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 The Old Testament Roots of Norse Mythology

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PostSubject: The Old Testament Roots of Norse Mythology   The Old Testament Roots of Norse Mythology I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 02, 2009 1:18 pm


DOES Bible prophecy actually speak to us of the Norse and related peoples of Europe? I believe that it does, and that these peoples can trace their descent from the Biblical lost tribes of the House of Israel, removed out of their land in Assyrian captivity two thousand seven hundred years ago, and lost to recorded history. The Caucasian peoples, including the Norse, migrated out of Asia into Europe in the early pre-Christian centuries, and have fulfilled many of the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments concerning Israel in the latter days. Let's begin our study in the foremost prophetic book of the New Testament, Revelation.

In Revelation chapter 12, there appears a spectacular vision which has intrigued Christians for centuries. The vision concerns 'a woman.' Bible commentators see this woman as representing Israel, and the vision as prophetic of events which were to take place in world history.

We are told in verse two that this woman was about to give birth. The child was none other than Jesus Christ, for we are told in verse five that he was 'a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.' It is obvious here that the woman who gave birth to our Savior is Israel for Christ was born of the Israel tribe of Judah, of the line of David.

The vision expands in verse three. We read, 'And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns ...... the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.' This should remind us of the prophet Daniel's prophecy of four great 'beast' kingdoms. They were: Babylon & Assyria, Medo-Persia, Macedonia, and Rome. They formed one continuous succession of four beast empires, each one "devouring" or absorbing the previous.

Using the year-for-a-day principle of prophecy, the next verse speaks of Israel being attacked and persecuted for 1,260 years by the dragon-beast, a period which ended with the fall of Rome in 476 AD. Verse six says, 'And the woman fled into the WILDERNESS, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.' Where in Israel's history do we read of the chosen nation fleeing in dispersion into the wilderness? This occurred when Assyria, the first beast-empire, conquered them in several invasions between 785-676 B.C., dispersing them out of Palestine into the wilderness of Europe. This is the prophetic story of Israel in the wilderness going to a place prepared by God, and it is a fascinating account of how God's prophecies have indeed come to pass. (Note that 785 B.C. to 476 A.D. is exactly 1260 years!)

We read of Israel's dispersion into the wilderness in the Old Testament apocryphal book of II Esdras, chapter 13 and verse 40. Here the prophet Esdras tells us this about their whereabouts: "These are the ten tribes, who were taken captive from their land in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmanesar, the King of the Assyrians, led away into captivity and transported them across the river Euphrates. But they decided to leave the multitude of peoples and proceed to a more remote region .. The way to that country, which is called Arsareth, required a long trek of a year and a half"

A Migration of the Goths

The Prophet Esdras gave us still another solid clue in tracing Israel's northern trek when he said that they "passed through the narrow entrances of the Euphrates River." (verse 43). This refers to the head-waters of the Euphrates, which were toward the north, in northern Mesopotamia. In fact, rivers always flow from north to south in the northern hemisphere.

So we know two things for sure about the land to which the Israelites migrated: it was northward toward the Caucasus and Europe, and it was a remote wilderness. As the late Bible scholar, Dr. Pascoe Goard, has stated, "We know sufficient of the history of all the territory south of the Caucasus to be able to say that they could find no such unsettled land there. But plains, forests and river valleys of Europe still remained which had not even been explored in the days of Herodotus, three and a half centuries later. To that country they took their way." ("Post- captivity Names of Israel," p. 35) Remember that Esdras said they traveled to "a more remote region," a wilderness and that this journey was a long one over a great distance, requiring "a year and a half' of travel.

Yes, northward from the upper reaches of the Assyrian Empire was the wilderness of Europe, and there is a river Sereth in southeastern Europe even today. Over six centuries after their dispersion, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote, "The ten tribes did not return to Palestine ... There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude." Cos. Antiq., Ch. 11, pp. 2, 5) The lost ten tribes were no longer in Palestine, and were outside the realm of the Roman Empire. Even though Israel had been hidden in the wilderness for six centuries when Josephus wrote, he informs us that they were an identifiable people and a great multitude which no man could number.

