Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow is Easter, which is of course reason enough to talk about Holy Saturday, the day on the Christian calendar commemorating the period that Jesus spent dead. For millennia, Christians have pondered what happened during those hours between the death and resurrection of Christ, and in medieval times it was widely believed that Christ spent that period in the “harrowing of Hell,” in which he broke open the gates of Hades and ushered the righteous dead from Limbo into Heaven. But not so fast, some Christians say. This belief is based on non-canonical Gospels from Late Antiquity and a single reference in 1 Peter 3:19-20: “After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” According to Calvinist and Charismatic pastor Sam Storms, these are none other than the Nephilim!
Storms interprets the passage in 1 Peter as referring not to Holy Saturday, as the Late Antique and medieval authorities believed but rather to a period following Christ’s resurrection. Similarly, he also believes that the reference to those who were disobedient in the days of Noah refers not to humanity in general, as Genesis 6:5 and 6:11-12 suggest (referring to “the wickedness of the human race”), but rather to the angels who couldn’t keep it in their pants in Genesis 6:4:
The point of our passage in 1 Peter, therefore, is that after his resurrection and through the power of the Spirit Jesus went to the prison where these "spirits" or demons are being held and he proclaimed to them the victory he had achieved through his death on the cross and his being raised from the dead.
So, rather than the loving and forgiving myth of Christ bringing the righteous dead to paradise, Storms envisions Christ as descending into Tartarus to thumb his nose at the Watchers and the Nephilim. It kind of makes Christ look a bit mean-spirited to go all the way to the Watchers’ prison to rub it in their face, especially since the Watchers already knew they were going to be judged before God on Judgement Day (Jude 1:6). This reading is entirely in keeping with the myth of the Watchers as given in the apocryphal Book of Enoch and alluded to in the Book of Jude, but it strikes me as also a convenient reading for the punitive version of religion Calvinists tend to favor. Calvin’s doctrine, after all, was that God either pre-saved or pre-damned your soul and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Speaking of the Nephilim, have you seen that South African crackpot Michael Tellinger has a new show called Hidden Origins on the Gaia TV subscription streaming service? In the preview trailer posted to YouTube, he discusses the Nephilim, and it’s kind of weird. (Disclosure: Gaia TV once asked me to write fringe articles for them, and I declined their offer.) In the video, Tellinger begins by telling his audience what it’s like to try to strike up a conversation about Nephilim and Watchers at the local pub:
And when you go down to the pub, and you strike up a conversation with the guy next to you, and you say, ‘Hey, how ’bout those Giants?’ they probably think you’re talking about some sports team, right? But no! You’d be talking about the giants in human history. And this, when you bring [it] up in conversation, normally brings up, you know, laughter and people giggling and thinking you’re joking.
I’m not sure what kind of bar he goes to, but I’ve never once had anyone walk up to me to start talking about a lost race of giants. Of course, I’ve never gone to a bar with Aaron Rodgers, so perhaps I’m missing something.
Tellinger, who seems to have had a makeover and a new hairstyle for his TV series, goes on to explain that he believes that the Bible is literally true and therefore any reference to giants is a reference to actual giants from human history. He shows us his typical evidence, including a carved “footprint” of a giant in granite which he takes to be a real artifact from Nephilim times, and introduces us to Austrian mystery-monger Klaus Dona, whom we encountered some time ago in passing off three megafauna bones he first saw in 1964 as those of a Giant. The “footprint” has been in Tellinger’s stock repertory of “evidence” since 2012, and despite having been known since 1912, no expert who viewed it thought it anything more than an interesting bit of erosion, perhaps enhanced by humans who carved it into more of a foot-shape. Tellinger accepts Dona’s megafauna bones as those of a human giant 25 feet tall (7.6 meters) (I checked, and he’s referring to the same set of bones), and the two men now assert that the bones were genetically tested and proved to be “humanoid” and 7.5 m tall. (How DNA would give height I can only imagine.) Those bones, regular readers will remember, became the basis for the “giant” skeleton statue at Erich von Däniken’s Mystery Park that creationists mistook for a real Nephilim skeleton.
Oddly, back in 2010 Dona had claimed that these same bones were “too old” to yield useful DNA. “It turned out [to be] impossible to get a DNA-sample form the bones and the archaeological DNA-expert thought they might be too old,” Dona wrote. So how is it that somehow the bones are now yielding Giant genes? Something isn’t right.
