So far we’ve covered the first three of the four elements to a Christian fundamentalist view of UFOs and aliens (i.e., that UFOs that are not man-made or other natural phenomena are demonic and alleged alien life forms are demonic). The four were:
1. Abductee testimony of the forcible trauma of their experience.
2. The similarity of abductee testimony to early Christian (and otherwise) reports of demonization.
3. The similarity of abductee testimony to the events described in Genesis 6:1-4 (and other ancient Jewish texts).
4. A belief that the events of Genesis 6 (and so, an alien presence) is a specific touchpoint in New Testament teaching about the Second Coming (or, for many, the notion of a rapture which is not the same as what is broadly thought of as the Second Coming).
We need to start into number 4 now, but that one will take us a while to navigate. To get the ball rolling, those of you unfamiliar with evangelical jargon related to end times need a primer. To that end, here are links to an academic explanation of two key ideas: the millennium and the rapture. I’d like to offer the quick start version here, though.
First, “millennium” is a word used in conjunction with discussion of the earthly kingdom of God. Some Christians think that this kingdom is to be equated with the Church itself (Church = all true believers in Jesus). Those Christians would therefore say the kingdom of God is already present on earth via the existence of the Church. The only end time thing we’re waiting for is the return of Jesus to initiate the eternal state, which may or may not be a literal new heaven and new earth (it may just be in “heaven”). These Christians are often called “amillennialists” since they don’t buy the next view. Other Christians think “millennium” means a literal 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth that is yet future. They would be the real “millennialists.” They are divided into two groups: premillennialists (Jesus will return to earth and then stay around for 1000 years as King) and post-millennialists (the kingdom on earth is literal, but begins before Jesus comes back – it sort of invites his coming). People are therefore to make earthly life look like the kingdom of God and then Jesus will decide to come back and finish the 1000 year reign on earth. Postmillenialism isn’t that popular today, but it had a strong following in the late 19th and earthly 20th centuries. Two world wars kind of rained on that parade, though.
Second, most premillennialists, those waiting for Jesus to return to initiate a literal earthly kingdom, also believe in a rapture. As the article at the link will detail, there are four views of the rapture. I won’t repeat them here. Basically, Most premillers believe that the millennium is immediately preceded by a seven year period of hell on earth (whole or in part) called the Tribulation period. They believe that true believers will be removed from earth sometime during that period and then return with Jesus to set up the earthly millennial kingdom. The most well known of these views is the “pre-tribulational rapture” (think of the Left Behind novels), which teaches that the Church is removed from earth (raptured) at the beginning of the seven year Tribulation. Seven years then pass (that’s where the Antichrist becomes known and terrorizes Jews and new believers on earth), Jesus returns [note here that a rapture and the “second coming” are two separate events in this view], kills the Antichrist, and the 1000 year literal kingdom is installed. Raptured believers return with Jesus to rule with him in the millennium. After the millennium, Satan is released for “a short time,” tries to defeat Jesus, and then is cast into the lake of fire. This is followed by the eternal state which (depending on one’s view) occurs on a new earth or it’s somewhere else off-planet (“heaven”).
I think it’s fair to say (my own experience here) that most Christians who are involved in ufology are literal millennialists and hold to the pre-trib rapture view. I’m sure there are exceptions, but the vast majority I know fall into those categories.
So how does this relate to UFOs and aliens? Simple (on one level). Jesus’ longest sermon in the New Testament is in Matthew 24 (longer than the Sermon on the Mount). That chapter is called the Olivet Discourse (Jesus is on the Mount of Olives). It’s all about the signs of the end times and his return (Jesus is asked about this and then goes into the discourse). Part of the Olivet Discourse reads as follows (Matt 24:36-44):
36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
The boldface portion is the issue. What was happening in “the days of Noah”? Why, the sons of God were cohabiting with human women and spawning nephilim. So Jesus must be saying *that* activity will happen again just before he returns.
