Correct information (truth) precedes useful knowledge and wisdom.
Ancient Symbols and Prophetic Utterances
Part 1, An Encompassing View
Part 2, A Hypertext Reference
Written and Compiled by Kendall Warth and Edmund A. Cook
"Truth is knowledge of things as they were, are, and are to come." Truth dispels darkness and enriches the soul as it enlightens the mind. It encompasses those who earnestly seek it within pure knowledge, glory, wisdom and peace.
Why are angels depicted as having halos and wings? What inspired the design of the pyramids? Why are there basic principles common to so many religions? What was the Garden of Eden and where was it located? When we die, do we return to the sphere from whence we came? How are cherubim, beasts and dragons significant? Are there common threads of scriptural symbols used by both ancient and modern prophets, which use ancient symbols as types in their focus on latter-day events?
It is the intent of the Authors' to establish what we believe to be the origins, meanings and intents of particular ancient symbols. The concepts that ancient people held in association with these symbols have, for the most part, remained a mystery to the world and are generally viewed by modern scholars as mythical connotations. But a carefully guided study of historical and religious records presents a consistent pattern and overall picture of what some of the ancients were trying to reveal about their world.
A closer look at the actual life experiences of ancient peoples, prophets and writers expose the factual evidences of past events that involved celestial configurations and disturbances in the heavens precipitating catastrophic conflagrations on a global scale that appear too fantastic for the modern world to accept. But such purported tales provide the key to understanding how past events have been incorporated into prophecies given as types and shadows of events that shall precede the second advent of Christ.
Within the volumes of this study lies an opportunity to analyze these symbols in their ancient form and discover how many of them have evolved and are applied in the Judaic-Christian scriptures.
A close comparison of the first civilizations will present an overall belief system among most ancient peoples that involved the concept of a literal place of heaven wherein the gods resided and mankind existed in a pre-mortal state before one came down to the mortal world to start the human race. Further, the place of heaven was more than just a contrived notion of man, but, rather, both a physical and tangible place that, although not attainable to those in the mortal state, was an entity close enough to the earth that it could be gazed upon by human eyes. In the words of many of the ancient writers, their place of heaven was an actual physical presence, a world that was contained within a sphere much like the other heavenly bodies that currently constitute the planets of our solar system. The mass collection of testimonies from almost every sector of the anciently inhabited world bare this out. The ancient wrote about what they witnessed with their own eyes. More important was the common themes in the earliest religions that point to a central beginning of all belief systems and ritualistic practices that reflect mankind's spiritual conscience.
From the earliest times, prophets of the same god that Abraham worshiped have made certain analogies from what they have perceived of the heavens and earth. They used familiar imagery to symbolically represent the eternal principles of the true gospel. The events and physical composites of the antediluvian world wherein these symbols find their roots were familiar to most ancient peoples. However, the state of the ancient world was, later, vastly altered by numerous earth-shattering episodes. The world as it then was, no longer exists. In past dispensations there have been events relative to heaven and earth involving great floods, the displacement of continents and oceans and even massive pieces of the earth being removed.
Certain researchers of ancient records around the globe have established the changes in the heavens and earth as results of these catastrophic events. Further investigation into their research discloses the agents of these catastrophes. Remarkable details of these previous stages of our world have also emerged.
The ancients repeatedly described their world in terms that defy the composition of our familiar world and its heavens. They wrote of another sphere that stood above their earth as a secondary, or central "sun," and earthshaking episodes involving the displacement of oceans, earthquakes, divisions of land and "hail and fire" raining from the heavens. All creation seemed to pivot around this magnificent spectacle which was poised ominously over the northern regions of their world.
Anciently, this sphere and its appendages represented the abode of God, the temple in heaven, the throne of God, the city of heaven and the Garden of Eden. An intense regime of symbols reflective of this lost world and its imagery have been incorporated into many religions. Ancient religious and historical records document the differences between the past and present state of heaven and earth. Noteworthy are the scriptural passages using the imagery of the antediluvian world and the episodes that reshaped it. The composition of this ancient world played a big part in the conception of numerous symbolic configurations and subsequent religious concepts.