In 2015 radio host Kristan Harris said that Dona had had one of the bones tested on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and it yielded human DNA. I can’t find any record of this. Instead, he appeared on Just Energy Radio on May 21, 2015 and described the DNA testing a second time. Here he explained in a somewhat confused way that “three or four years ago”—and here he seems to mean 2010—he had an Austrian lab test one of the bones, which yielded no usable results. In 2015 he sent a sample from one bone fragment to a Japanese lab, which performed a carbon-14 test on it and dated it to “23,300 to 23,800 years,” though he did not specify radiocarbon or calendar years, or BCE or BP. (His English is not good.) He said that “they also could get a DNA out of that bone, and it does not fit the DNA of Homo sapiens sapiens.” That is exactly what we’d expect from a megafauna bone. Dona declined to explain whether the DNA matched any animal DNA, saying he needed to wait for a report from the Japanese lab, which he expected in June 2015. That was, so far as I can find, his last public word on the “giant” DNA, and Dona did not make public the comparison (if any) with animal DNA that he thought the Japanese might have done, though he couldn’t remember whether he had asked them to do it.
So, given that “humanoid” is not a scientific classification, and we can’t use DNA to calculate height, it sounds like Tellinger has conflated and confused a number of data points. The bones were genetically analyzed, and they are non-human, but the shape and size of the creature that used them seems to have been reconstructed by fringe figures from what was likely a giant sloth or some similar creature. Sloths are “humanoid” in shape and of the right height, since giant sloths could grow up to six meters. If our heroes misunderstood the bones as belonging to humans and thus tried to adapt ground sloth anatomy to the human form, that discrepancy would easily account for the addition 1.5 m Dona and Tellinger attribute to the bone fragments. That said, I know from the 1986 book High Altitude Tropical Biogeography that the region where these bones were found is known for its mastodon fossils, so that’s another and perhaps most likely explanation for the bones.
But why would they assume the bones are human(ish)? Because that’s what the Ecuadoran owner of them had already been claiming when Dona came across them.
The set of bones isn’t Dona’s “discovery” as he and Tellinger have recently tried to paint it. Dona isn’t even the first to popularize them. The bones were allegedly found by a priest named Carlos Vaca in Ecuador in 1964, as part of a larger skeleton that had emerged from within a collapsed mountainside. The priest kept some of the pieces of the bones, though not the full skeleton. These fragments remained hidden away until 1992 when Vaca publicized the artifacts he had collected in Ecuador. Unnamed “scholars” who looked at his collection declared one “enormous” tooth in it to be human, which seems to be the warrant for assigning all of the bones to one creature and a giant. The interesting thing is that Vaca claimed that an entire cabinet of giant bones had come from the area around his parish in Changaimina, which some sources say is associated locally with a “cemetery of the gods.” This sounds a lot like the very similar giants’ cemeteries found in Ecuador and Peru and always associated with megafauna assemblages.
Incidentally, what is it with Ecuadoran Catholic priests and Noachian archaeology? This is the same country where Father Crespi fooled himself into thinking the land was rich with pre-Flood Nephilim toilet floats.
An old Ecuadoran TV clip from the 1990s provides a glimpse at Vaca’s collection, and the objects he has in his cabinet seem to be megafauna bones, though the show—a UFO fringe program—had a forensic expert on to declare them the bones of giants, while an archaeologist suggested they were animal fossils.
Dona took a handful of bones in 1999 after the priest died to use in a for-profit sideshow of ancient “mysteries.” It’s unclear who the legal owners are, but if they are really “human” or “humanoid” as Tellinger now claims, Dona would be admitting, in essence, to trafficking in human bones, seemingly against Ecuadoran and international law, which is another good reason to suspect that these are nothing but animal fossils.
3/26/2016 12:46:31 pm
>>>“harrowing of Hell,
3/26/2016 01:37:05 pm
3/26/2016 02:17:03 pm
I didn't say the text is mean-spirited. I said that the idea that Christ would go to thumb his nose at the Watchers instead of saving souls from Hell seemed a bit mean-spirited compared to the medieval version of the harrowing of hell. If you see rebuking the Watchers as more valuable than saving souls in terms of using time wisely, more power to you. I am allowed to have opinions from time to time.
