Home History & Archaeology Ascension to the Heavens in Historical Mythology

Ascension to the Heavens in Historical Mythology

Ascension to the Heavens in Historical Mythology


The ascension of people or beings into the heavens is a standard theme amongst many mythologies and religions all around the world. Regardless that most individuals acknowledge the well-known ascension of Jesus, and the opposite examples of the Outdated Testomony, it’s stunning what number of extra have been described as ascending in the direction of their ‘gods’. On this account, the phrase ‘ascension’ refers to getting into the realm of the god(s), whether or not briefly or completely. Right here we are going to take a look at probably the most well-known examples.

Hercules – Greek Mythology

Hercules, son of Greek god Zeus and Princess Alcmene, who was additionally the spouse of the King of Thebes, Amphitryon, was one of the crucial well-known historical Greek Demi-Gods.  He was worshipped in lots of temples all through Greece and Italy in historical instances and is well-known for his 12 Labors assigned to him by Eurystheus, King of the Mycenaean stronghold of Tiryns – as ordered by Zeus’ spouse, goddess Hera, who wished Hercules lifeless.

In one among Hercules’ adventures, Hercules killed the centaur Nessus for attempting to assault his spouse Deianira. However simply earlier than he died, Nessus arrange his revenge by telling Deianira that his blood may very well be used as a love potion, when in actuality it was toxic and lethal. 

Nessus attempting to take Dejanira from Hercules: Nessus restrains Dejanira on his back while striding to the right, Hercules draws his arrow at left, from the series 'The Labors of Hercules' (Public Domain)

Nessus making an attempt to take Dejanira from Hercules: Nessus restrains Dejanira on his again whereas striding to the precise, Hercules attracts his arrow at left, from the sequence ‘The Labors of Hercules’ (Public Area)

Deianira, believing the blood would deepen her love with Hercules, made him clothes from the blood of Nessus. When Hercules placed on the clothes, his flesh started to burn due to the toxic blood of Nessus. Understanding that his demise was approaching, he requested to be taken to the very best peak of the mount Oiti to be burned in a fireplace to flee his torture.

The occasion was mentioned to have taken place on a hill over mount Oiti, simply above the traditional metropolis of Delphi.

The ruins of the ancient city of Delphi. (Public Domain)

The ruins of the traditional metropolis of Delphi. (Public Area)

Hercules was thrown into the hearth and, as this occurred, a big darkish cloud producing noisy thunder descended over them. After some time the cloud ascended once more and to their shock Hercules’ pals realized that Hercules had disappeared. From then on it was informed that Hercules ascended to Mount Olympus to be among the many gods. In accordance with mythology, Hercules obtained married to Ivi, daughter of Zeus, and remained on Mount Olympus ceaselessly as an immortal.

Adapa – Sumerian Mythology

Adapa (or Adamu) in keeping with the Sumerian mythology was the son of God Ea (Enki), the patron god of the well-known historical metropolis of Eridu. Adapa was a demi-god who discovered a lot of his data by means of his father, nevertheless he wasn’t immortal.

Adapa was out fishing someday when a wind overturned his boat, inflicting him nice anger. In his rage he broke the ‘South Wind’, a sort of god, which was answerable for the occasion. In accordance to the parable, the Supreme god Anu, father of Enki, referred to as Adapa to account for his actions, and for this Adapa was ascended to Anu’s abode.

Ningishzida (middle figure) bringing Adapa of Eridu to Anu (on throne at right) (Public Domain)

Ningishzida (center determine) bringing Adapa of Eridu to Anu (on throne at proper) (Public Area)

His father gave him warnings of what he would count on when encountering Anu and guided him on the way to reply his questions and the way to idiot the Guardians of the Gate of Anu’s Palace. Right here is how the account of his ascension is famous within the historical Sumerian Pill:

“Adapa, the son of Ea, the wing of the South wind
Has damaged.”
When Anu heard these phrases
He cried, “Assist!” He ascended his throne,
“Let somebody carry him,”
Likewise Ea, who is aware of the heaven. He roused him
… he precipitated him to put on. With a mourning garment
He garbed him, and gave him counsel
Saying: “Adapa, earlier than the face of Anu the King thou artwork to go
… to heaven
When thou comest up, and when thou approachest the door of Anu…”

(Cuneiform Parallels to the Outdated Testomony ” by R.W. Rogers, 1912)

Enoch – Outdated Testomony

One of the well-known ascension tales within the Outdated Testomony is the story of Enoch. Enoch was one among God’s favourite topics. Patriarch Enoch was the good grandfather of Noah and the daddy of Methuselah. You’ll discover him within the Guide of Genesis the place he’s known as one of many ten Patriarchs earlier than the good Deluge. In accordance with the Outdated Testomony, Pre-Deluge people have been mentioned to dwell for a number of hundred years. Enoch lived for 365 years, which was comparatively quick by the measure of that point.