Where else in the annals of history is there a record of nearly an entire nation suddenly converging on a wilderness? Only the migrations of the Anglo-Saxon-Gothic tribes into early Europe, that land "where never mankind dwelt," (II Esdras 13:41) can fit the picture, and that occurred at the very time that Israel was dispersed and became lost to history. The Angles, Saxons, Celts, and Goths, who overspread Europe, are said to have originated in the region of Medo-Persia, about 700 B.C., the very time and place in which the nation of Israel was lost to history.

The early Christian church noted a remarkable fact. There was a distinct resemblance between ancient Israel's religion and that of the early inhabitants of Europe. Early Christian writers used the Latin phrase, "Preparacio Evangelica " meaning that European mythology constituted a good "Preparation for the Gospel". We now know why Norse mythology, Celtic Druidism, and Greek mythology all bear such striking similarities to the Old Testament - it's simply because these peoples were the physical descendants of ancient Israelites who migrated to Europe in ancient times, bringing deep-rooted traces of their religion with them when they came.

Thor slaying serpent (Gen.3:15)

But other amazing parallels exist, as well. There was also an uncanny resemblance to ancient Canaanite religion, since ancient Israel corrupted themselves with that form of worship, according to the Bible account. In addition to that, early European mythology also bears traces of the religious customs of the Babylonians and Assyrians as you might expect, since these peoples exerted some influence when they brought Israel in captivity out of Palestine. Let's see how history offers proof of both Biblical and Babylonian influence among the people of early Europe.

The central figure of Norse Mythology is the hero known as ODIN. He is believed to he an historic figure, the king who led his tribes northwestward from their former residence in a city called Asgard to their new home in Western Europe. Asgard literally means "city of God," and perhaps by implication, "the city of God's people." Although it has never been identified by archaeologists, it is believed to have been located either in southern Russia or Northern Assyria, placing it in the region where the ten tribes were lost to history. After Odin's death, his great deeds were expanded until he took on godhood in the folk memory of the people. But it is important to note that the name "Odin" shows unmistakable evidence of a Babylonian origin.

Alexander Hislop in his book, "The Two Babylons," gives us a definite connection between Odin and the Middle East. ODIN was the great Norse war god. The Assyrians and Babylonians also had a war god known as 'ADON,' and the Greeks later had a god named 'ADONIS,' as well. The Babylonish Adon was the god of WINE. In the NORSE ELDER EDDA we are told that Odin ate no food but wine: "The illustrious father of armies, with his own hand, fattens his two wolves, but the victorious Odin takes no other nourishment to himself than what arises from the unintermittent quaffing of wine. For 'tis with WINE ALONE that Odin in arms renowned is nourished forever."

It has also been established that the Norse religion involved worship in sacred groves, which were trees planted to simulate the walls of a temple. The Canaanites, too, had sacred groves for worship, and the disobedient nation of Israel had adopted this form of worship at the outset of their wanderings out of Palestine.

But the similarity between middle-eastern and Norse mythology does not end there. One of Odin's sons in Norse mythology was called, 'BALDER,' which Hislop states comes from the Chaldee form of "Baal- zer", meaning the SEED OF BAAL. Quoting Alexander Hislop, 'The Hebrew z, as is well known, frequently, in the later Chaldee, becomes d. Now, Baal and Adon both alike signify 'master' or 'lord;' and, therefore, if Balder be admitted to be the seed or son of Baal, that is as much as to say that he is the son of Adon, and, consequently Adon and Odin must be the same.'

The name of Odin's other well-known son is THOR. Again to quote Mr. Hislop: "Now as Odin had a son called Thor, so the second Assyrian Adon had a son called THOUROS (Cedrenus, vol. 1, p. 29). The name Thouros seems just to be another form of Zoro, or Doro, meaning 'the seed.'" So, as Professor Hislop points out, Odin's son, Thor, is an exact parallel to the Assyrian god Adon's son Thouros. Quite an amazing similarity! (Lexicon, pars 1, p. 93: 'The D is often pronounced as Th,. Adon in the pointed Hebrew, being Athon. ")

It is extremely doubtful that all of this parallel detail could be mere happenstance. A very definite cultural connection somehow took place between the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians and the early European Norse. Yet another author lends credence to this, the professor Hans Gunther, in his book, "Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans." He finds much to admire in the Norse mythology, yet is led to admit that, "one perceives in him (Odin) the voice of an alien non-Nordic race."( Page 11) Professor Gunther goes an to associate certain aspects of Norse mythology with Babylon. (page 57)

Yet one more proof of a connection between the Norse and the ancient Canaanites should be noted: the evidence we have of human sacrifice. For although human sacrifice appears to have been unknown in the British isles, it was definitely practiced in early days on the continent of Europe by the Celts.