3/26/2016 05:38:06 pm
<stage whisper>No one tell kennethos about the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, where young Jesus goes around murdering other kids for messing with pools of water he's playing with or bumping into him by accident.<\stage whisper>
3/26/2016 11:02:56 pm
Sorry, but that "mean-spirited " comment is just the little straw man you've created for a rather pathetic swipe at Easter.
3/26/2016 11:49:46 pm
I'm afraid I don't see how Jason transgressed. Sam Storms is the one who believes Jesus took the time to gloat over the Nephilim for no particular reason while he was dead. That's not a traditional, mainstream or even common interpretation, and some might even see it as sacrilegious.
3/27/2016 12:15:17 am
Nothing against you having an opinion, Jason...most of the time I find your opinions entertaining and educational. That just seemed an odd phrase to use of Christ, at Easter.
3/26/2016 03:00:58 pm
kennethos, I think you are picking at nits on this one. I felt Jason's phrasing made it clear that this is opinion. However, if you want to know how the text supports a reading of "mean-spirited," the series of actions described--ie, going to someone else's prison to announce to them that he won--is generally accepted in our current society as being petty and mean. Yes, it's a touch of presentism, but it's warranted when it's present-day authors positing this concept.
3/26/2016 11:28:21 pm
Colavito's observation is based on a contrived bit of intellectual mush, which he then attempts to use to support a concrete opinion of value. It has none. Likewise with your hollow apology for his "touch of presentism." Would you just dismiss a tad of cancer? Presentism has no place in assessing the past and your notion that "present-day authors" may blithely ignore historical context is absurd.
3/26/2016 02:08:53 pm
Of course, neither Tellinger nor Dona would let it occur to them that the bones being tested could yield human DNA through contamination. How many people have handled them since 1964, and under what conditions were they kept?
3/26/2016 02:14:20 pm
>>>bones of giants, while an archaeologist suggested they were animal fossils<<<
3/26/2016 03:03:15 pm
*bored look* Jesus had a tomb, he just didn't stay in it, but it sure as fuck wasn't in ECUADOR, so it's got nothing whatever to do with the megafauna bones being discussed. Are you blind, or stupid?
3/26/2016 03:10:24 pm
How could someone who existed leave no bones behind ?
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/26/2016 04:03:54 pm
Incineration, pulverization, torn apart by scavengers, carried off by a flood, pauper's burial...
3/26/2016 04:54:07 pm
Except that the real and original "body" of Christ was the eucharist, as he himself said on Good Friday. Jesus was originally incorporeal.
3/26/2016 05:07:44 pm
Are there any references outside the Gospels that the place where Jesus Christ was crucified was called Golgotha ("place of the skull").
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/26/2016 06:46:43 pm
Moved goalposts are moved. Next bad argument please?
3/26/2016 07:23:56 pm
No body, no bones,
3/26/2016 07:26:32 pm
Oops, I forgot. The proof of the consensus agreement on the corporeal Jesus (a vote) has negated the incorporeal Jesus.
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/26/2016 08:11:51 pm
You're the one who just claimed that the people of Herculaneum couldn't have been real because we have no bodies for them, or that Qin Shi Huangdi couldn't have existed because despite having a tomb, we don't have a body, or that Marius, Sulla, and Caesar couldn't have existed because they were all cremated. Has nothing to do with a corporeal Christ. Making snide comments about "consensus of opinion" is especially rich when, two days ago, you bragged about how scholars agree with you regarding drugs in scripture. It's useful when it agrees with you, but when it doesn't, you'd prefer to toss it out in favor of outdated information from the 19th Century. If that's not selection bias, I don't know what is. Next bad argument, please?
3/26/2016 08:31:51 pm
I am so confident I can change the facts about Christianity in the entire Western World. Even to you, Grunt, I could alter your perception completely. All it would take is several sentences.
3/26/2016 09:01:36 pm
V, O.E.G., et. al. I have a personal policy of not responding to trolls or using vulgar language in blog posts but, seriously: Why do you guys bother engaging this shithead?
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/26/2016 09:45:49 pm
The answer depends on the day. If he were a conventional, run of the mill idiot, I'd ignore him. Problem is, he's not completely stupid, he has a few good points, and a lot of what he says makes sense, up to a point. He just flat refuses to acknowledge that point, or the limits of what he knows. It's like watching someone do something you KNOW how to do, but do it willfully badly. It grates. My response depends on the day, it's either amused contempt or anger. But that's why I engage. Bad argument coupled with being overly impressed with himself.
