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John Trashes Priesthood

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

When the Essenes referred to the year AD 6 as the Year of Wrath, It was not a mere figure of speech.  The loss of their high priest Zechariah to the thrust of a dagger wielded by an agent of Judas of Galilee was a crushing blow. For the next 20 years, they were practically leaderless, though by no means rudderless,  as Simeon, Zechariah’s deputy, had bowed out to  pursue purely philanthropic causes untainted by political chicanery of whatever guise.  Indeed, a line in a Dead Sea Scroll dubbed the “Damascus Document” bemoans that “for 20 years we were like blind men groping for the way”.    

 
Yet on a somewhat optimistic note, the Essenes had given the year AD 6 another moniker – the Year of the Plant Root. This primarily referred to Jesus, a “shoot” from the Davidic “root”, who had officially been inducted into the Essene fold  at his Bar Mitzvah ceremony in AD 6. They pinned on him their hope for  a popular political messiah who would spearhead the apocalyptic war against the “Kittim” – their sneering nickname for the Roman occupiers.  Morally allied with him would be a counselor, a counterpart messiah of the House of Aaron.

The messiah of Aaron, namely John,   would be the priest who would promote Jesus to the body politic before he finally strode onto the public stage. John would be the Elijah foretold in the Old Testament through a pronouncement by the prophet Malachi that “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (MALACHI 4:5-6).  


Meanwhile, Annas, the new high priest of the Jerusalem temple, was mandated to stand in for John till he was 30 years of age. Annas, however, was content with being a symbolic high priest of the Qumran temple: all his efforts were devoted to enriching himself from the loot of both temples. When it came to providing spiritual, moral, and ecclesiastical guidance particularly at the Qumran temple, he was as detached as made no difference: he did not care a damn at all. The provisional Qumran priesthood was little more than an opportunistic feather in the cap for him.  Age was also probably a factor: he was only 26 years old when he was appointed high priest and was way short of the qualifying  priestly age of  30, meaning for at least four years or so, he did not command commensurate priestly authority at Qumran.   


Sadly for the Essenes, their cherished hope for liberation messiahs  did not crystalise. It turned out neither Jesus nor John had that much of a zest for armed revolutionarism Zealot-style. Even worse, the two messianic mascots began to work at cross purposes with one another.

JAMES BACK IN LIMELIGHT
The second decade of the first century was not exactly epoch-making but it was fairly eventful as   Annas ceased to be high priest, a new Roman governor was installed, and the second Caesar was crowned.  


Augustus Caesar, who had been emperor since 27 BC, passed on in August 14 AD. He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius, who had carved himself a reputation as one of Rome’s greatest generals.


Annas had been appointed high priest of the Jerusalem temple in AD 6. Sometime in AD 15, he was deposed by Valerius Gratus, who had just assumed office that very year as Roman governor of Judea. Gratus, Pontius Pilates’s predecessor, was a hard-to-please oddball. Of the four priests who followed after Annas, only one lasted for more than a year.  This was Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law to Annas.  Caiaphas was appointed in AD 18 and was in office up to AD 36, making him the longest serving high priest alongside Simon Boethus under Roman rule.  It was Caiaphas and his father-in-law Annas who as members of the Jewish Supreme Court jointly heard the marathon “treason” case of Jesus in the early hours of March 20 AD 33.  


Unlike the Annas priests (that is, Annas and his son Eleazer) who had lent unequivocal weight to the messiahship of Jesus,   Caiaphas took the Boethusian view that Jesus did not qualify for the Davidic title as he had been born in sexually scandalous circumstances. As such, he promoted James as the next in line after Joseph. In AD 23, Joseph died aged 67 and Caiaphas officially recognised James as the new David. Until then, James had been known by his given name Cleopas.

At his father’s demise, he became the Jacob, which was his more familiar title as the David. And since he had been declared messiah of Israel by the religious establishment, he also assumed the name James, by which he was best known. In Aramaic, James was Iah-Mes, or Mes-Iah when reversed. Iah- Mes meant “Son of God”. All Davidic kings were addressed as Son of God as per PSALM 2:7.  That in fact was the original meaning of “Messiah”: the widely held view that it meant “anointed one” was a derivative and not primary interpretation.      


With such sagacious and sensible Essene elders such as Zechariah and Simeon no longer on the scene, James’s designation as the Davidic King de facto did have quite a resonance at Qumran and the national grapevine.  However, James, now aged 23, still privately deferred to his brother as the bona fide Davidic messiah at this stage at least. It was only in later years that he actively contended with Jesus for the title at the urging, unstintingly, of his mother Mary and not on account of personal ambition but in heed  of the sway, generally, of the politics of the day.   
 
JOHN GOES OFF AT  A TANGENT
In AD 23, John turned 30 years of age: remember he was born in  September 8 BC. As the Essenes’ Zadok priest, he had long been tipped to commence his priestly duties in that year. A priest, according to the Torah,  was to serve in the temple from 30 years to 50 years  of age (NUMBERS 4:3). It transpired, however, that John had decided he was not going to follow in the footsteps of his late father Zechariah and substantively assume the position of the Michael-Zadok – the high priesthood of the Qumran temple.

