Ancient texts and stories weave tales of time travel, thousands of years before science fiction movies would popularize the concept in the mainstream. They also tell stories of strange magical beasts that can talk and perform amazing feats. These stories appear in texts followed by millions of people all over the planet today.
One example is from the Sanskrit epics of ancient India dating back to 400 BC. The Mahabharata contains a story of a King who travels to another dimension, the home of the deity, Brahma. He sought a suitable husband for his daughter, Revati.
The King and his daughter were soon shocked to learn about time dilation. During their short visit, thousands of years elapsed on Earth. Everyone they knew back home would be long gone by the time they returned.
Another story about time dilation happens in the Bible recognized by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The story is left out of the mainstream Bible that most Christians know, but one researcher was keenly aware of the story in 4 Baruch, or the “Rest of the Words of Baruch,” or the Paraleipomena Jeremiou.
Ancient astronaut theorist, Erich Von Daniken appeared on Ancient Aliens, “The Time Travelers” to discuss this story. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention that the story has been excluded from the Bible familiar to most people.
“Even in the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah was sitting together with a few of his friends, and there was a young boy. His name was Abemolik. And Jeremiah said to Abemolik,
Go out of Jerusalem, there is a hill and collect some figs for us.’ The boy went out and collected the fresh figs. All of a sudden, Abemolik hears some noise and wind in the air, and he becomes unconscious, he had a blackout. After a time he wakes up again, and he saw it was nearly the evening. So when he runs back to the society and the city was full of strange soldiers. And he says, ‘What’s going on here? Where is Jeremiah and all the others?’ And an old man said, ‘That was 62 years ago.’ It’s a time travel story written in the Bible.”
The story sounds very similar to one of America’s most cherished folktales, that of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.
So why was this story left out of the Bible? Biblical scholars consider it a pseudepigraphical work, meaning they dispute that Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, was the author as well as the date of origin.
One wonders if it was also omitted because it reads like folklore or mythology, similar to other ancient texts like those of ancient Sumeria or Egypt.
Overall, Von Daniken gets the story correct, except the period of years was actually longer: 66. Another Jewish pseudepigraphical text, the Jeremiah Apocryphon or the History of the Babylonian Captivity, records that Abimelech slept for 70 years and was written in Coptic Egyptian, Arabic, and Garshuni manuscripts.
A condensed version is below:
5.1 But Abimelech took the figs in the burning heat; and coming upon a tree, he sat under its shade to rest a bit.
5.2 And leaning his head on the basket of figs, he fell asleep and slept for 66 years; and he was not awakened from his slumber.
5.3 And afterward, when he awoke from his sleep, he said: I slept sweetly for a little while, but my head is heavy because I did not get enough sleep.
5.7 So he got up and took the basket of figs and placed it on his shoulders, and he entered into Jerusalem and did not recognize it—neither his own house nor the place—nor did he find his own family or any of his acquaintances.
5.15 And as he sat, he saw an old man coming from the field; and Abimelech said to him: I say to you, old man, what city is this?
5.16 And he said to him: It is Jerusalem.
5.17 And Abimelech said to him: Where is Jeremiah the priest, and Baruch the secretary, and all the people of this city, for I could not find them?
5.18 And the old man said to him: Are you not from this city, seeing that you remember Jeremiah today, because you are asking about him after such a long time?
5.19 For Jeremiah is in Babylon with the people; for they were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, and Jeremiah is with them to preach the good news to them and to teach them the word.
5.29 For behold it is 66 years today since the people were taken captive into Babylon.
As you can see, the story of time dilation is striking, but the story continues to get stranger. Author and skeptic, Jason Colavito discussed what comes next in 4 Baruch as he explained why any notion of time dilation should be discounted.
“If you don’t believe this book is a fantasy, perhaps the rest of the text can make the case: A magic eagle takes the figs to Babylon, where they have gained the supernatural power to raise the dead. Later, Jeremiah dies and is resurrected. During his ‘death’ he becomes convinced of the truth of ‘messiah Jesus, the light of all the ages’ and delivers a prophecy of the coming of Christianity. Then the Jews stone him to death,” wrote Colavito.
That’s right: a talking eagle serves as God’s messenger and resurrects a person who has died. When Abimelech wakes up from his slumber for over half a century, he and a much older Baruch reunite and find the eagle waiting for them.
7.1 And Baruch got up and departed from the tomb and found the eagle sitting outside the tomb.
7.2 And the eagle said to him in a human voice: Hail, Baruch, steward of the faith.
7.3 And Baruch said to him: You who speak are chosen from among all the birds of heaven, for this is clear from the gleam of your eyes; tell me, then, what are you doing here?
7.4 And the eagle said to him: I was sent here so that you might through me send whatever message you want.” The eagle takes a letter and some of the figs to Jeremiah. It finds Jeremiah officiating at a funeral and alights on the corpse, bringing the body back to life.
7.18 And the eagle came down on the corpse, and it revived.
7.19 (Now this took place so that they might believe.)
7.20 And all the people were astounded at what had happened, and said: This is the God who appeared to our fathers in the wilderness through Moses, and now he has appeared to us through the eagle.”
This story would seem of great importance since it marks the end of the Israelite exile and is a resurrection miracle, but very few people have ever heard of it. There is very little written about it online, almost as if it never existed, but it clearly does. You can read the story in detail here.
The relevance of this story of time dilation and an eagle has been all-but swept away in history. Is it merely a tall tale, made up for dramatic effect? If so, it’s interesting to note that the Book of Baruch, part of the Apocrypha, or “hidden,” made it into the Old Testament of Catholic Bibles.
Stories about humanoid beings with eagle heads and wings are seen commonly in ancient carvings around the world, carrying bags and wearing wristwatches. Did these beings have the power to resurrect the dead? Now, that might sound far-fetched, but now you know that’s a story found in the “Rest of the Words of Baruch.”
Watch biblical scholars talk about why they don’t recognize this story below. No talk of a messenger eagle capable of bringing back the dead or time travel is ever discussed.
Featured image: Eagle via Pixabay with screenshot via YouTube