3/26/2016 10:00:25 pm
I agree with Uncle Ron, plus it's funny when Time Machine comments and no one responds at all. It also seems like Time Machine is particularly agro these days what with Jesus being dead, not dead, reanimated, or none of the above and all.
3/27/2016 06:25:03 pm
Actually, you are all wrong.
3/27/2016 06:26:03 pm
3/27/2016 06:28:46 pm
The corporeal Jesus Christ was invented as a tool of evangelism to convert the Roman Empire. It happened during the second century,
3/27/2016 06:34:17 pm
An Over-Educated Grunt is such a simple minded ordinary thinker. It's telegraphed where his objection to Freemasonry comes from., In fact, every statement is telegraphed. The same applies to Uncle Ron. Their limited sources of information all come from standard encyclopaedias.
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/27/2016 07:28:12 pm
False premises, since I've never stated an opinion on Masonry beyond "social club," goalpost moving, since nobody has disputed holy anointing oil, AND ad hominem. Bad argument is an indicator of sloppy thought.
3/27/2016 07:54:43 pm
That's right Old Fashioned Grunt, Freemasonry is a "social club" that is full of politicians and acted as a catalyst for social change and the introduction of democracies IN EUROPE - and was instrumental in the French Revolution -- not a disputed subject matter in France. And that's only beginners,.
3/27/2016 07:59:29 pm
Old Fashioned Grunt,
3/26/2016 08:36:21 pm
>>>scholars agree with you regarding drugs in scripture
3/26/2016 08:55:03 pm
John 19:34: "one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear"
3/26/2016 09:13:12 pm
One of the Gospels is called Romans. It very much was to convert the Romans, and other gentles.
3/27/2016 07:48:53 am
Actually Romans is an epistle, not a Gospel.
3/27/2016 06:35:28 pm
I was referring to the second century
An Over-Educated Grunt
3/27/2016 07:29:18 pm
Except you didn't say "was," you said "is." Romans is an epistle, a letter to a congregation, and is therefore of a clearly different style than the Gospels. Again, sloppy.
3/28/2016 01:35:52 pm
John 19:34: is not the epistle of Romans you sloppy ignorant.
3/28/2016 01:40:00 pm
Here it is again, plainly referring to John and not to Romans
Duke of URL
3/27/2016 11:09:47 am
"in 2010 Dona had claimed that these same bones were “too old” to yield useful DNA ... So how is it that somehow the bones are now yielding Giant genes? Something isn’t right."
3/28/2016 11:38:28 am
Jason...You are truly fortunate to have such a variety in your audience. And you certainly do agitate them to a frenzy, as one does to a hornets' nest with a stick. And before anyone realizes, those angry critters are stinging at anything around, while the one with the stick, who had dawned a beekeepers outfits before stirring them, watches and listens with pleasure to the screams of the victims being repeatedly stung. And what is Jason's stick? Why it is Jesus! But dear Jason, you who worship reason, logic, and science, and believe only in sticks and stones, which may break those bones, remember that your words will never do. What do you know about Jesus, and do you really know those words which were or were not his? But this is a moot point, as is any other words you may have about "Jesus," since it is obvious that, as anyone can see with what you deal, that you don't even believe that a Jesus, human or not, has ever existed. And I'm certain that you do not believe in anything remotely considered godly. And therefore I cannot but think of a Bob Dylan's song; where you, Jason, have Clowns on your left, and Jokers to your right, and you are stuck in the middle with them, the circus master! BRAVO! Quite a "show" you put on.
3/28/2016 12:05:11 pm
Why not take your frustrations out on our resident troll, Time Machine, who regularly disparages Jesus and Christianity directly?
3/28/2016 01:42:01 pm
Clint Knapp comments that he is not religious - but he busts his guts out to disparage any critical treatment of Christianity.
3/28/2016 02:17:08 pm
And you, Time Machine, regularly engage in some gut-busting of own to disparage any critical treatment of your comments.
3/28/2016 02:24:24 pm
Over Educated Grunt is confused person because they are unable to differentiate between the epistle of Romans and John 19:34
3/28/2016 03:18:08 pm
There is no have it or doesn't have it in terms of knowledge it is a growth thing. You are a fool from what I can see who likely is a crappy listener and has general poor comprehension skills stop going back and picking through comments and get a life.
3/28/2016 03:32:09 pm
"Knowledge" as getting it wrong over my message,
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