As the History Channel’s series Ancient Aliens demonstrates, alleged encounters between people and extraterrestrials are popular stories, even if most people like them for entertainment value as opposed to serious history. Nevertheless, the Bible is one of the oldest books in human history so many people are interested to know if it refers to aliens in any of its thousands of pages.
The Bible doesn’t mention aliens. No reputable scholar argues that it does. A few pseudo-historians and pseudo-scientists contend that certain descriptions in the Bible refer to aliens, when in fact they are references to angels, celestial events, or other phenomena occurring in the air or sky.
What’s an example of an alleged UFO in the Bible? What is eisegesis? What is exegesis? Who is Erich von Daniken? Keep reading to learn answers to these questions and others.
Also see Does the Bible Mention RH Negative Blood? to learn more.
Bible verses that allegedly refer to aliens
No reputable Bible scholar who has expertise in the original Hebrew or Greek languages and the socio-historical background of biblical books teaches that any of the passages listed below refer to aliens.
Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant scholars have significant disagreements on a variety of issues regarding biblical interpretation. Yet, each of these traditions is in full agreement that the Bible doesn’t reference extraterrestrials or their spaceships.
What’s an example of an alleged UFO in the Bible?
Ezekiel 1:4 is one verse that allegedly contains a description of a UFO. It reads, “As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal” (ESV). Other translations read:
- NIV: “I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal”
- KJV: “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.”
- NASB: “As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.”
Those who see aliens in the verse argue that the cloud and fire are coming from a spaceship and that the metal is a description of the UFO’s body. Is that what Ezekiel saw?
What is apocalyptic literature? “Apocalyptic” is a type of literary genre (similar to law, poetry, epistle, etc.) that is found in different sections of the Bible. It’s especially common in the Old Testament prophetic literature and in the book of Revelation in the New Testament.
The imagery of smoke, fire, and metal had symbolic meaning in ancient Israel, which has nothing to do with aliens.
The North: Scholars debate whether or not there is significance to the wind coming from the north. Some say there was a storm god that some people believed resided north of Ezekiel’s location and the prophet was alluding to God’s sovereignty over other deities.
Others point out that parts of the Mesopotamian region commonly received wind from the northwest in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, so Ezekiel may not have been alluding to a profound spiritual meaning when he noted the direction.
Clouds and fire: Numerous Bible verses describe God coming with clouds (e.g. Psa. 97:2; Job 22:14). Many verses also describe God coming with fire (e.g. Exod. 19:18; Luke 3:16).
Amber or metal: Some translations render the Hebrew word hasmal as “amber” and others as “metal.” Though there is some mystery to the word, scholars believe it may be related to an Akkadian word that describes a certain stone that was used in fashioning idols. Ezekiel’s use of the term may be a way that the prophet is describing Yahweh as the God of all gods, the Deity of all deities.
Also see What Does Strange Flesh Mean In the Bible? to learn more.
Eisegesis vs exegesis
Seeing aliens in texts of Scripture is an example of eisegesis as opposed to exegesis. Eisegesis refers to “interpreting a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one’s own ideas” (emphasis added). Exegesis refers to “an explanation or critical interpretation of a text” (Merriam-Webster).
In other words, eisegesis is reading into the text and exegesis is reading out of the text in alignment with the historical context, literary genre, and authorial intent. The first approach starts with an idea (aliens) and tries to find it in the text, as opposed to reading the text and discovering its true, original meaning.
6 more verses that supposedly refer to aliens
- Isaiah 13:5, “They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the Lord and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.”
- Isaiah 60:8, “Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows?”
- Isaiah 45:12, “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.”
- Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
- Nehemiah 9:6, “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.”
- Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
Also see What Is A Soul Tie In the Bible? to learn more.
Who is Erich von Daniken?
Erich von Daniken has written popular books on the topic of aliens, including Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past, which was published in 1968. Daniken’s contention is that world religions were the result of alien encounters, as ancient people believed that the extraterrestrials were gods.
While the book found an audience and was even translated into dozens of languages, no reputable historian or scientist agreed with his conclusions, and most dismissed them as illogical, unproven fantasies. Daniken was also accused of plagiarizing parts of the book. 
Astronomer and scientist, Carl Sagan’s reaction to Daniken’s work is representative of how the entire scientific and academic community received his book:
Sagan writes, “That writing as careless as von Däniken’s, whose principal thesis is that our ancestors were dummies, should be so popular is a sober commentary on the credulousness and despair of our times. I also hope for the continuing popularity of books like Chariots of the Gods? in high school and college logic courses, as object lessons in sloppy thinking. I know of no recent books so riddled with logical and factual errors as the works of von Daniken.” 
Did Daniken reference the Bible? Daniken mentions the Bible but interprets it so poorly that he makes an average children’s Sunday school class look like the third year of seminary. He writes: “Without actually consulting Exodus, I seem to remember that the Ark was often surrounded by flashing sparks… Undoubtedly the Ark was electrically charged.”
- First, why wouldn’t he consult Exodus? Reading the book may have actually changed his (terrible) memory about what it said about the Ark of Covenant. What sort of scholarship, whether it be biblical, historical, or scientific, lends itself to guesswork with regard to sources? It’s a bizarre confession to make and reveals his status, not as a reputable academic, but as a wanna-be.
- Second, Exodus doesn’t say that sparks surrounded the ark. Somehow, Daniken came to the conclusion that the ark signified that Moses could communicate with spacemen via an electronic transmitter. God didn’t guide Moses in Exodus, according to Daniken. Aliens did.
Also see Are There White People In the Bible? to learn more.
Daniken’s work is a reminder that claims don’t have to be true in order to be popular. Some dismiss Daniken as a mere showman (and rightfully so), cheerleading a bizarre circus of historical and scientific claims. Yet the truth is that his claims are no laughing matter. It’s a grave sin to twist and distort the Bible, as the following verses make clear.
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
- 2 Timothy 3:16, “As he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”
- 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Also see What Does Raca Mean In the Bible? to learn more.
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