leave the capital for the desert oasis of Teima in Arabia early in his reign, from which he only returned after many years. In the meantime, his son Belshazzar ruled from Babylon.

Nabonidus,12  built Teima as a center of moon-god worship. Teima (also Tema and Tayma) is a desert oasis in Saudi Arabia. In the center of the oasis is a large 2,500 year old well called Bir Haddaj. It is referred to in Isaiah 21:14 “The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled.”

Though it is a popular notion in today’s politically correct culture to believe that Islam’s moon-god Allah is the same god that is worshipped by the Jewish people and the Christians, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Al-Kindi, one of the early Christian apologists against Islam, pointed out that Islam and its god Allah did not come from the Bible but from the paganism of the Sabeans. They did not worship the God of the the Bible, but the Moon-god and his daughters al-Uzza, al-Lat and Manat. Islamic scholar Caesar Farah concluded “There is no reason, therefore, to accept the idea that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Christians and Jews.”

In 1944, G. Caton Thompson revealed in her book, The Tombs and Moon Temple of Hureidha, that she had unearthed a temple of the Moon-god Sin in southern Arabia. The symbols of the crescent moon and no less than twenty-one inscriptions with the name Sin were found in this temple. An idol of the Moon-god himself was also discovered – seated on a throne with a cresent moon inscribed on his chest. This was later confirmed by other well-known archeologists. The evidence reveals that the temple of the Moon-god was active even in the Christian era. Evidence gathered from both North and South Arabia demonstrate that Moon-god worship was clearly active even in Muhammad’s day and was  the dominant cult.

According to numerous inscriptions, while the name of the Moon-god was Sin, his title was al- ilah,  which means the deity, meaning that he was the chief or high god among the gods. As Coon pointed out, “The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God.” The Moon-god was called al- ilah, the deity, which was shortened to Allah in pre-Islamic times. The word alah  in Hebrew is not a proper name and its principal meanings are; to curse, swear, or adjure; to lament; to rise or go up.

Many scholars have also noted that the Moon-god’s name Sin is a part of such Arabic words as Sinai, and the Wilderness of Sin. Hebrew scholars have noted that the words סיו and סיני are of uncertain derivation. It seems reasonable that the Wilderness of Sin is named after the Moon-god Sin.

Segall stated, “South Arabia’s stellar religion has always been dominated by the Moon-god in various variations.” When the popularity of the moon-god waned elsewhere, the Arabs remained true to their conviction that the moon-god was the greatest of all gods. While they worshipped 360 gods at the Kabah in Mecca, the moon-god was the chief deity. Mecca was in fact built as a shrine for the moon-god, Al-ilah, popularly known now as Allah, the god of Islam.

The Prayer of Nabonidus

The Dead Sea scrolls reveal that Nabonidus possibly knew Daniel. A fragmentary Aramaic document titled “The Prayer of Nabonidus” (4Q242)  tells of a king נבני who, while at Teima, was diseased by the God of Israel:

The words of the pra[y]er of Nabonidus, king of Babylon, [the great] kin[g, when he was smitten] with a severe inflammation at the command of G[o]d, in Teima.
[I, Nabonidus,] was smitten [with a severe inflammation] lasting seven years. Beca[use] I was thus changed, [becoming like a beast, I prayed to the Most High,] and He forgave my sins. An exorcist a Jew, in fact, a mem[ber of the community of exiles came to me and said,] “Declare and write down this story, and so ascribe glory and gre[at]ness to the name of G[od Most High.” Accordingly, I have myself written it down:] I was smitten with a severe inflammation while in Teima, [by the command of God Most High. Then] for seven years I continued praying [to] the gods made of silver and gold, [bronze, iron,] wood, stone, and clay, for I [used to th]ink that th[ey] really were gods.13

Though Daniel is not specifically named in the account, it would seem probable that Daniel  would have been known to Nabonidus, because of his access to the Babylonian court since the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

The account is similar to chapter four of Daniel – a king of Babylon is ill, lives isolated for seven years and becomes convinced of the truth of the monotheistic creed. This similarity has led many scholars to believe that the Daniel 4 story regarding Nebuchadnezzar plunge into madness was in reality a story regarding king Nabonidus. From cuneiform texts, nothing is known about Nebuchadnezzar’s mental health. However, rumors like this did indeed circulate regarding the mental state of Nabonidus. But the Prayer of Nabonidus lends no credence to this. Nabonidus was struck with an inflammation, not mental illness. His 7 year exile in Teima appears to be self-imposed.

The Fall of Babylon

Nabonidus made Belshazzar co-regent in 553 BC, leaving him in charge of Babylon’s defense. In 540 BCE, Nabonidus returned from Teima, hoping to defend his kingdom from the Persians who were planning to take Babylon. Belshazzar was positioned in the city of Babylon to hold the capital, while Nabonidus marched his troops north to meet Cyrus.

On October 10, 539 BC, Nabonidus fled from before Cyrus. The Medo-Persian army then engaged the city of Babylon, who initially repelled the invasion. Rashi (on verse 5:1) tells us:

“We find in Josephus that Belshazzar fought against Darius the Mede and Cyrus (Darius’ son-in-law) by day and conquered them in battle, and in the evening he made his great feast, and it was during the meal that his enemies returned and fought against the city and conquered it.”

Nabonidus’s neglect of the Babylonian religious festivals cost him his throne. Disappointed with their king’s disrespect for their deities, the Babylonians appealed to the Persian king Cyrus to take Babylon. By a prearranged plan, the priests of Marduk opened the gates of Babylon that night while the crown prince and his friends were drunk with wine. The city fell without bloodshed two days after defeating Nabonidus in battle.

And more importantly, even though Belshazzar, his son, had initially defeated the forces of Medo-Persia, his seemingly casual act of desecrating the vessels of the Holy Temple signalled the closing of the 70 years of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah. Darius the Mede only reigned for one year and was succeeded by Cyrus, King of Persia. According to our sages, the 70 years was concluded upon succession of Cyrus, one year later.

This history is important to understand. Nabonidus exported the Babylonian religion of Nanna/Sin the Moon-god to whom he and his mother were very dedicated to, into the Arabian penninsula. This has had a profound affect on the history of the world, particularly in regard to the Jewish people. In the 7th century CE, a Arabian by the name of Muhammed would become a warrior -evangelist for Sin, now under the name of Allah, the god of Islam (Islam means ‘submission’). Islam would terrorize the Middle East as it spread its teachings by the sword, and become a religio-temporal power second only to Catholicism. These two great civilizations, Christianity and Islam, both of which persecuted, tortured and terrorized the Jewish people, are set on a collision course with one another – a clash of civilizations – determined to be fought during the Kietz or  End of Days.  Israel will be caught in this terrible crucible of conflict and endure long enough for the Kingdom of the One Stone to be established once again.

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