According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes, and by extension all nationalistic Jewry, had been expecting the rise of two messiahs and one prophet-like figure in the mould of either Elijah or Moses. From time to time, counterfeit messiahs did suddenly burst onto the scene to declare a national revolution (particularly from amongst the ranks of the Zealots, e.g. Judas of Galilee), but the true-blue messiahs that were awaited were the messiah of Aaron and the messiah of David, the former from the tribe of Levi and the latter from the tribe of Judah.
In the first century, the two messiahs were anticipated through the seed of Joseph, the Davidic heir, and that of Zechariah, the lineal descendent of Aaron.
Until the time of Jeconiah, the last recognised Jewish King of Judah, high priests were appointed for life: if they stepped down, it was of their own discretion. In gospel times, they were appointed annually by the Herodian monarch and from 6 AD by the Roman governor.
Every year, the sitting high priest had to be either reappointed or relieved of his duties. These priests of the Jerusalem temple were not of the Levitical succession: they were purely political appointees foisted onto the Jewish populace and bore no relationship whatsoever to the House of Aaron.
It was the Essenes’ Qumran temple in the Judean wilderness that continued with the tradition of a Levitical high priest. At the turn of the first century, the Qumran high priest, also known as the Zadok priest, was Zechariah.
It is a pity that when Christians read of Zechariah serving in the temple, they take it for granted that this was the Jerusalem temple. This assumption betrays a sorry ignorance with respect to the dynamics and religio-politics of first century Palestine.
Zechariah had nothing whatsoever to do with the Jerusalem temple, which the Sadducean elite had turned into a “den of robbers” courtesy of Jesus. Zechariah was high priest yes, but he was high priest of the Qumran temple 40 km removed from the Jerusalem temple.
When John was born in September 8 BC, the incumbent high priest at the Jerusalem temple was Simon Boethus. When James, the brother of Jesus, was born in 1 AD, the high priest was Joazar. Joazar was succeeded in 6 AD by Annas. It was the Jerusalem priesthood who were the official high priests of Israel. The bona fide high priests, however, were the ones who presided at the Qumran temple because these were the dynastic priests.
The Qumran temple, a sanctuary really as it was more of a token temple than a real temple, was recognised by the contrived Jerusalem priesthood as well as the Herodian dynasty. The Jerusalem priesthood were aware that in the future, self-governing Kingdom of Israel, it was the Qumran high priest who would take the reins at the Jerusalem temple.
As for the Herodians, the Qumran priesthood was little beyond a talismanic convenience. Being a dynastic one and therefore the real deal, the Qumran priesthood lent the Herodians a veneer of legitimacy since as a “manufactured” monarch, the Herods were irredeemably unpopular in the eyes of the Jewish nation.
Once in a while, however, the Qumran priesthood did fall victim to the wrath of either the Herodian dynasty or the Jerusalem priesthood itself as happened, for instance, in the case of Jesus, his brother James, Zechariah himself, and his son John the Baptist.
ZECHARIAH NO AGED MAN In the superficial, Christian understanding of the Bible, the conception of John the Baptist was a miracle in that both Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were reportedly in geriatric territory – too old to be productive, more so for Lady Liz who had long gone past menopause.
That is as familiarly fallacious as your typical clergy’s interpretation of scripture. Zechariah and Elizabeth both were spring chickens according to the pesher of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The term “advanced in their days” does not mean the couple were old: in pesher language, all it says is that they had stayed rather long in mutual sexual abstinence: they had not conjugated since their marriage.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were a dynastic couple. As such, they were, per Essene dynastic procreational rules, to live apart till it was opportune for them to produce a heir. They should have done this earliest when Zechariah was 36 years of age but the fact of the matter was that they didn’t. On her part, Elizabeth is characterised in the gospels as “barren”.
Again, that by no means suggests she was unable to bear children: in the pesher language, it simply means she was a virgin who had not had a kid before. Indeed, in the apocryphal BOOK OF WISDOM 3:13, female celibates are referred to as “barren” and male celibates are referred to as “eunuchs”.