The complete meanings behind such symbolism has, however, faded with the passage of time. Much of their imagery, and the intentions of those who used these symbols have been obscured by the changes in the earth, written records and evolving civilization. What has been lost is the total picture of their world and the meanings behind the symbols and concepts they embraced. What has not been lost are God's words, recorded by ancient and modern prophets, depicting His purposes and intentions for both this earth and its inhabitants.
The key to comprehending these symbolic concepts lies in a more complete understanding of the ancient world. This knowledge will unveil ancient man's conceptions of pre-mortal heaven, paradise, past catastrophic episodes and the prophecies relative to Christ's Second Coming and all the preparations being made for His millennial reign and the physical changes that shall transform this earth back to its original state. He has promised a "restitution of all things." This earth will be restored to its original paradisiacal state, as it was before the days of Peleg and the fall of Adam. The physical and spiritual conditions which inspired these symbols will be restored, and then shall the intents of the ancient writers be fully understood.
It is our intent to bring into the light, as far as is now possible, a harmonious insight into many of the prophetic utterances relative to the last days, and how these prophecies concerning the "restoration of all things" are interwoven with the ancient symbols.
Finally, it is not our intent to introduce these concepts as canonized gospel truth. This book is a compilation of a great deal of research materials which represent the Authors' personal views. Such interpretations will never supersede the words of the prophets.
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Ancient Symbols and Prophetic Utterances
From the days of the first prophets on earth, holy men have been presenting the eternal principles and laws of God and His kingdom to the children of men. Their messages contained the plain and simple truths of the gospel, yet were structured in such a pattern that there existed, behind their general concepts, a backdrop of symbolically portrayed images that veiled the higher, more sacred aspects of God's heavenly order.
Beginning in Adam's day, instructors of the gospel used methods that involved the employment of particular aspects of mans' visually known and familiar world, combined with familiar objects which were used as visual aids in conveying this heavenly knowledge to man.
Familiar images of places, objects, and events were used to symbolically portray eternal principles in instructional stories such as the creation epic, the pre-mortal battle in heaven, the garden of Eden, the fall of Adam, Satan's expulsion from heaven, the organization of God's kingdom in heaven, and mans' purpose on the temporal earth.
The portraying of concepts through images and symbols became an established method and standard for how all future information, dealing with God and His realms, was to be presented to the mortal inhabitants of the earth.
In time a wide range of events involving wars, political and religious changes, acts of nature, and even catastrophic upheavals of world wide proportions changed the social, cultural, religious and the physical environment around man. As a result, new stories and images were added alongside the established symbols that reflected the natural features of mans' changing environment. As a result it was only inevitable that throughout the ensuing eras of time, the original imagery of the antediluvian world would begin to fade as the old models of teaching tools were transformed, and evolved or mutated into new forms.
Regardless of these changes, the roots of these basic ideologies were passed on to our very day, and are taught in much the same methodology as the original ancient concepts and symbols of sacred truths. Lacking is the information about their experiences in an estranged world that created the basis for the imagery of their symbolically structured expressions.
For most of those who have made inquires into the evolution of Judaic-Christian scriptures, there is, interwoven within the contents of numerous ancient literature, a form of writing that is poetic, figuratively expressive, symbolic, and even cryptic in its contents. To complicate the situation further, most of these texts reflect the cultural influences of their societies and often incorporated any extraordinary events or phenomena that had previously occurred and left a lasting impression upon the populace.
Often, when a new story was created by some dramatic event, the details of older, similar accounts would be intermingled with the newer episode. By these processes the modern reader has been left with a handed down compilation of reported information that contains mixed stories and descriptions that are composed in a language full of metaphoric, transformative expressions, and structured with a mutation of different varying literature that spans all the eras of this temporal earth. Cloaked behind all of these symbols is a mysterious and lost world that created the first impressions on man, and influenced the first expressive elaborations of the prophets. Remaining is a common theme that reflects the shared experiences of all early civilizations.
