One of the most beloved stories in the Christian tradition concerns the Star of Bethlehem that hovered over the stable where lay the infant Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.). In recent years, some UFO researchers have suggested that the "star" was actually a spaceship from another world, thus raising the controversial question of whether the Holy Bible, the most revered book in the Western world, contains references to UFOs and alien visitors. Provoking even greater controversy are those researchers who make reference to the Christian Apocrypha, books banned by church censorship from services and religious reading, and the claim that Jesus was brought to Earth in the Star of Bethlehem, which is described in the ancient texts as being winged, with various colored rays shooting out from behind it.
According to those UFO researchers who scour the Scriptures for descriptions of extraterrestrial visitations, the writers of biblical times were at a disadvantage in describing sophisticated spacecraft. For lack of a better term, they resorted to their own known word for a vehicle of transporation—"chariot." Those UFO researchers who have conducted a careful analysis of biblical texts have found three types of cosmic conveyances employed as vehicles of transportation for celestial beings:
In II Kings 2:11–12, 6:17; Psalms 68:17; and Habakkuk 3:8, the Old Testament writers describe cosmic craft identified as a "chariot of fire" powered by engines called "horses of fire" with "charioteers" (pilots). The chariot's lift-off is described as a "whirlwind." In II Kings is written: "And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal…and…behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven…"
In Zachariah 6:1–7, four cosmic pilots are dispatched in as many chariots (spacecraft), which come out from between two mountains. The prophet Zachariah is informed that each charioteer had flight orders to go to a different part of the country. According to the Scripture, the four UFOnauts had been ordered to "walk to and fro through the earth." The Con-fraternity Version of the Bible reports that the orders were to "Go patrol the Earth."
Moses frequently mentioned the presence of the cloud chariots: "The Lord descended in the cloud"; "The Lord came down in a cloud"; "The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them the way and by night in a pillar of fire." The prophet Daniel was another who described the use of a cloudy chariot for cosmic transportation.
Other UFO researchers say that if one were to read the creation story in Genesis from the historical perspective of our current awareness of genetic engineering, the interaction between the Sons of God and the fair daughters of men assumes a rather different interpretation: "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair; so they took them wives of all whom they chose.…There were giants on the earth in those days; and also after that, for the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, and they became giants who in the olden days were men of renown" (Genesis 6:1–4).
If those fallen angels of Genesis should actually have been extraterrestrial scientists conducting experiments on female members of the developing strain of Homo sapiens, they were carrying out a directive of the Star Gods to provide early humankind with a genetic boost. The Hebrew word to describe demigods—or men of great renown, those who were said to be the offspring of the Sons of God and the daughters of men—is Nephilim. Interestingly, the word used to denote true giants, as far as great stature was concerned, was rephaim. The Israelites found such giants among the Canaanite inhabitants of Palestine. Among these were the Anakims of Philisa and the Emims of Moab. Goliath was a Gittite, a man of great stature and bulk, but he was not a Nephilim.
In the apocryphal Book of Enoch (7:12), one learns more of the nonterrestrial entities who desire the daughters of men for their own interests: "It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that elegant, beautiful daughters were born to them. And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamored of them, saying to each other: Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children."
Those researchers who believe that the Bible contains many passages relating to extraterrestrial visitations often state that "gods" from other worlds may have prompted the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, suggesting that the two cities were devastated by an ancient nuclear blast. They also mention other ancient texts that describe flying machines, advanced technology, and awesome weapons wielded by the gods.
The sacred Hindu hymns, the Rig-Veda, constitute some of the oldest known religious documents. The splendid poetry tells of the achievements of the Hindu pantheon of gods, and one passage tells of Indra, a god-being, who was honored when his name was turned into "India." Indra, who became known as the "fort destroyer" because of his exploits in war, was said to travel through the skies in a flying machine, the Vimana. This craft was equipped with awesome weapons capable of destroying a city. The effect of these weapons seems to have been like that of laser beams or some kind of nuclear device.
Another ancient Indian text, the Mahabharata, tells of an attack on an enemy army: "It was as if the elements had been unfurled. The sun spun around in the heavens. The world shuddered in fever, scorched by the terrible heat of this weapon. Elephants burst into flames.…The rivers boiled. Animals crumpled to the ground and died. The armies of the enemy were mowed down when the raging elements reached them. Forests collapsed in splintered rows. Horses and chariots were burned up.…The corpses of the fallen were mutilated by the terrible heat so that they looked other than human.…"
Many old traditions speak of a war between the forces of light and darkness that raged in humankind's prehistory. Perhaps there were rival extraterrestrial forces that fought for dominance over prehistoric Earth. According to some traditions, the Sons of Light vanquished certain Dark Magicians who sought to enslave developing humankind. Whatever may have caused such a violent conflict, physical evidence exists on Earth indicating that someone was exercising power of formidable energy. There are accounts of sand melted into glass in certain desert areas, of hill forts with vitrified portions of stone walls, of the remains of ancient cities that had been destroyed by what appears to have been extreme heat—far beyond that which could have been scorched by the torches of primitive human armies. Even conventionally trained archaeologists who have encountered such anomalous finds have admitted that none of these catastrophes have been caused by volcanoes, by lightning, by crashing comets, or by conflagrations set by humankind.