The religious beliefs and practices of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, particularly Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia…date to the mid 4th millennium BC and involved…an expansive cast of divinities with particular functions.
This archeological dating coincides with the biblical human timeline beginning ~4,000 BC with Adam, then counting backwards in BC to when the fallen angels arrived 500 years later according to Enoch, in the days of Jared.
The Secret of Gobekli Tepe: Cosmic Equinox and Sacred Marriage analyzes some of the common features found in later religions. Bold emphasis added by this writer.
Göbeklitepe hosts numerous circular and square shaped temples….Six structures have been unearthed as a result of excavations since the beginning of the 1995 season. As of 2015, multiple structures are still being revealed…
astronomer, B. G. Sidharth expresses that 12 pillars located around the center of Temple D could symbolize the 12 months of the year. Sidharth also thinks the “H” sign on one of the center pillars symbolizes the Orion constellation... [for this significance see the Seed of the Serpent]…
The center pillars which depict the “H” and sun-moon signs stylize the human body, as it is generally accepted. Arms and hands can be seen precisely. Human faces are not clear. It might be that they are not humans, but gods or goddesses of the Neolithic. We see arms bestride both sides of the pillar, and the hands come together on omphalos, or navel…Sumerian goddess Inanna was characterized in a standing position just like center pillars of Göbeklitepe. Likewise, huge statues of Easter Islands were constructed in this kind of sacred standing position (hands on omphalos). According to some, this posture symbolizes “birth” or “rebirth”…
Sun and moon symbols are not seen only on the center pillars of Temple D of Göbeklitepe. Later in history we see these signs on Sumerian and Akkadian cylinder seals and on other ancient artworks…
Proto-Turks once named this symbol as “Kün-ay (Sun-moon)…Chu Turks were using this symbol on their state flag circa 2000 B.C. in Middle Asia…is the origin of modern-day Turkish Republic state flag…has been found in artworks of Hun Turks…on Gokturk state coins. In modern-day Mongolia (an old Proto-Turkish region) the state flag features two pillars and Kün-Ay sign.
Proto-Turkish Kün-Ay and Göbeklitepe’s sun-moon signs are not just similar: they are exactly same! On both symbols, we see a cavity at the center of sun symbol. This is such a commonly repeated description that we can’t say it is a coincidence…
Similar crescent-star motifs can be seen on Aphrodite temple images, and on ancient Cyprus coins…she is corresponded with the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Additionally, one of the symbols of Inanna was also the crescent-star. Hitittes saw this as a sign of rebirth…
further research into what might be the first temple in the world made by man…may deliver a message to us from the ancient past.
Özgür Etli examines what messages the ancient builders might have been trying to impart to the people who used the temples, and what they might have also been trying to communicate to all of humanity.
It can be speculated that the “H” sign located above the sun-moon motif symbolizes male and female togetherness…The standing position of the pillar also symbolizes “birth” or “rebirth”, as mentioned previously.
Well, do we know this type of sacred god-goddess marriage in ancient history?…The first thing coming to mind is of course the sacred marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi in Sumerian civilization.
Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of fertility and love, dominant in the sky and on earth. She provided the power of renewal and reproduction to both humans and nature. Poets wrote numerous stories about her. Most famous of them is undoubtedly the tale of the sacred marriage of goddess Inanna and shepherd Dumuzi, also called Tammuz.
Did the fertility gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt and Sumer first appear at Neolithic Gobekli Tepe?
Stele featuring Egyptian and foreign gods: Min, fertility god (Egypt), Qetesh, fertility goddess (Syria), and protective god Resheph (Egypt). Wikimedia Commons
Sumerians reenacted this sacred intercourse as a royal ritual and a state occasion by giving in marriage to king of the country a high ranking woman of their holy temple. Each year they organized festivals surrounding the occasion. In these ceremonies, the high ranking woman would portray the goddess, and the king stood for the god…
In Anatolia, the cult of fertility is known as of Cybele. Cybele was known as the mother of god. She was believed to be goddess of the moon as well. It was believed fertility came to earth at the pleasure of Cybele, and she required a husband for marriage – this was god Attis. Attis is thought to die in Autumn, and after is reborn again in spring like Dumuzi…
Men sought to ensure the fertility of the soil by making a self-sacrifice. According to Halikarnas Balıkçısı, this adoration to the goddess was a very ancient practice, from far-reaching prehistory….