In the last couple of centuries, numerous researchers have tried to trace the origin of ancient traditions. Many of these inquirers have surmised, after lengthy research, analogy and debate, that the ritualistic practices and stories of early man were mostly inspired or invented from the common experiences of their surrounding environment. Their conclusion is that the origin of these experiences did not involve the fantastic accounts that are purported in certain records, but were, instead, exaggerated tales which evolved from ordinary, naturally occurring encounters of misunderstood phenomena.
Their hypothetical synopsis explains some of the direct influences that brought about the evolution of mans' ritualistic, oral and written expressions, but their position does not address some fundamental issues.
1) Why do well established and reoccurring myths have a central theme that involves a central god of heaven, the abode of deity, the creation epic, and the origins of the first race of man?
2) Why is the cosmological order of ancient myth entirely different from what we see in the sky today?
3) How could identical mythical themes develop among all early civilizations, even when they were totally isolated from each other?
4) And, what were the extraordinary conditions and events of the archaic world that left an impression upon the first civilizations such that its influence would extend into every part of their culture, religion and politics?
For any member of the church, there are several reasons why understanding the order of the ancient world is important to our interpretations of the scriptures.
1) Nearly all the passages contained in standard works are of a literary composition that involves the combined records of people from different cultures, languages and experiences that date back to even pre-flood times.
2) The prophets have used significant events of the past to also portray the future of the world.
3) The Lord works through established laws that apply to our world. These same natural processes which changed and reshaped our earth in past episodes will, once again, be in effect when our world is prepared for it millennial glory.
To search the roots of mans' written history in quest of the origins of scriptural records, one will have to first set aside some of the references and interpretations of conventional research. Early mans' concepts about his world and the fantastic tales of catastrophic encounters that surpass any known naturally occurring events in modern times, are in direct violation of the established laws and theories of the scientific community. Scriptural history is no exception to this. One will find in scriptural liturgy, a wide range of stories and conceptions of the ancient world that easily rivals the mythical accounts.
As we look back at the times and places of scriptural history, it is necessary to accept in good faith the credibility of the writers in describing real experiences, no matter how alien or conflicting the accounts may seem. Setting aside most of the intellectual stigmas, we can then begin to envision the differences perceived of this world by its ancient inhabitants, and gain an appreciation for that which they portrayed of it.
To put together an effective evaluation, we must begin with the histories of mans' earliest existence on this mortal earth. From this starting point we may then begin to piece together the pictures of the past. The sources within canonical scriptures will be limited and will require the added assistance of other forms of historical records.
Our focus deals with the traditions of ancient civilizations from every sector of the world. A number of specialty researchers are also involved in the dissection of these records. The evolution of their interpretations and theories are of the combined efforts of mythologists and catastrophists. Principle to this presentation are the mid-twentieth century works of Immanuel Velikovsky and his successor, David Talbot.
Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian born Jew, had an immense interest in the canonical and apocryphal texts of Judaic-Christian traditions. Over several decades he carefully studied and analyzed every available record that had correlation to scriptural accounts of the past. Meticulously matching the details of written records from every ancient nation, culture and religious tradition, he uncovered hidden secrets of our past that other researchers had overlooked.
From the common but extraordinary experiences contained in global accounts emerged the amazing pictures of fantastic episodes of the past involved with phenomenal displays in the heavens, disruptions in the planetary order of the solar system, and planetary encounters that were accompanied by worldwide catastrophic upheaval. The times, places and details of fantastic Biblical stories were matched again and again in isolated accounts from every corner of the world. And closely correlated to the earthshaking episodes were the generated concepts of the cosmological gods and the associated stories that incorporated the imagery of the experiences to symbolically portray the order of heaven.
