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Final Word on James the Just

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

This week we deal with questions on the iconic brother of Jesus

JUST WHO BECAME THE LEADER OF THE EARLY CHURCH AFTER THE CRUCIFIXION? READING THE BOOK OF ACTS, IT’S LIKE IT’S A TOSS-UP BETWEEN PETER AND PAUL AND NOT JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS AS YOU SUGGEST.
The truth of the matter is that   the official early church was led neither by Paul nor Simon Peter but by James the Just, the immediate younger brother of Jesus. The top three in the apostolic hierarchy were James, Simon Peter, and John the “Son of Zebedee” in that order. These three were referred to as “The Pillars” (GALATIANS 2:9).  Paul was the so-called Thirteenth Apostle. He was a John-Come-Lately who was unilaterally commissioned into evangelistic duty by Jesus at the say-so of the behind-the-scenes Anunnaki. Although he was at long last welcomed into the fold by James and company, he was never fully embraced as an apostle owing to his unsavoury track record as a persecutor of the church and because of his brand of theology that was at cross-purposes with what James and others preached.  It explains why in 1 CORINTHIANS chapter 9, Paul goes out of his way to set down his bona fides as an apostle with full stripes.  

YOU SAID JESUS WAS SUCCEEDED BY HIS YOUNGER BROTHER JAMES AS THE LEADER OF THE CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT. IS THERE EVIDENCE IN THE BIBLE THAT THAT WAS INDEED THE CASE?
There is ample evidence yes. Let’s start with the testimony of Paul. In  GALATIANS 1:18-19, Paul says when he decided to close ranks with the Christian movement after three years of introspection, the only apostles he met were Peter and James, that is, the top two.  In ACTS 12:17, Simon Peter, after his escape from prison, relays word to some people that “James and the brothers” (that is, the other brothers of Jesus) should be notified of his freedom.  Obviously, the reason it was necessary for James to be informed of Peter’s circumstances was because he was the head of the movement.

In ACTS 21:17-18, Luke relates that when he went to Jerusalem as part of a deputation led by Paul, the person they sought to meet was James. When the meeting was held the following day, “all the elders were present”, incontrovertible evidence that James was the leader of the early church. Perhaps the most persuasive evidence that James was the head of the Christian movement after the crucifixion   can be gleaned from ACTS chapter 15. At a Jerusalem conference (“Jerusalem” here meaning Qumran, as that was one of its nicknames) held in AD 50, at which matters of crucial importance were to be deliberated and codified and where Paul and  all the apostles and elders were present, the concluding speakers were Simon Peter and James. But of the two, it was James who spoke last and pronounced the binding decision. He said, “It is my judgement that …” That doubtless was the voice of the highest authority.

DID JESUS EXPRESSLY APPOINT HIS YOUNGER BROTHER JAMES AS HIS SUCCESSOR? I DON’T SEE THAT IN THE GOSPELS.
True, that is not made plain in the Bible but it is in extra-biblical sources. In the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, for example, saying 12 has the disciples say to Jesus:  “We know that you will leave us. Who is going to be our leader then?” Jesus answers: “No matter where you go, you are to go to James the Just,” meaning that the authority of James was not restricted to Jerusalem but was inclusive of the Diaspora.  A Syriac source titled The Ascents of James, says, “The church in Jerusalem that was established by our Lord was increasing in numbers being ruled uprightly and firmly by James who was made Overseer over it by our Lord”. 

The Clementine Recognitions also has this to say of James: “Wherefore observe the greatest caution that you believe no teacher, unless he brings from Jerusalem the testimonial of James the Lord’s brother, or of whosoever may come after him.” The elevation of Simon Peter at the expense of James was a ploy by the Vatican to undermine the Jesus dynasty and write it into oblivion. The Vatican claims apostolic descent from Simon Peter, who they say was the first Pope. Yet Peter never held any formal office. The first Pope was Britain’s Prince Linus. This fact, ironically, is recorded in the Vatican’s own Apostolic Constitutions. Prince Linus wasn’t even installed by Peter: he was installed by the apostle Paul in 58 AD and this was during Peter’s lifetime.