When all of this evidence is combined, it’s difficult to call it coincidence. It is apparent that the origin of fertility cults of Anatiolian and Mesopotamian civilizations can be first seen in Göbeklitepe culture…
sacred marriage ceremonies could well have been celebrated through rituals in Göbeklitepe first.
Maybe we have solved the Göbeklitepe puzzle, and learned what the ancient world wanted us to know.
After the flood, due to the loss of ability to directly engage with mankind, spirits had to rely on human partnership to express themselves. This is reflected in an adapted religious system.
The last stages of Mesopotamian polytheism, which developed in the 2nd and 1st millenniums BCE, introduced greater emphasis on personal religion and structured the gods into a monarchical hierarchy with the national god being the head of the pantheon.
Each Mesopotamian city was home to a deity, [expressed by the human ruler] and…all known temples were located in cities, [which by definition are walled, not only for defense but to corral human herds to service him]…The temple itself was…in the form of a ziggurat, which rose to the sky in a series of stairstep stages… most regard the tower as a kind of staircase or ladder for the god to descend from and ascend to the heavens, [like Jacob’s ladder]…an image of the cosmic mountain where a dying and rising god “lay buried.” Some temples, such as the temple of Enki in Eridu [chief of the five Sumerian cities re-established on their pre-flood foundations] contained a holy tree (kiskanu) in a holy grove, which was the central point of various rites performed by the king, who functioned as a “master gardener.”
The cosmic mountain idea begins in Eden. Yes, Eden is a garden, but it’s also referred to as a mountain in Ezekiel 28…This is why, for instance, the Tabernacle and the Temple are decorated in ways that reminded people (and us) of Eden…Have you ever wondered why there are so many spiritual encounters at trees in the Old Testament? Why tree locations are sacred space?…it was a gateway to the afterlife presence of God.
The esoteric function of these artificial mountain-structures seems to offer humanity a passageway to the Center of the three-fold axis of heaven, earth, and hell beneath. Can they create a spiritual “stargate” where human beings can enter a fourth or multidimensional experience?…the point of communication within the three- fold axis of heaven, earth, and hell creates a center where “a break-through can occur, a passing from one cosmic zone to another…
The God the Father-Son of God dynasty is portrayed in horticultural imagery. The great Davidic dynasty will sprout up from a “tender sprig” planted on Mount Zion.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches (Ezek.17:22-23)…[Note the pagan duplication of this imagery].
For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them…
In the complete reversal of the scattering of nations at the Adversary’s tower at Babel:
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws (Ezek.36:24-27).
Yahweh’s high and lofty cosmic mountain is not only a secure home, it is also a life-changing meeting place where decrees are issued and spiritual empowerment is provided.
Back to Wikipedia’s article:
Mesopotamian temples were originally built to serve as dwelling places for the god… [The Bible supports the reality of this construct.] The god’s presence in the image seems to have been thought of in a very concrete way, as instruments for the presence of the deity.“
This is evident from the poem How Erra Wrecked the World, in which Erra deceived the god Marduk into leaving g his cult statue. Once constructed, idols were concerted through special nocturnal rituals where they were given “life”, and their mouth “was opened” (pet pi) and washed (mis pi) so they could see and eat. If the deity approved, it would accept the image and agree to “inhabit” it. These images were also entertained…the temple was equipped…with a courtyard with a basin and water for cleansing visitors…
Generally, the god’s well-being was maintained through service, or work (dullu). The image was dressed and served banquets twice a day. It is not known how the god was thought to consume the food, but a curtain was drawn before the table while he or she “ate”, just as the king himself was not allowed to be seen by the masses while he ate. Occasionally, the king shared in these meals, and the priests may have had some share in the offerings as well.Incense was also burned before the image, because it was thought that the gods enjoyed the smell. Sacrificial meals were also set out regularly, with a sacrificial animal seen as a replacement (pūhu) or substitute (dinānu) for a man, and it was considered that the anger of the gods or demons was then directed towards the sacrificial animal. Additionally,certain days required extra sacrificesand ceremonies for certain gods, and every day was sacred to a particular god.
