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Biblical Cryptozoology

February 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 241

You won't find references in the Bible to the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, the Cyclopes, or other similar beasties that interest wildlife biologists in the hunt for unverified, but possible examples of terrestrial wildlife. However, that doesn't mean that the Bible doesn't contain descriptions of a whole host of unknown creatures - the province of modern cryptozoology. Taking in turn the realm of the air, the land and the sea, what do we find?

Note: All references below refer to the King James Version of the Bible.


*Cherubim: Of all the weird and wonderful creatures that appear between Genesis and Revelation, Ezekiel takes first prize for the most weird and wonderful of all. Ezekiel, assuming here he hadn't consumed too much fermented grape juice, witnessed a whirlwind, a great cloud, full of fire with much brightness and overall the colour of amber, when as he puts it all came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month. Okay, maybe it's a volcanic eruption (or perhaps a descending spaceship)! Well, apparently it's not volcanic in origin for it then comes to pass that there were four creatures associated with this phenomenon which Ezekiel ultimately identifies as a Cherub (Ezekiel 9:3) or Cherubim (Ezekiel 10:).

Ezekiel also says that these four living creatures (or perhaps crew members) "had the likeness of a man" (i.e. they were humanoid but not human). And each of these creatures had four faces and four wings. The four faces were akin to those of a man, an ox, an eagle and a lion. And these creatures glowed. On second thought, maybe Ezekiel had consumed a bit too much grape juice! However, to be fair to the man, if you've never had a close encounter before and no concept of ET, then you can only interpret and describe what you see in terms you are familiar with, like an eagle or lion or something that's akin to a man but not a man.

Anyway, Ezekiel also describes the glowing craft or vehicle associated with this quartet, which in ancient astronaut literature is noted as the 'Wheel of Ezekiel', a Biblical UFO encounter. Then he hears a voice, which in his confused state assumes must be a deity, in fact The Deity (well, that's understandable - back then I probably would have assumed the same not being acquainted with ancient astronaut and UFO lore and the whole concept of life on other planets). In a similar way to his description of aliens in familiar terms (somewhat like a man), Ezekiel could explain in the only way possible the message he was given as a 'message from God'. The messengers certainly weren't his next door neighbours holding a conversation with him!

It would appear that the creatures who posed as the Lord or who Ezekiel misinterpreted as the Lord departed around or about Ezekiel 3:2-14. Thus Ezekiel concluded his 'first contact', a close encounter of the third kind.

However, there was a second coming, a repeat performance around Ezekiel 8:1 when it came to pass for Ezekiel in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month. Again you get descriptions of those four faces, slightly altered as this time round as the four faces were akin to a cherub, man, lion and eagle (Ezekiel 10:14) - the ox had gone, so maybe these weren't the exact same aliens. But you still get the technology of the wheels and the clouds and the brightness and the fire and the lifting up and departure, and so 'second contact' ended by the conclusion of Ezekiel 10.

Something seems amiss at first glance however as first contact was in the "thirtieth year" but second contact was in the "sixth year". I gather the thirtieth year was his 30th year in captivity down by the river at Chebar, while his sixth year was his 6th year back at home following. At a minimum that means at least six years between first and second contact, not that that has any great significance.

There is however one more follow-up to these four-faced creatures. Revelation, like Ezekiel, is dominated to a nearly excessive degree with four living creatures. Revelation 4:7 relates another four creatures, all with now familiar faces - lion, calf, man and flying eagle. But in the time elapsed since Ezekiel's day (a time that hasn't actually arrived yet apparently), these aliens had sprouted an additional pair of wings, for a grand total of six wings as related in the following verse, Revelation 4:8. Maybe these creatures have differing number of wings due to age (they grow more wings as they grow older), or sex (females have four wings; males six wings or vice versa) as something part and parcel within their own natural selection and evolution.