But it is appropriate at this point to show that there are also some undeniably distinct similarities between Norse religion and that of the ancient Israelites. In fact, from the Norse sagas we learn many facts which lead to a comparison of both God, and God in the flesh, Immanuel, Jesus Christ. The tribes of Israel, at the time of their dispersion, would have been familiar with the Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah. Many of these ancient beliefs could have remained with them in their traditions after their dispersion from Palestine.
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PostSubject: Evidence of Lost Israel in Early Annals   The Old Testament Roots of Norse Mythology I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 09, 2009 3:24 pm




Pastor Jory Steven Brooks, Canada

W HERE is lost Israel? Bible readers throughout the Christian centuries have pondered the fate of the ten tribes of the House of Israel who vanished into Assyrian exile in the 7th icentury, B.C. There is no shortage of modern ideas concerning their fate, but the real answer to this historic riddle lies not far beneath the surface of ancient annals found in Europe.

These annals are the Norse sagas, which concern events dating back into prehistory, passed down by word of mouth and embellished with mythological elements
overtime.Yet it is not difficultt o see the underlying course of events they describe, even though not written down until over a millennium later.

The book, "Ruling Races of Prehistoric Times" discusses the significance of the ancient sagas. These ancient accounts "tell us of the earliest ages of civilization" and present to us the early "life of the nations, whose home was bounded by the Indian Ocean, the Caspian and Black Seas, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea." We know this area today as the Middle-East,an area identified by scholars as the early homeland of both the Israelites and the Celto-Saxon peoples, including the Norse.

Asgard in Midgard or Media
The Norse homeland was a city called Asgard, which was located within a region called by the sagas, Midgard. "The Gods gave them Midgard for a home," says author Sigvart Sorenson, (Norway, pg.20). The suffix "gard" originally meant a region, city, or stronghold. It is found today in the word, "grad," meaning a city, as in Petrograd, or Peter's City. It is also the parent of our English word, "yard," meaning a fenced enclosure. A number of scholars recognize that this Norse word, "Mid-gard" is a thinly veiled reference to the region of "Media" in the Middle East.

For example, "Etymons of EnglishWords," by John Thomson states that "according to Gothic authors, Asgard in Media, the ancient capital of our forefathers ... is called Aderkind or Azerkind by the Persians... Kind in the Persian name is the Gothic gard, Russian gorod, an enclosure." (pp.7-Cool. Thomson also adds, "The Massagetae were so named... from Saxon Maethas, the Medians."(p.9). The Massagetae were one branch of the Gatai or Goths, later known in Europe by other names such as Angles, Saxons, and Norse, and the name indicates their place of origin in Media. Historian Sharon Turner commented that the existence of hundreds of Medo-Persian words in the Saxon language as due to their former residence there, (History of the Anglo- Saxons).

The word, Norse means "northern people," because their final destination was Scandinavia in Northern Europe. As such, it is a later designation for these people.
Sir Francis Palgrave comments that the original homeland of the Norse was in "Asgard, the chief city of the Ases, beyond the Tanais." (Sir Francis Palgrave,
Collected Historical Works, p. 17) The Tanais was the ancient name of the River Don in southern Russia, located just north of the Caucasus Mountains. A straight line drawn from Scandinavia southeast beyond the Tanais and the Caucasus points directly to the homeland of the Norse in Mid-gard, the Middle East. Rasmus Anderson in "Teutonic Mythology," says that according to the VafthrudnersmalEdda, an early Norse forefather named, "Njord was... sent as a hostage of the gods to Asgard; he had to journey eastwards," (p.474). Underlying this ancient account seems to be a racial remembrance of their forefathers being taken captive into exile eastward into the Median area of Asgard. The Bible tells a similar story of God's people, Israel being captive exiles also sent eastward into Media; and like the Norse saga, it is God who claims responsibility, (Isaiah 10:5-6). As we will see, the parallel Hebrew-Norse exile accounts in reality constitute the same event.