The king was thought, in theory, to be the religious leader (enu or šangū)
and exercised a large number of duties within the temple, with a large number of specialists whose task was to mediate between men and gods.
Note the contrast monotheism’s “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man YHVH’s Anointed Savior / Christ Jesus; Who gave himself” (I Timothy 2:5-6)
- supervising or “watchman” priest (šešgallu),
- priests for individual purification against demons and magicians (āšipu),
- priests for the purification of the temple (mašmašu),
- priests to appease the wrath of the gods with song and music (kalū), as well as
- female singers (nāru),
- male singers (zammeru),
- craftsmen (mārē ummāni),
- swordbearers (nāš paṭri),
- masters of divination (bārû),
- penitents (šā’ilu), and others.
…individuals also paid homage to a personal deity…In the mid-third millennium BC, [corresponding to preflood open involvement of gods interacting with humanity] some rulers regarded a particular god as being their personal protector. In the second millennium BC, [corresponding to post-flood need by disincorporated spirits to inhabit a foster body for interaction with humans] gods began to function more on behalf of the common man, with whom he had a close, personal relationship, maintained through prayer and maintenance of his god’s statue. A number of written prayers have survived from ancient Mesopotamia...they showed a people who were scared of their gods …one’s place and success in society was thought to depend on his personal deity, including the development of his [the god’s] certain talents and even his [the god’s] personality…everything he experienced was considered a reflection of what was happening to his personal god. [Emphasis added.] When a man neglected his god, it was assumed that the demons were free to inflict him…
There was a strong belief in demons in Mesopotamia…They were thought to be countless in number, and were thought to even attack the gods as well. Besides demons, there were also spirits of the dead, (etimmu) who could also cause mischief…
Divination was employed by private individuals, with the assumption that the gods have already determined the destinies of men and these destinies could be ascertained through observing omens and through rituals…such as observing oil dropped into a cup of water (lecanomancy), observing the entrails of sacrificial animals (extispicy), observation of the behavior of birds (augury) and observing celestial and meteorological phenomena (astrology), as well as through interpretation of dreams. Often interpretation of these phenomena required the need for two classes of priests: askers (sa’ilu) and observer (baru), and also sometimes a lower class of ecstatic seer (mahhu) that was also associated with witchcraft...
ancient paganism tended to focus more on duty and ritual than morality…the gods were believed to be the source of life, and held power over sickness and health, as well as the destinies of men…Man was believed to have been created to serve the gods, or perhaps wait on them: the god is lord (belu) and man is servant or slave (ardu)…
Sin, on the other hand, was expressed by…the idea of rebellion, sometimes with the idea that sin is man’s wishing to “live on his own terms“…
The ancient Mesopotamians believed in an afterlife that was a land below our world…known alternately as Arallû, Ganzer or Irkallu, the latter of which meant “Great Below”… everyone went to after death, irrespective of social status or the actions performed during life…Mesopotamians considered the underworld neither a punishment nor a reward…merely weak and powerless ghosts…The myth of Ishtar’s descent into the underworld relates that “dust is their food and clay their nourishment, they see no light, where they dwell in darkness.” Stories such as the Adapa myth resignedly relate that, due to a blunder, all men must die and that true everlasting life is the sole property of the gods.
Can we see that logical conclusion of someone with this belief system is “So might as well eat, drink and be merry in this life!”?