In addition, both are also referred to as “Blessed Ones”. In LUKE 23:29, we happen upon this statement: “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'”
Ordinarily, one would think that “barren” and “wombs that never bore” denote the same thing and therefore there is no need to differentiate between them in the manner they have been in the Luke passage. In pesher, the underlying code language in which the gospels were written, the two phrases are different as a barren woman is not infertile but simply a virgin who has scrupulously abided by the rule of not engaging in sexual relations till the right time comes for siring a dynastic heir. Clearly therefore, Elizabeth had stayed chaste and therefore childless for an unusually long period of time and for reasons not of her choosing though.
FEAR OF A JOHN’S FATE Why did Zechariah neglect to have a child at a time prescribed by the Essenes? A persuasive argument can be made that it was on account of the pressures of priestly duty: he was so devoted to his job that dynastic procreational obligations became secondary if not altogether immaterial. The real reason, however, was that he was indifferent principally because he was loath to pandering to the arbitrary and manipulative Anunnaki agenda, the Anunnaki being the Old Testament gods who were in fact Aliens from a planet called Nibiru, seen only once in 3600 years by Earthlings. What was this agenda?
Well, the Anunnaki blueprint for “Saviour Sun Gods”, as Jesus was, fields a cast of three protagonists. First, there is a forerunner, one who announces the imminence of the Saviour Sun God and initiates him when he finally emerges to effect his preordained remit. The second is the Saviour Sun God himself. Finally, there is the chronicler – the person who documents the philosophy and teachings of the Saviour Sun God for posterity.
This three-man archetype harped back to Ancient Egypt, where the famed Horus was the Saviour Sun God, Anup (or Anubis) was the herald of Horus, and Aan was the recorder of the ethos and exploits of Horus. The names Anup and Aan are primeval forms of the names John, Jan, Juan, Johannes (Yohanan in Hebrew), Sean, etc.
Put differently, An-up and Aan are the two Aans – the Two Johns! The epic of the Saviour Sun God ran concurrent with the Two Johns. As wise King Solomon so insightfully put it, “There is nothing new under the Sun: what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done” (ECCLESIASTES 1:9).
Now, Zechariah was aware he was the one who was to sire the man who was to announce and present the Saviour Sun God Jesus. At the same time, as Essene high priest, he was well-versed in Egyptian Anunnaki mythos and was under no illusion as to what happened to the John who introduced the Saviour Sun God: he always met a gruesome death. Indeed, the John who introduced Horus was beheaded.
Since history was cyclical and therefore kept repeating itself as per the Anunnaki’s age-old scheme for the Earthly realm, Zechariah feared the same thing might happen to his son, or some such unnatural death. It actually came to pass as according to the gospels John was beheaded at the orders of Herod Antipas.
It was in apprehension of the fate that was certain to befall his heir that Zechariah shrank from producing a child. In point of fact, Zechariah would rather he died childless so that the Aaronic succession would become extinct so disgusted was he with the diabolical, self-serving Anunnaki agenda. Unfortunately, the Anunnaki always win in the end. Although they execute their agenda for this ill-fated planet subtly and under the radar, they are very much in control and therefore inviolable. Noting that Zechariah could torpedo their well-laid-down plans, they moved to force his hand.
HOW JOHN WAS BORN Early in December 9 BC, Simeon, the Essence’s Abiathar priest who was second in rank to Zechariah and who also went by the titles “Angel Gabriel” and “Angel of the Lord” approached Zechariah with a view to persuade him to set about siring a heir. The Essenes were pundits both of astronomy and astrology and they knew that the Age of Pisces was just around the corner and it was time for a new generation of Davidic and Aaronic messiahs to arise. It was these two messiahs who were to usher in the final 1000-year stretch leading to a theocracy – a globalwide, Earthly government ruled by God himself.