Enoch’s ascension, when God took Enoch, as in Genesis 5:24: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was no more; for God took him." (KJV) illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries (Public Domain)

Enoch’s ascension, when God took Enoch, as in Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was no extra; for God took him.” (KJV) illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, and revealed by P. de Hondt in The Hague; picture courtesy Bizzell Bible Assortment, College of Oklahoma Libraries (Public Area)

In Genesis we have now the primary reference to Enoch ascending with the assistance of God:

And Enoch walked with God; and he was no extra; for God took him. (Genesis 5:24)

The subsequent reference is in Hebrews 11:5:

By religion Enoch was taken up in order that he wouldn’t see demise; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that earlier than his being taken up he was pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Within the latter, we will see that not solely he ascended however he additionally grew to become immortal:

“…in order that he wouldn’t see demise”.

If we now transfer to the apocryphal books of Enoch, we will see a number of descriptions and particulars of encounters between Enoch and God. These books are the first, 2nd and third Books of Enoch. Essentially the most well-known is the first ebook of Enoch, which was found in 1773 by the explorer James Bruce, who retrieved three Ethiopic copies of the ebook in Abyssinia. The Guide of Enoch isn’t thought of to be a part of the Bible or of the Hebrew texts.

Within the Guide of Enoch, we have now references to the ‘Watchers’, Enoch taken by Angels to see the totally different ranges of Heavens, portals, and plenty of different mysteries that have been forbidden to man. Listed here are some abstracts from the ebook of Enoch:

“… This place is the jail of the angels, and right here they are going to be imprisoned for ever …
… And right here I noticed three portals of heaven open within the heaven: by means of every of them proceed north winds: once they blow there’s chilly, hail, frost, snow, dew, and rain….
… And it got here to cross after this that my spirit was translated. And it ascended into the heavens: And I noticed the holy sons of God. They have been stepping on flames of fireplace: Their clothes have been white. And their faces shone like snow. …
… And I noticed there because it have been a construction constructed of crystals, And between these crystals tongues of dwelling hearth …
… And I noticed angels who couldn’t be counted, A thousand 1000’s, and ten thousand instances ten thousand, Encircling that home…”

(Guide of Enoch)

There are intensive references within the ebook of Enoch that transcend the scope of this text.

The Ascension of Elijah – Outdated Testomony

Elijah’s story is one other fascinating ascension into the heavens, however this time by means of chariots of fireplace. Elijah (his title means “My God is Yahweh”), was one of many main prophets of the Outdated Testomony. In accordance with the Guide of Kings, he had extraordinary god-like talents. He might carry individuals again from the lifeless, make the sky rain with hearth, multiply meals, separate the water of the Jordan river (just like what Moses did within the Exodus), and extra, as talked about within the scriptures.

Elijah was a robust supporter of the brand new ‘God’ of the Outdated Testomony and defended him in opposition to the worshiping of Baal, one of many Gods that the Jewish worshipped earlier than the Outdated Testomony.

“And it got here to cross, as they nonetheless went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fireplace, and horses of fireplace, and parted them each asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)

Painting of Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire by Giuseppe Angeli (1740) (Public Domain)

Portray of Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Hearth by Giuseppe Angeli (1740) (Public Area)

Regardless that it was written that Elijah was taken by God, in keeping with the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, he was destined to return with the second coming of the God. Elijah can be described within the Qur’an as one of many nice prophets of God and probably the most highly effective in opposition to the battle with Baal.

Many extra tales and legends exist describing the tales of mortals ascending to the realm of god(s), so many who you can write a ebook about it.

It’s obvious from many historical mythologies and non secular texts that folks with a ‘particular function’ to play have been at all times in direct contact with their god(s) and visited his/her/their abodes. What accounts for these related descriptions throughout totally different cultures and ages?  Have been they merely the merchandise of inventive creativeness?  Or have been historical individuals describing actual occasions that passed off? It’s unlikely that these questions will ever be settled.

High picture: Sumerian Cylinder Seal of King Ur-Nammu, about 2100 BC. Supply: Steve Harris/CC BY-SA 2.0

By John Black



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