These six-winged beasties are probably the Seraphim as related in Isaiah 6:2 and 6:6. They like to cry out "holy, holy, holy" (their catchcry), exactly the same phrase you get uttered in Revelation 4:8. They, the four beasts with the six wings, were also blessed with a myriad of eyes (as in way more than two) on all sides. Lots of eyes can be found in Greek mythology too. Argus was a 100-eyed giant, ultimately slain by Hermes who presented the corpse to Hera (Mrs. Zeus) who incorporated the eyes of Argus into her iconic symbol - the peacock.

In any event, four-winged 'spirits' were commonly depicted in ancient Mesopotamia so there's nothing unique about Ezekiel's neural network and visions and so perhaps Ezekiel wasn't hitting the bottle after all.

These intelligent beings might be thought of as outside the province of cryptozoology or zoology full stop, yet the Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Yeti and similar hairy hominoids are considered legit. But since Ezekiel's creatures are unknown humanoids to science, intelligent or not, whether they fall in the realm of cryprozoology or not, well that's just unnecessarily splitting hairs. Still, one could argue that the Cherubim (and Seraphim) might fall more into the interests of astrobiologists and/or ufologists if my premise is correct and they are really extraterrestrials.

*Cockatrice: Both Isaiah and Jeremiah acknowledge the cockatrice which is a relatively small two-legged dragon, but with the head of a rooster. In some versions it's cited instead as a basilisk, which in legend is king of the serpents with the evil eye (much like the Gorgon, Medusa), though without wings. Some editions just wimp out and call it a viper.

*Dragon: There are many references to the concept of dragons in the Bible, but the biggie is Revelation 12:3 - "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." And Revelation 12:7 - "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels." Of course in this context the dragon is equated with Satan, but "seven heads and ten horns" has to be a rather weird description of Satan, an original angel, methinks. Still, here's the reference: Revelation 12:9 - "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." So there!

*Flying Horse: When you think of a flying horse you think of Pegasus, but Pegasus doesn't get a mention in the Bible. But, you do get a relation of Pegasus, cited in 2 Kings 2:11 when Elijah gets abducted, placed on a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire and gets transported to heaven whether he likes it or not. I presume that in order to get from ground level to heaven the horses must have had wings. Then there's Revelation. I think Revelation 9:17 is confusing the concept of the horse with the dragon since one doesn't normally associate a horse's mouth spewing forth smoke, fire and brimstone! And our poor very confused author of Revelation has trouble distinguishing a lion's head from a horse's head - even a very young child can tell the two apart. However, later on down the track we get white horses and riders (one of which I gather is J.C. himself - as a rider, not as a horse) heading hell bent for leather to strut their Revelation stuff. Presumably, those horses will be descendents of Pegasus, otherwise by the time they (the riders) reach terra firma from heaven it's going to be splat-city (unless they have parachutes of course).

*Locusts: In Revelation you also have a plague of locusts appear, which doesn't sound too unusual or anomalous, except these locusts were shaped like horses and had the faces of men and crowns on their head which was covered in the hair of women and teeth that you associate with lions and the tail of a scorpion. Are you getting the impression the author here either had some magic mushrooms for breakfast or else was puffing on the good stuff?


*The Behemoth is referenced once only in Job (Job 40:15) and is the Biblical kissing cousin of the Leviathan (see below). Behemoth is a primordial land monster inhabiting marshlands and rivers who likes to chomp on grass, like an ox. It's presumed by modern scholars to be the hippopotamus, but proof-positive is lacking given the once-only reference.

*Hairy men: There's no reference to current hairy ape-men like the Yeti in the Bible. Yet there is this interesting passage from Genesis 27:11 - "And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man". Make of that what you will.

*Lambs with Horns: In Revelation you get two references to 'lambs having horns'. The first (Revelation 5:6) tells of a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes. However, it's further stated that these represent the seven spirits of God (whatever that really means though I'm sure mystics and scholars have it all under control), so it doesn't really represent something zoological. Then there's that third beast from the earth that "had two horns like a lamb" but obviously wasn't since it "spake as a dragon" (Revelation 13:11). So what exactly was it?