Although Zechariah, who also went by the names “Archangel Michael” and “Lord God” was not inclined to consent, he was under obligation to. Otherwise, he would have forfeited the high priesthood. Furthermore, more serious repercussions would have ensued: as God’s foremost representative to the Essene fraternity, he was duty-bound, so he was told, to produce a dynastic successor who would step into his issues when he was no more. Zechariah therefore just had to comply.
Up until now, Zechariah had been celibate. Now he was going to institute sexual relations with his wife Elizabeth. In other words, he was going to live like a married man proper. The Essenes regarded sex as spiritually contaminating. That’s why for the priesthood, it was allowed for the sake only of procreation. Because sex was defiling, in Essene jargon all married men were called “sinners”.
Since Zechariah had now become a sinner with effect from December 9 BC, he would no longer perform priestly duties nor preach, minister, or issue instructions of any kind: that role now vested in Simeon, who would act in his stead.
In Luke’s gospel, this situation is allegorised in such a way as to suggest Zechariah was “struck dumb” for not believing the words of the Angel Gabriel. Zechariah’s suspension, however, would only be in force for the duration of his wife’s pregnancy: once she had delivered, he would part with her and return to Qumran to resume his priestly duties.
Elizabeth fell pregnant at the end of January 8 BC. Since she was used to a celibate life, the pregnancy somewhat embarrassed her. Hence for the next five months, she cocooned herself at Ain Feshka as she was shy to show off her pregnancy.
Unlike Jesus, John was conceived in perfect conformity with dynastic procreational rules. Hence he was born in the right month, in September 8 BC, the holiest month of the year. If Zechariah had wanted another child, he would have done so only in 1 BC given that as a member of the Levitical succession he had to wait for seven years after the birth of a son or three had John been a daughter. As it was, Zechariah was not interested in producing kids at the pleasure of the Anunnaki. John was to be his only child.
The name John was atypical: none of Zechariah’s ancestors had carried that name. Clearly, it was not Zechariah’s choice: it was mooted by the Anunnaki. Why did the Anunnaki opt for such a name? Because it fitted very well with their agenda for John in the grand scheme of things. John was going to reprise the same role of the John who introduced and baptised the Egyptian Saviour Sun God Horus thousands of years back. He was ultimately going to die the same or similar death as that of the John of Horus’ day. Names are portendous folks: do not simply casually confer names on your children as they spell a particular fate!
When Zechariah was murdered by Zealot commander Judas of Galilee in 6 AD, John the Baptist, aged only 13 years, succeeded him as the Melchizedek, or Michael-Zadok, his other title as the Essene priest-king. However, a “regent” was retained to act on his behalf till he was 30 years old, the age when one was eligible for high priesthood. This caretaker high priest was Annas, who in AD 6 had replaced Joazar as high priest of the Jerusalem temple.
In the very same year, when the now 12-year-old Jesus, the messiah of David, celebrated his Bar-Mitzvah ceremony, young John was present in his capacity as the messiah of Aaron. Thus Jesus and John, contrary to popular brief, were familiar to each other since childhood. After all, they were cousins, Elizabeth being a maternal aunt of Mary the mother of Jesus.
They also spent a lot of time together at Qumran. Unlike Jesus though, John never travelled the world. He was not a political messiah but a priestly messiah who would always be based in Jerusalem. Hence, he saw no need to venture out on a familiarisation tour of world cultures. Sadly, this insularity made him fiercely anti-Gentile and was to engender a serious rift between Jesus and himself.
Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.
So, what is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is aninflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months.
Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.
Signs to look out for
If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;
Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours
The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)
The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Constipation or diarrhoea
The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal“How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.
The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily,a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.
Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;
Appendicular mass/abscess– If the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.
Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.
Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.
If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw
Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.
Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.
We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.
As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.
Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.
“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.
Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?
Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!
Then there is a degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!
Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.
Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.
The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel. They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.
At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’
OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months. Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs. Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!
With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.
While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.
It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.
During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.
Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.
Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.
Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.
Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.
Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.
Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice. Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.
Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.
Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.
If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw
Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.