A common theme exists among most mythical traditions that prescribes to an ancient era wherein a higher cosmological order existed in the heavens, accompanied by conditions on the earth that were of a more favorable environment. This was the Golden Age, when heaven and earth were joined together, and mortal men and Gods lived close together.
According to the tales, the abode of the gods was a massive, sun like planet that could be seen above the north polar regions of the earth. So closely aligned was this sphere to our world, that its physical features could plainly be discerned with the naked eye. As fantastic as the concept may seem, it is established in varying forms among almost all ancient literature, including Hebrew and rabbinical texts.
To the ancients, this mystic world either was, or represented heaven. Most ancient people believed that this planet was the abode of god and his offspring, the secondary gods, or first generation of mortal man. This heavenly world was also considered to be the place of the Garden of Eden, the holy city in heaven and god's celestial temple. These heavenly images were the prototype from which their cities, temples and holy edifices were designed.
In time, a series of cataclysmic upheaval disrupted the old arrangement of the planets. The original order was broken up, and this place known as heaven was removed from the close proximity of the earth. Planetary disarray continued periodically for the next couple millennia, bringing further change to what once was a familiar solar system. With each new planetary upheaval a different cosmological order emerged, bringing a new order of the planetary gods and a subsequent restructuring of mans' religion, culture and society.
For thousands of years man tried to copy or recapture the original order of the "Golden Age," but the picture eventually faded with new stories blending into the interpretations of the old. In time the old order of heaven became a mutation of images and concepts evolving with new experiences.
Hidden behind all the newer perceptions, however, were the roots of the original order of heaven and the associative symbols representing the one true god of heaven, his abode, and the purpose and progression of his spirit offspring, or the mortal race of man.
In context of Judaic-Christian tradition, the concepts and principles of the newer stories remain true to the oldest motifs. Passed through the changes of time to our present day are the same methods of the ancient prophets in using a structural setting of symbolically portrayed imagery. Involved with the evolution of new imagery and symbolism were both the planetary encounters of Venus during the Exodus period, and of Mars during Isaiah's day.
Much of the terminology used to describe the events during these planetary encounters were incorporated into the figurative, poetic, and symbolic language that is so prevalent in our scriptures today. Perhaps that which is most important to our day are expressions of the ancient form which prophetically link past scriptural events to prophesied future events of similar types and magnitudes.
In this presentation it is the intent of the authors to create a clearer picture or model of the past for a more comprehensive comparison to both standard and modern scriptures. By doing so, we hope to establish an opportunity for the reader to have a more stable understanding of the origin of these imageries and symbolisms, and their literary form as contained in the writings of gospel related literature.
While the historical perspectives may reach well beyond the boundaries of common interpretation, the concepts and doctrinal bases of this work are well within the limits of accepted gospel knowledge. But, whereas this material is chiefly theoretical, it would be advised that one approach its study in the same manner as other apocryphal type material, recognizing its true merit with an understanding that it is not canonized. Nor should it supercede the established words of the prophets.
This material may enlighten the mind and deepen one's understanding of both the temporal earth's past and the events and conditions promised for the future. It is our hope that this book will benefit the sincere who wish to make further inquiries into some of the mysteries of our past world, and the symbolic writings of the seers and revelators who composed our holy scriptures. We hope to bring into the light some defining parameters of symbolic terminology contained in the scriptures.
We invite the open minded to take a new look at what the prophets were writing about when they presented such figuratively portrayed events as the stars that shall fall from heaven in the last days, the moon being turned to blood, a mysterious army of locusts that are like armored horsemen and many other symbolic phrases that are used to reveal the future. See how God works through natural means and laws, and how his mysteries are not of mysticism, but of naturally occurring events and processes that prescribe to the higher powers of heaven. The old conflicts of Christian mysticism and rational science are no longer in direct conflict when we begin to understand some of the basic history and processes by which the Lord has brought about the fulfillment of His purposes.