Instead of becoming a monastic priest hidebound by ecclesiastical ritual, he disavowed all this, opting instead  for the life of an ascetic and reclusive  Nazarite in the Judean wilds.  He had decided to be the Elijah proper. John’s actions were informed by specific Old Testament injunctions which he read as applying to himself. One of these was ISAIAH 40:3, which said, “Prepare the way of Yahweh in the desert.”  Yahweh had also announced, through the  prophet Malachi, that, “I’m sending  my messenger to prepare the way before me” (MALACHI 3:1).


Read on the surface, John’s decision comes across as self-impelled, as the  stirrings of a purposeful impulse of a wayward, non-comformist  man. But the Anunnaki undertones behind  the move are loud and plangent. In ancient Egypt was a river called Iarutana. In modern, anglicized spelling, this is … the river Jordan. It was in the river Iarutana that Anup, the Egyptian John, baptised Horus, the Egyptian Jesus.  Indeed, the gospels themselves do not say John decided to retreat into  the wilderness proper of his own accord:  they say he heard a “voice” – that of Yahweh if we are to go by Old Testament prognostications.

Today, in 2015, we know who Yahweh was. He was Enlil, the head of the Anunnaki pantheon, the Anunnaki being Aliens from a little-known planet of the Solar System called Nibiru, seen only once  in 3600 years by Earthlings. Of course in the Age of Pisces, which mathematically began in AD 1, Enlil is not in direct charge of Earthly affairs.

It is his grandson Utu-Shamash (called Abbadon in Revelation) who sits at the reins (he was not uncontested though: the Enkites, led by Enki’s eldest son Marduk, challenge him to this day as the Age of Pisces was contractually one of those in which they were to exercise  hegemony as per the compact between the two ever-feuding clans). John’s move, therefore, was not voluntary  as such: it was a prompting – a setup.


From a purely mundane point of view, however, John’s course of action followed the pace the Essenes themselves had set. About 200 years before, some ranks of disaffected Jews had read the same Isaiah scripture and made a kind of  “Great Trek” from mainstream society to sequester themselves in the Judean wilderness at a settlement by the Dead Sea called Qumran, where they embarked on writing what have come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In the Community Rule, their foundational document, they state that they had “separated from the habitation of unjust men”  with a view to “prepare in the wilderness the Way… This is the time for the preparation of the Way in the wilderness”. They in future would become best known as Essenes but initially they did not call themselves that:  they referred to themselves as “The Way”, that is people who were paving the morally and spiritually upright way for God’s imminent direct rule of Earth. That must ring a bell, or doesn’t it?


Early Christians called themselves “Followers of the Way” (ACTS 19:20) and Jesus said ,“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (JOHN 14:6). All this is unequivocal enough evidence that Jesus, John, and the entire Christian movement were forged in the Essene crucible. A mature John, however, had now decided his concept of preparing for the Way did not exactly dovetail with that of the monastic Essenes.

Whilst the Qumran Essenes pretty much kept to themselves and did not proselytize, John had decided on a strategy of  reach-out. He wanted to actively minister to the nation of  Israel by clarion call so he could effectually get the message across to them and the only the only he could do this was to set up his own base well beyond the orbit of the Qumran establishment.    

A THREE-YEAR PREPARATION
The exact place in the Judean desert John chose as his hermitical perch was where the Jordan River flowed into the Dead Sea. This is 429 metres below sea level, the lowest inland spot on Earth. Called the Aravah, it was not totally barren desert: it was a valley with scattered stands of savannah vegetation in a general terrain of  colouful cliffs and sharp-topped mountains. There, John, with a handful of disciples who included Simon Peter and Andrew began life as a Nazarite and the new Elijah. This was his southern redoubt.


A Nazarite (very different from “Nazarene”) was a Jew who had taken a special vow of separation from society in line with NUMBERS 6. Accordingly therefore, he let his hair and beard grow long Rasta-style, abstained from liquor, and wore a rough camel’s hair garment with a leather belt. Nazarites did marry, examples of whom where Samson and James the brother of Jesus, but John took the institution to another level: he never married and never pursued a trade. His aversion  to an intimate relationship with women was almost certainly inherited from his father, who had to be bidden – if not browbeaten – to consummate his marriage and produce a heir.     


In addition to a southern, Judean lair,  John had a northern lair just within sniffing distance of Galilee. This was just south of the Sea of Galilee at a place called Aenon near the settlement of Salim. This was a strategic location for two reasons in the many. First, it was associated with the prophet Elijah, whose birthplace, Tishbe,  was just across the Jordan River to the east along a brook called Wadi Cherith. Wadi Cherith is the area around which Elijah hid from Ahab and his wicked queen Jezebel and was fed by ravens. But just as important, the spot John chose lay at the intersection of the Valley of Jezreel and the Jordan River.

This was the route the Galilean pilgrims used in travelling south to Judea for annual  festivals such as  the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. Thus John literally stood at the crossroads of a national thoroughfare  where  a captive audience for his apocalyptic sermons every now and again  processed.


Yet John did not begin to court the public straightaway. He waited for three years before he stepped into the public spotlight. This was not by mere happenstance: it was purposeful. He had a schedule based on the messianic timetable of the prophet Daniel. In working to this schedule, he was partnered by one of his cousins, a dynastic one like he was.
This was Jesus.  

NEXT WEEK: WHO WAS GREATER BETWEEN JOHN AND JESUS?
 

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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