I hope you get the picture. The dominant Christian fundamentalist view of all this is that, just before Jesus returns, we’ll see demonic beings (fallen sons of God – see my last post) cohabiting sexually with human women (= alleged alien abductions) with the result that hybrid offspring will be produced. As an aside, this reading of Matthew 24 is considered to be supported by Daniel 2:43 (Daniel 2 is a prophetic chapter), which has the cryptic phrase that in the end times “they will mingle themselves with the seed of men.”
For me, this is one of those “where do I even begin?” things. There are so many issues / problems/ logical leaps here that it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll ponder that for the next post.
Concerning Matt 24 and Daniel 2, that is the view of Charles W. Missler, and although he’s a good overall commentator, he does have his big stumbles. It’s simply ignorance about historical, textual issues and other matters that biblical scholars look at for themselves. He has corrected himself for the past decade on other issues, but not on this one apparently. At least his honest and in pursue of the truth. He also used to promote Bible Codes and Equidistant Letter Sequences (ELS). I don’t know if he still does.
I’m not sure either. Missler is a well intentioned guy with his heart in the right place. He is not a Bible scholar by any stretch though. But I’d rather have him out there getting people interested in the Bible than breeding more apathy within the church.
Oh, and he does get people interested in the bible, successfully. That’s his ministry. But..you know.
Well… compared to me Missler is a Bible scholar!
Broadly speaking, I’d say that there are two ideologies doomed for failure:
1. Science that ignores religion.
2. Religion that ignores science.
Nothing profound or new in that statement. But as I like to say, even if it has webbed feet, a bill, and lays eggs, it’s probably not a platypus, however convenient or desirable that conclusion might be.
Where to start…
First, Thank You.
Your blogs on this topic coincide with a spontaneous effort on my part to revisit a topic which I have been cowering from, fingers in ears, for about thirty years. I’ve been axles-deep in mud, unable to free myself from the (for me) inescapable conclusion that that many passages in various sacred & other reliable ancient writings appear to be individuals describing, to the best of their ability within the frame of their experience/context, highly advanced technology. While I’m aware that this specifically is not the topic of the series, I feel it’s very closely related
Why now, the end of May 2010? Dunno. I’m sure of d@mn little at this stage, but I remain convinced that there are no coincidences. What that might mean both perplexes and troubles me.
The crux of the matter is that, by my rough estimate, within 100 years or so(if we make it that long…) science will be most likely be able to explain, if not imitate, many, if not all of the events in scripture held to be “miracles”. One small example would be artificial insemination, scientific “impossibility” not that long ago.
At what exact point can Divinity be differentiated from a sufficiently advanced technolgy?
Quantum considerations aside, at some point. do we correctly assume that fact is fact, and if history/science/archaeology/whatever, bears out the assertion that we were, indeed, in times past/present, visited by “real” ET’s in tangible craft based on advanced non-human technologies, and demonic lies/deceptions aside, it turns out that these beings are the basis for at least some portion of our various theologies & sacred texts, what then? Houston, methinks we have a problem.
Michael, assuming I heard you right, I could not agree more that mainstream evangelical Christianity might be setting itself up for a massive structural failure if, for example, the events desribed by John on Patmos involve a mothership the size of Manhattan.
Should it matter if the “star” of Bethlehem was a craft of non-terrestrial technolgy? Or Moses’ “cloud by day, fire by night”. Yeah, I kind of think it does. Have we been worshiping ET’s?
My experience has been that mainstream judeo/christian ideaologies tend to blow off such possibilities, IMHO placing these ideaologies in the “Religion ignoring science” camp.
I need to inject here that I am not a scholar. I know less than nothing, and would not pretend for a second to imply that my opinions are anything more than the honest (I hope…) cry of Thomas when he so eloquently stated the case of so many in my postion, “I believe Lord, help thou my unbelief”
I find myself in the unfortunate position of being unable to simply switch off my intellect, try though I may. It often makes me feel like the vessel fitted for destruction who has no right to ask the Potter why I am fashioned thus, but that’s a different off-topic.
In any case, my gut suspicion is that many otherwise well intentioned believers are headed for a potentially catastrophic situation if someone cannot _quickly_ find way to integrate our potentially extra-terrestrial origins, or at least influences, with the Divinity of YHWH and Jesus, without completely b@stardizing everything we collectively hold to be sacred/holy.