The Hebrew Connection
Links between Israel and the early Norse are pervasive. According to 2 Kings 17, the Israelites were sent into captive exile by God to "the cities of the Medes;"
Media, the Norse Midgard. Anderson tells us that in the Lokasenna Edda, the Norse god Loki says to Njord: "From here (Aegir's Hall located on the sea) you were sent out east as a hostage to the gods." Here we learn that Njord, as a representative of the Norse people themselves, had dwelt on the sea before his captive exile. The Israelites also had dwelt on the sea, in Canaan, before being conquered and exiled. Anderson supposes that this sea "known by the Teutons, was the North Sea." However it is not the North Sea, but the Mediterranean Sea from which an eastward journey would lead to both Midgard and Asgard in Media. The Bible's account of Israel's captivity and exile from Canaan to Media. perfectly fits the underlying details given in the sagas.

Anderson also says that "Asgard [was located] not far from the native home of the Vans." Who were they? The sagas simply refer to them as a race of gods.
Historians know of no tribe in past ages called the Vans but the name suggests a people who dwelt in the area of Lake Van in northern Medo-Persia, which indeed
would have put them in proximity to the area of the exiled Israelites. They may actually have been another group of exiled Israelites themselves, because Halah,one
of the places of exile (2 Kings 17: 6) was located near Lake Van; and according to the sagas, the Vans later united with the people of Asgard.

The word Asgard, itself means the "city of the people called Ases" this word "Ases" or "Asen" means the "godmen" or more properly "The people of God," a distinctive term used by the Israelites (Judges 20:2; 2 Samuel 14:13). Asgard, the city of the people of God, was ruled by twelve diar or gods (Sir Francis Palgrave stated, "According to the Northmen, the institution of duodenary courts is coeval with their race." (ibid, p.l 08) the word, duodenary, again refers to the number twelve. This is very significant, because Semitic people such as the Hebrews used a sexigesimal numbering system based on multiples of the number six.

The Hebrew connection with the Norse or Goths is shown by Boyd Dawkins, in "Early Man in Britain," who states that "we can... trace their westward progress over Europe from their Eastem home, from the birthplace of the nations, Asgard... We can prove that they were composed of two distinct elements, the older or the non-Aryan Iberic, and the later or the Celtic..." (p4). Since the name Iberic means a descendent of the Hebrew patriarch Eber, Dawkins provides a basis for the Hebrew-Semitic descent of a significant proportion of the peoples of Westem Europe. "The Story of Celto-Saxon Israel" by W. H. Bennett has an important chapter showing the Hebrew descent of the Iberic (or Iberian) peoples.

John Thomson adds, "The Celtic language, including the Hellenic and Latin dialects is supposed to have been general throughout Europe... and its affinity to the Arabic, Hebrew and Phoenician, has been generally admitted... The [Celtic] Druids practiced their mysteriousdevotions in sacred groves, like the idolatrous Hebrews."

This Celtic idolatry was itself an important mark of identification. Du Challu, in "the Viking Age" ii: 44) reveals that "Odin was originally a Jotun [i.e., powerful
man] and it would appear from the mythological literature of the North that, for some reason, he wished to found a new religion." The House of Israel was banished from Canaan for this very reason: they had adopted pagan religious practices and were not obeying the commands of God. We read the prophet's denunciation of these Hebrew and Druidic rites in 2 Kings 17:7-10. For a more complete survey of the connection between the religious rites of the Hebrews and Celts, see the article, "Celtic Mythology"on the CBIA website at

Norse heroes provides additional evidence of a Hebrew identification. "Helgi, the holy one (German heilige), [was] the son of Halfdan, the half of Father Dan, the judge," (Ruling Races p.96) The word, Dan, means judge in Hebrew and Dan later gave their name to the nation of Denmark or "Dan's Mark," as well as a number of rivers in Eastern Europe, such as Don, Dniester, Dnieper, Danapris, Eridanus and Danube.

We also find that giants play a significant part in the Norse sagas, which may be a remembrance of one of the best-known Bible stories: David's victory over Goliath.
Our English word, colossus, is derived from the word, Gollius, the Hebrew form of the name Goliath. The sagas even tell us that, "Asgard is a place where giants are refused admittance." Did these mythological giants receive life and inspiration from an early Bible story that we still treasure today?

Ancient mythology is far more than just fictional storytelling. It is a cultural remembrance of the remote past as well as the travels and deeds of our ancestors. This study has only scratched the surface of a deeper analysis yet to be completed in book form.
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