*Giants: Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua all testify to the existence of giants. From "giants in the earth" otherwise known as the Nephilim; "the land of giants" (more Nephilim); "remnant of giants"; to the "valley of the giants", there were giants aplenty. I gather it was the presence of giants (the Nephilim) that so terrified the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness that they refused to continue their trek to the Promised Land. Instead, they preferred to do an about-face and return to Egypt! That cowardice pissed off the Almighty and he thus caused them to be condemned to wander about the wilderness for another forty years. So what terrified God's Chosen People?

By the way there's nothing overly unique about Biblical giants. Greek mythology is chock-a-block full of giants, good, bad but usually ugly, as they are in many other cultures. Their popularity remains through the ages, and though not a staple of our society, stories or descriptions about those elusive hairy man-apes relate beasties that are anything but dwarfs.

*Serpents: We all know about the serpent (a.k.a. Satan) in the Garden of Eden, but wait, there's more shape-shifting in store. There's that parlour trick preformed by Moses and Aaron before the Egyptian pharaoh to impress said ruler enough to "let my people go". That parlour trick was turning a rod or staff into a serpent and back again. In Numbers God sends a fiery serpent to bite His Chosen People - exactly where they were bitten isn't related, but the bite must have been poisonous for many died! However, Moses did some hocus-pocus and some who were bitten lived to tell the tale. Isaiah then talks about a "fiery flying serpent" also a "piercing serpent" and a "crooked serpent" - presumably all one and the same serpent. Jeremiah talks about that biting serpent the Lord likes to utilize. Revelation goes full circle and equates the serpent with the dragon which is equated with Satan. Whether there's anything here anomalous from a zoological point of view is in the eye of the zoologist.

*Satyr: You wouldn't have thought it possible, but Isaiah 13:21 & Isaiah 34:14 lend credence to the satyr that half-goat, half-human hybrid one normally associates with ancient Greece.

*Unicorns: While I'm sceptical about horned lambs, unicorns are a well established part of mega-fauna mythology from many times and places. The unicorn gets its due in the Bible as a real creature. Check out Isaiah 34:7 for example.


*The whale or big fish that swallowed Jonah and kept Jonah alive inside his innards would have to be a unique species to science.

*The Leviathan is some sort of primordial fire-breathing sea monster of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Job, and Psalms), the kissing cousin of the Behemoth (see above).

*Sea monsters are given the thumbs-up in Lamentations 4:3.

*A weird composite beast arises from the sea in Revelation 13:1-2: a hybrid of leopard, bear and lion (which are hardly marine animals) with seven heads and ten horns. That's all sort of akin to Daniel 7:3-7. Here Daniel describes four different beasts arising from the sea. The first was like a lion with eagle's wings. The second was like a bear (a pseudo-bear obviously). The third was a four-headed pseudo-leopard with four wings. The last was something radically different or diverse, something "dreadful and terrible" with iron teeth, nails of brass, and ten horns. Then another little horn pops up and starts speaking! That sounds something technological, like the 'Wheel of Ezekiel'. As with Revelation 13:1-2, the first three beasts, despite arising from the sea, are hardly typical marine animals. Something's screwy somewhere!

An interesting question arises. I gather or at least I assume that none of the above beasties entered onto Noah's Ark in mating pairs, two-by-two, especially the more terrestrial and aerial ones. So, how did they survive that flood to produce offspring that would raise hell further on down the track?

CONCLUSION: There's much here to interest those who like to read and study mythology, especially animal-related mythology, comparative mythology and symbolism. There's not much here to excite the cryptozoologist, although those 'giants' might be of interest to physical anthropologists, and the Cherubim and Seraphim to those who like to play around with the reality of possible ancient astronauts.

Science librarian; retired.

Source: EzineArticles
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