Old Testament Roots
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 books of the New
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 four invasions between 745-676
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. (745 B.C. to 476 A.D. is a
1260 lunar year period!)
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.”
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." (Jos. 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.
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 be 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
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 on 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. So let's compare
Bible prophecies with some of the basic beliefs cherished by the early
The Norse myths recount a remarkable account of creation, which differs
from the Bible in that the flood was said to be caused by the blood of a
slain giant. However, in Genesis 6, verse 4, the Bible does
speak about the Nephilim, or giants, during the account of the
flood. In the Norse account, the world is wiped out in this
catastrophe, with the exception of one household who escaped on a skiff
or boat, and from whom is descended the new race from which the god Odin
Odin is also called the "Rafnagud,"
or Raven-god, because he is said to have two ravens named Hugin
and Munin, which he sends out into the world each day, returning
at nightfall to tell him what they observed. Quoting the Norse
the spacious earth.
fear for Hugin
he come not back
more anxious am I for Munin”
This bears an unmistakable similarity with the account in Genesis
chapter eight of Noah sending two birds out into the
world, one of them the raven which Noah was anxious for, because he did
There are many other interesting legends in the Norse sagas, such as
Thor conquering a serpent-monster, while dying in the process. (see
illustration) This was prophesied of Israel's Messiah in Genesis
3:15, who conquered the serpent's seed by his own death.
Other Norse religious traditions come from the Old Testament, as well.
Odin is referred to as "the law-giver."
This is a title our heavenly father, Yahveh, could well claim, who gave
Moses upon Mount Sinai the laws for the nation.
Another important Norse god was Loki,
the author of all evil, who was said to have originated in a land to the
south. This may well be Israel's remembrance of the Edomites of
Palestine. An interesting parallel exists between Loki, who is
said to lead the forces of evil in the last great battle in Norse
mythology, and the Edomites of Bible prophecy at the end of the
age. In Ezekiel chapters 36 to 39, in the last great
battle, the Edomites (also known as “Mt. Seir” or “Idumea”)
are prominent in the forces of evil which come against God's Israel.
The number twelve also must have been held in sacred significance to the
Norse, for we read in the book, "Germanic Origins,"
that Odin arrived in Svithoid, or Scythia, with twelve chief
priests. The presence of these twelve priests corresponds
representatively to the twelve original tribal patriarchs of Israel.
Early Norse scholar, Snorri Sturluson, translator of many ancient
Scandinavian legends, compiled the Heimskringla,
or Home Chronicles. He says that just before Odin
died he let himself be marked or wounded with a spear-point and that he
was the owner of all men slain with weapons, and would go to Godheim
(the world of the gods) and there welcome his friends. The
comparisons with the Bible are again unmistakable. The Old
Testament contains over one hundred prophecies relating to the coming of
our God in the flesh, our "Immanuel," or "God with
us." We find many of these in Norse mythology transferred to
the character, Odin. In our Bibles we read that our coming God was
to be sacrificed,
(Zechariah 13:7), that he was to be pierced
(Zechariah 12:10), but would have no
broken bones (Psalm 34:20, and Exodus 12:46 where
Passover is a type of Christ). And whereas our Savior was
sacrificed on the tree (in 1Peter 2:23, the word translated
"cross" literally means a tree) for nine hours
(Psalm 22 and Matthew 27:46), Odin is said to have hung on a tree
for nine days. Compare those Bible prophecies with these
lines from the Norse Elder Edda:
know that I hung
a wind-rocked tree
a spear wounded
to Odin offered
The Norse legends prominently refer to the end-times. They say that in
the end of the world a great battle called Gotterdammerung, or
the "Twilight of the gods," will take place between the forces
of good and evil. In this great battle, all of the forces of good
will be killed except for one called the "All-father."
This brings me to my most important point. "Bulfinch's
Mythology" states that "the Scandinavians had
an idea of a deity superior to Odin, uncreated and eternal,"
which they called the Alfadur or "All-father."
For although the Norse mythology allows for a pantheon of gods, yet only
ONE GOD is said to be immortal. Thor, Odin, and the others are mortal
and die at some point in the sagas.
But above Odin was said to be the one eternal true God - unnamed except
to be called the "All-father," meaning the "ever-lasting
father," as he is called in our Bibles in Isaiah
9:6 and other places. In the original language of the
Old Testament, God's name was YAHVEH, which Ferrar Fenton translates as
meaning, "the Ever-Living." The Norse called the
'All-father' by no other name, believing that his personal name was too
sacred to be spoken, although they apparently didn't have any memory or
record of what that name was. Yes, although the Norse mythology
was corrupted with the religion of Assyria and Canaan, yet the proofs
are there that they were indeed "the people of the Book."