This is my third post on Cutha and Nergal. (Wikipedia spells it Kutha.) The goal is for us to place our faith in God, & to understand the history of Satan’s methods. God’s wisdom teaches us to be humble about the future: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring.”(A) Christ taught, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow…Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (B) We would like to think we know the future, whether it appears to be bad or good, but the future is full of surprises. Terrible times end up blessing us. Wonderful times end up cursing us. Patience, my dear brothers & sisters, let us endure to the end. This post will explore some issues that Cutha raised for God’s people which still face us, such as astrology. Joseph & Moses faced the astrologers of Pharaoh (C), & Daniel faced the astrologers of Babylon’s Kings Nebuchadnezzar & Belshazzar (D). With God’s Spirit of Prophecy the astrologers were shown to be wicked & clueless. Paul & Barnabas faced the worship of stars in Lystria, when Barnabas was called “Jupiter” & Paul “Mercury”.(ACTS 14:11,12)
Astrology was invented in ancient Mesopotamia—and records of Babylonian astrology go back to at least 1950 B.C. From there it spread all over, except to the faithful in ancient Israel. I have read translations from the ancient cuneiform astrological readings and they sound like a modern newspaper’s astrology reading. Today, a quarter of Americans believe astrology, which is by definition a form of divination. Pres. Reagan’s court astrologer was Joan Quigley. Astrology is widely used by modern witches. Babylon also used other methods like trends shown by data similar to modern stock predictions to predict the future.
For those who don’t remember, Nergal was the Babylonian God of the Underworld who we call Satan today. Cutha (mentioned in 2 KGS 17:24,30) was the priestly city built on the Euphrates to worship Satan. It had its pyramid temple to Satan, and an astronomical observatory for Babylon’s astrologers (its wise men called “philosophers”). The city was said to be the home to demonic spirits. Assyria’s & Babylon’s demons were known by several names incl. “the children of Anu”, and “the Seven” (even though there were more than 7). Interestingly, the Seven Sisters (the Pleiades) has been a prominent set of stars even before history. In the Babylonian Star Catalog the Pleiades is called MUL.MUL (“the star of stars”). In Japanese it is called Subaru (which explains the Subaru logo). It was mentioned in the most ancient of Bible books, Job.(E)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CUTHA. It never ceases to amaze me that Cutha & Nergal are rarely mentioned & explained. It’s as if the history of the ancient worship of Satan is unimportant to know about. Nergal began as a god of Sumer & besides being connected to what we call Hell (the Underworld), he was also connected to hunting as Nimrod was; and Kutha was called Gudua by the Sumerians. Later, King Shulgi of Ur (2029-1982 B.C.), during his 46 yr. reign, built a temple to Nergal at Cutha. 165 yrs. later, King Sumu-la-El of Babylon rebuilt Cutha’s walls. He was the 2nd king of the first Babylonian dynasty, and the 6th king of that dynasty was famous King Hammurabi, whose army conquered Cutha by storming it. Hammurabi in the prologue to his famous laws, writes about his loyalty to Cutha’s god Nergal. Cutha & Nergal were still important when King Sargon II of Assyria took the captive Israelites to Cutha (2 KGS 17:24-30). History records that these captives who settled in Cutha came to be known as the Samaritans.(F)
NERGAL MYTHOLOGY. Nimrod, Ninurta and Nergal were all known as mighty hunters. Ninurta was the god of hunting, and his ancient sacred city is now known as Nimrud (a variation it is said of Nimrod). In Bible times Nimrud city was called Calah (GEN 10:11,12). According to myth, Nergal was a cocky fellow who ended up attracting the Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, to have long sexual trysts with him. Observing this, the gods decided that it was o.k. for him to co-rule with her. Nergal represented the sun-god when it was being seasonally killed. The sun has a shadow of turning. But God’s Word says specifically that He doesn’t. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above [God not the stars], and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”(G)
AN EXAMPLE OF A BABYLONIAN KING & ASTROLOGY. The Babylonian text of Assur (c.700 B.C) tells of how King Esarhaddon used astrology. Finding the stars favorable, he took the damaged idols (gods) and restored them. This king was the grandson of Sargon. His treaty with the Median King Ramataia in 672 B.C. reads: “In the presence of the planets, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Sirius, and in the presence of Assur [who determines the fates], Ann, Enlil, Ea, Sin…Nergal…Ishtar of Ninevah…by all the gods in…[various cities]…by all the gods in Babylon, Borsippa, Nippur, by the gods of Sumer….” An example of an almanac (from 568 B.C.): “On the 18th of the month, Dilbat was 2 degrees 55 seconds above Regulus (the brightest star in the Lion constellation). Night of the eighth, evening, Sin stood six degrees 15 seconds under the Balance of the North.” A further example is a horoscope from King Darius’ time, which still survives.
THE HUMILIATION OF BABYLON’S DAUGHTER IS DESCRIBED IN ISAIAH 47: “Come down and sit in the dust,…daughter of Babylon;…your shame will be seen;…go into darkness,…For you trusted in your wickedness;…Therefore evil shall come upon you; you shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know. Stand now with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored from your youth…Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from these things that shall come upon you….Your merchants from your youth; they shall wander each one to his quarter. No one shall save you.”
God’s people had a chance to accept the wisdom of Babylon and its astrology for over two thousand years. God’s faithful rejected it, for they believed God has direct control over things not the stars. But there were also those who should have known better so God’s prophets constantly warned not to practice divination (esp. astrology).(H) Those that did practice it were described: “And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and who they have sought…and death shall be chosen…by…this evil family.”(I)
CONCLUSION: “I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.”(J) The Words of the Lord are pure words.
(A) PROV 27:1 (B) MT 6:34 (C) Joseph-GEN 41:8,16; Moses-EX chptrs. 7 -11 (D) DAN 1:19-21, 2:10-13, 27-28 and 4:4-7, 5:10-11, 15, 17 (E) JOB 9:9, 38:31 (F) Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews: IX 14, §3 (G) JAS 1:17 (H) the list of scripture warning about astrology and divination in general include: DT 18:9-10, 13-15, 2 CHR 33:2,3,6, ISA 44:24-25, JER 27:9-10, 29:8, ZECH 10:2, & GAL 4:8-11 (I) JER 8:2 (J) 1 COR 10:20