That may be the tallest order in civilized history. It seems like you may be getting ready to tread there, and my hat goes off to you. If you’ve already covered this elsewhere, I apologize, I’ve only been “back in the ring” two days. I have an enormous amount of reading to do…
Thanks again for providing a rational, scholarly take on a subject that most won’t go near. There is no way to describe the decades of fear/uncertainty/paralysis that this apparent paradox has caused me, and I assume, others in this situation, as we truly do not know what to believe, yet we are compelled by the “God-sized hole in our hearts” to believe _something_.
you’re welcome; I agree with your “two ideologies” perspective. The one theological non-negotiable to your “where does divinity end and science begin” trajectory is with the Creator. I am a dualist in that regard (for others, I do *not* refer to the good vs. evil dualism idea here, but the Creator-creation distinction. In terms of biblical theology (and other religious views, naturally) there is a firm dichotomy between that which is created and the lone Creator, who is uncreated and distinct from creation (incidentally, this is perhaps the fundamental distinction between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and pagan belief systems). in this view (whether realized or not) everything other than the Creator *is* made of something (it/they have to be since they it/they is/are not the Creator). Everything other than the Creator is material in some sense. This is why (in other posts) I’ve noted that beings like angels and demons are material and therefore subject to the laws of physics (which may be other than we currently understand), and may therefore use technology.
All that is to say if we are worshipping the God of the Bible, assuming it’s description of Him as Creator (and its correctness), we are not worshipping ET. But since any other being, even those of the unseen (to us) world are creatures and material, that would open the door for “ET” as a label applied to them. The problem with that, though, is that the biblical (and other religions) description of these beings is more in fitting with inter-dimensional beings (primarily because the texts don’t describe their origins as being from other planets. As far as we know, the biblical writers didn’t know of any other planets beyond Saturn (they were dependent on the astronomical work of other contemporary and preceding civilizations), so their descriptions may be limited. Still, I’d like actual proof of intelligent life on other planets before that would become a hermeneutical option for me.
I would call ‘fallen angels’ alien. They sure are not human. They are alien to us. These are probably the ‘ET’s. With all the witchcraft going on and occultist religions practicing and worshiping pagan ‘gods’, this would bring on ‘signs and wonders’ of the last days? And great evils upon earth that the Bible talks about. God is bigger than ‘technology’ and ‘spaceships’ mother ships or whatever. ” Is anything too hard for the Lord? ” God laughs at those who think He is powerless. He is the I Am, the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. ” be careful who you entertain for it might be an angel.” Paul. This could also apply to fallen angels. They can appear as people and unless you have discernment of the Holy Ghost, you would not know if that garbage man was an angel or a human being. God’s or Lucifer’s angel. A ‘spaceship’ could be an illusion that looks real and fools our senses. These can fuel fear? however, ” the beginning of Wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” not devils. If we fear devils…’aliens’ than we don’t have a sound mind. ” I don’t have the spirit of fear but of power of love and a sound mind.” yes, I have to fight fear and ask God to take it away. this is spiritual warfare big time, ufo’s and all that is related to this. I know…I have experiences some of this. God is able. The most important thing though is saving souls and getting our Faith back. Ask God for faith for it is a gift. Read the Bible to make sure that we are on the Rock instead of sinking sand of pagan intellectualism and pagan theories. So called science, that denies the Bible, which has turned to a religion instead of fact and proof. ( not that we can prove God exist) this is faith and a gift from our Creator God, Lord and Savior’. I know I don’t need proof of life on other planets to know that God created all and that He is in charge of all and in control. Satan is the ‘father of lies’ and lies are fed to us all the time through the media and so called ‘science’.
