Baptism of Christ
by Aert de Gelder

Below is a painting by Dutch artist Aert De Gelder (1645-1727) circa 1710. Many UFO enthusiasts claim to see a depiction of something extraterrestrial.

“There are many strange UFO’s and Alien beings in ancient art but none as clear as this one.” [1]

“You see in the sky an undoubtedly (sic) space craft shining down on Christ”, [1] “a disk shaped object … (shining) beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus.” [2]

“You see in the sky an undoubtedly (sic) space craft shining down on Christ”, [1] “a disk shaped object … (shining) beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus.” [2]

To begin with, the above image is actually a still frame from the History Channel’s joke series called Ancient Aliens. This low quality image of this painting, broadcast on Ancient Aliens, almost seems like a deliberate attempt by the producers to distort the contents of the original work in order to mislead viewers.

I’ll begin by showing you a higher quality version of this painting (bottom right) along with passages from the Gospels and you’ll begin to see this work of art in a different light (pun intended).

Mark 1:10:

«And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”»[3]

Matthew 3:16-17:

«And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.»[4]

Luke 3:21-22:

«Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.»[5]

John 1:32:

«And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode (remained) upon him.»[6]

All four of these passages from the Gospel are describing the intervention of God in the Baptism of Christ. Note in each passage the description of a divinity descending like a dove.

A dove depicted in a a circle from which rays of light are eminating was commonplace in religious art of this period. Here we see classic representations of the dove being used to symbolize the third person of the Trinity (Holy Spirit); taken from “The Dispute of the Sacrament” by Raphael (left) and Perugino’s Baptism of Christ (right):

We can go back literally thousands of years and see some of the first uses of a luminous disk to represent the divine.

A good example might be represented by the sun god Aton (also spelled “Aten”) in ancient Egyptian (14th century bce) religion. [7][8]

Right: The sun god Aton depicted as a solar disk emitting rays of light in ancient Egypt, over 2,000 years before Aert de Gelder created the Baptism of Christ.

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A good example might be represented by the sun god Aton (also spelled “Aten”) in ancient Egyptian (14th century bce) religion. [7][8]

Right: The sun god Aton depicted as a solar disk emitting rays of light in ancient Egypt, over 2,000 years before Aert de Gelder created the Baptism of Christ.

Something else you won’t be told on the History channel: contained within the luminous disk in the Baptism of Christ is a dove:

As was discussed in “Annunciation with St. Emidius“, the dove is a very common symbol of the “Divinity”, or God, in many historical, religiously sacred works of art. The dove represents the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospels (above) are describing the intervention of God in the Baptism of Christ and thus the use of the dove.

Where the “Annunciation with St. Emidius” depicted the immaculate conception with the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit “touching” the Virgin Mary [9], we now see a series of Baptisms of Christ, most with the dove, some in a circle (of clouds or light) in the sky, representing the Holy Spirit:

Conclusions: Nothing mysterious here. Once again, no UFOs, nothing extraterrestrial, simply historical works of religious art representing the contents of religious scripture.