It is probably not B&W like this, but….here it goes- (the EXTRA terrestrial definition expanded briefly to include divine entities)
We can all agree that God is not from Earth, and while He may have imprisoned some of His Watchers here, they are not from earth (though they may have been locked up here for longer than we have existed). The other, garden variety, oxygen breathing, eating, drinking, and job hating, sports model flying ETs- they may be “from” here…but are created by others who are not from here (but may be imprisoned here) and while they may consequently not technically be “ETs” as some have posed, they are nonetheless (pretty weird to us). Therefore, before we disable the discourse further with pedagogy by differentiating between “off-worlders” and “on-worlders” let us agree on a general designation for these entities that governs the principalities and powers that exceed human intelligence, technology, ability to move, convert energy and so on. (I am not going to propose one general term here that collectively nails it but the Ancient Hebrews had one general term…Elohim)
Once we get past the “from here / not from here” thing, I propose that Christians and Seekers may be able to move past the “world is flat” mentality that blinds our ability to realize the “we are all either obedient or disobedient imagers” nature of the beast (pun intended). Once we boil the celestial family down to their disposition with regard to their ULTIMATE CREATOR, be they volunteers or saboteurs, we (I exclude atheists and evolutionary secular humanists from the royal “we” here…) can communicate clarity for people who are seeking answers to the insanity that is this phenom.
The reason that I say it is not B&W here is that channelers and abductees who are sent messages back to the Sheepfold (other humans here on earth) have presented a unified, cosmic, aquarian gospel that looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds like a harmonizing message that promises to unite the cooperative energies of human kind. Should humans cooperate with that message? Will they? Why should they or shouldn’t they? Just because they appear to be broadcasting from extra T origins, have cool wheels, and promise to transform humans to behave less badly- does that mean that they are sincere? Further, if you poll christian congregations, especially during the 1930s German congregations, regardless of creed, you found sheople- people buying what sounded good as long as they could still sleep in on Saturday. Today, if you poll the christian congregations, beginning with the liturgical, bells & smells ritualistic christians on the right and moving left towards the tongue talking, prophesying, healing, and demon basher breed you see an increase of people from right to left of misfits, minorities and addicts clinging to the promise of the supernatural gospel in order to have some level of increased functionality in their lives. Here, the christian congregations on the left have their own version of the aquarian gospel, one that arises from a single event of History that proves the Messenger was Sincere.
These minority, misfitting humans prone to addictions unless they have their Jesus on the left also tend to suffer greater adversity in their lives due to some universal opposition to the essence of their being as a result of some preeminent status quo in the world. They don’t seem to be promoted by their bosses even if they do a good or better job than the self sufficient “team player ” who gets promoted because they just seem to “fit in” better. They come to church, request prayer for their plight and then go back into the world fully expecting answers to their prayers and when they see the slightest answer or hint of God’s “action” in their lives (to quote J.P. de Causade”) they rush back to their congregation, testify to the intervention, and bells ring, horns blow, cymbals bash and music of the most raucous kind is lifted “up”.
By contrast, the majority of creed chanters (don’t get me wrong, I memorized the Nicene Creed as a child and get my best definition of the Ultimate ET- “begotten, not made- being of one substance with the Father… from that llitergy!) who place no meaning to the creed and go back to the office on Monday, deny salary increases for inflation due to low profits and tell single mothers that they are lucky to have the job- these church goers on the right are more vulnerable to adopting the aquarian gospel “if that’s the latest world view that I’m expected to adopt” or worse, they are following the direction of the craft, attending Masonic meetings, swearing oathes and shaking hands with their own personal pantheon. Going back to church on Sunday is only reassuring due to the hidden symbols from the craft that they are taught to recognize in the “ecclesiastical architecture” so as to associate that activity with the mysterious god from the Masonic Rite.
These, being the ends of the full spectrum (as opposed to B&W) are the “crop” to be harvested at the end of the age…the ranges in temperature from cold to luke warm to hot- are the candidates. Will they buy the aquarian gospel when SHOWTIME begins or will they detect a lie…preferring the Gospel that suffered Divine Blood to be shed, Divine Pain to be suffered, Divine Allegiance to be betrayed and Divine Shame and Guilt to be endured in order to cancel the writ against them for their own instinctively owned condition of guilt? The answer is that the “tares” will sign up for the cheap aquarian gospel, replete with a sideshow of miraculous signs, the promise of transformative technology, and the demand for overt worship of the figurehead. Don’t expect any sacrifice from this guy. No, the only sacrificing that will be going on will be the Obeyers, sacrificing themselves by accepting the punishment that will be theirs, hard earned, from denying the Narcissist the worship that he craves, the thanks people think he deserves, and the cooperation that will be required in order to buy anything, eat anything or live in his civilization.
-Back to boiling this down to Obeyers or Disobeyers. Does differentiating between on world or off give us any traction? No. Differentiating between friendly or foe will largely depend on wether you are luke warm or Hot…and that may depend on a great deal of Supernatural Understanding and that may entail some very unpopular conclusions that even your loved ones may disagree with when this disclosure thing happens. Whenever it does happen, people- lots of people will embrace it like a long lost religion (partly because it IS a long lost religion). To deny its benevolence to humanity will be like telling a militiaman he can’t keep his gun…like telling a president he doesn’t have any real power…like telling a child they can’t play with a toy…or like telling a newlywed couple they can’t procreate.
Approving this, though it’s so long (and I’m traveling) I haven’t read much of it yet. If you could summarize it in a couple propositional statements or assertions (affirmations or denials) that would help.
Thanks for aproving Dr. Heiser, sorry for the long narrative-
I don’t know why I am so interested in this phenomenon. Perhaps I am “looking for a sign”. Or, perhaps I am just genuinely interested in understanding and gaining “insight” per Daniel.
1. My first assumption is that the audience that is listening to this phenomenon are partly Christian and partly non-Christian.
Your blog here, is a platform to discuss both perspectives. As you pointed out in your previous post, “The case is also propelled by the messages other contactees receive, which are often very anti-Christian in the sense that they directly pillage and redefine key points of Christian theology.” -therefore, non-Christians reading this blog may wish to have more specifics of how non-human messages conveyed by experiencers are so offensive to Christian sensibilities and doctrines. If this can be effectively communicated to non-Christians, then they may understand better why we as Christians are rejecting this Aquarian Gospel from the Non-Humans. If Don Christians except our reason for rejecting the intervention by the nonpayment, then perhaps we may have won their attention. Otherwise I fear that we may appear to be dogmatists, similar to the Vatican of Galileo’s time.
2) My second assumption is that the Christians who form part of your audience may be looking for a little clarity themselves (like me). These Christians probably live somewhere in the spectrum that I described in my comment above. Their ability to gain clarity about the phenomenon may largely depend upon where the excess with in the Christian spectrum. If you are on the “right” end of the spectrum described above, then you may be perching on a point of view that rejects the existence of any nonhuman entities. You then are vulnerable to being convinced by signs and wonders that may be demonstrated by these entities when they eventually do manifest themselves in our time and space in a very public way. If on the other hand you are on the left side of the spectrum, then you will know that any failure by these entities to declare YHWH/ J’SHUA as their Godhead will be a clear indication of deception. Therefore, this debate over nonhuman entity origin may serve to modify one’s worldview to accommodate the supernatural as opposed to just a material view of the world.
Given these two assumptions/audiences, I affirm that this debate about the nature and existence of nonhuman entities (otherwise known as the phenomenon), may best be discussed in a forum such as this where there is sufficient knowledge of ancient text to clarify what may be relevant to present day events and was experienced by ancient people who had the presence of mind to record their understandings (however limited) of the events of their day.
Michael Heiser, you have volunteered to provide that knowledge and to provide the backbone required to position orthodox Christian Woldview with respect to the phenomenon and the dangers which it may pose as a worldwide delusion.
I know that in my travels through the phenomenon, I have at times contemplated concepts that certainly run contrary to Christian truth. It’s been through embracing the clear interpretation of these ancient texts that has brought me back to a stronger foundation for what I consider to be a “correct worldview” and it has settled in my mind to a greater extent the consternation and confusion that characterizes this madness. Thank You!
“If Don Christians except our reason for rejecting the intervention by the nonpayment, then perhaps we may have won their attention.”
If non Christians accept our reason for rejecting the intervention by the non-humans, then perhaps we may have won their attention.
I’ll try and remember to correct this when I get home. That’s a weird typo. Probably some sort of auto-correct “helping” me.