JESUS DESIGNATED SIMON PETER AS THE ROCK UPON WHICH HE WAS GOING TO BUILD HIS CHURCH, MEANING HIS SUCCESSOR ONCE HE HAD DEPARTED THE EARTHLY SCENE.  HOW DOES THIS SQUARE WITH YOUR ASSERTION THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY SUCCEEDED BY HIS YOUNGER BROTHER JAMES AS THE LEADER OF THE EARLY CHURCH?
The inference that Simon Peter was Jesus’s anointed successor stems from MATTHEW 16:18, which reads, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it”.  The statement, which was uttered by Jesus in AD 32, that is, before the crucifixion, has been taken wholly out of context.  The English translation from the original Greek has also contributed to the distortion. We know Simon Peter was nicknamed “Rocky” by Jesus because of his tough-man demeanour and owing to the fact that he was Jesus’s chief bodyguard in his capacity as the Davidic King. But Peter did have other responsibilities. Not only was he Jesus’s chief spokesman but he was also his lead evangelist being a dynamic and fiery speaker. At Qumran, the Essene headquarters, Peter was in AD 32 put in charge of the ekklesia, meaning “the called-out”, by Jesus, who at the time was third in the Qumran priestly hierarchy.  

The ekklesia were married men (as opposed to celibates, another specific Essene class) from Essene villages who from time to time were called upon to bring along food tithes for the Essene priests.   Since they came from all over, they spent some time at Qumran before they returned to their families. The ekklesia were also known as the Kath holon, meaning “according to the whole ones”. They were whole (holos) because unlike celibates they were married and so were complete. It is the term Kath holon which gives us the English word Catholic, meaning “universal”.

Thus in MATTHEW 16:18, Jesus was simply assigning Peter a new Qumran responsibility and not designating him as his successor. In any case, the nickname Peter, Petros in Greek, means “small stone” or “pebble”. You don’t build a globalwide church on a pebble; you build it on a real rock. As for the statement “the gates of hades will not overpower it”, this was figurative language. The “gates of Hades” were a set of objectionable vices. In the Dead Sea Scrolls’ Community Document, they are also known as the “three nets of Belial”. They were fornication, love of riches, and conduct that served to defile the Qumran sanctuary. In employing the term, all Jesus was saying was that Simon Peter’s assigned ministry would never be corrupted by these kinds of temptation because he was a married man, principled, and content with his standard of living.  

IN MATTHEW 16:19, JESUS HANDED THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN TO SIMON PETER. IN OTHER WORDS, HE TIPPED PETER AS HIS SUCCESSOR AND NOT HIS BROTHER JAMES AS YOU ALLEGE. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOURSELF OUT OF THS STARK FACT?
MATTHEW 16:19 reads, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Again this is another passage of the scriptures that has been blown out of proportion, much like MATTHEW 16:18, and upon which the Vatican seized to elevate Simon Peter to a status he did not remotely deserve.   If we are to properly contextualise the statement, it is crucial that we turn to IASIAH 22:22, which reads as follows: “And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David.

He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” This is Enlil, the Anunnaki god of the Jews best-known as Jehovah, talking about Eliakim, the royal chamberlain (an officer who managed the household of a monarch) of King Hezekiah of Judah (who was of the Davidic lineage).  The “keys of the kingdom of heaven” is thus synonymous with the “key of the House of David”. But the key in Isaiah was not promised to the King’s heir: it was promised to a chief of staff of the King’s palatial personnel.

Eliakim was not the King’s heir apparent but his right-hand man. Similarly therefore, what Jesus was saying to Peter was that he was designating him as the right-hand man to his successor – his younger brother James the Just. That’s what Peter actually became post the crucifixion. He was James’s right pillar, whereas John was James’s left pillar. Peter was commissioned by James to minister to Jews in the Diaspora (GALATIANS 2:2). He was given the authority to admit Diaspora Jews (pry them loose from worldly shackles) into the Essene fraternity (codenamed “Heaven”, whereas non-Essenes were said to be “of Earth” or “of the World”) or expel them where they were errant (bind them).  

IF JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS TOOK OVER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE EARLY CHURCH AFTER THE DEPARTURE OF JESUS, THEN HOW COME THAT IN THE EARLY CHAPTERS OF ACTS IT IS SIMON PETER WHO WE SEE TAKE CENTRE STAGE AND EXERCISE HEGEMONY INSTEAD OF JAMES?
Simon Peter was initially deliberately promoted by Luke – in his book of Acts – at the expense of James. Now, although Luke is impeccable when it comes to the historical settings of his narratives (places, civic institutions and authorities, etc), he is unabashedly biased in one particular vein – his marginalisation of the role of the family of Jesus in the evolution of the early church. I will give only a few examples though they abound both in his gospel and in Acts. In the gospel, he never mentions a single name of Jesus’s brothers though Mark, his main source, categorically does so. In Acts, he starts by casting Peter as the leader of the church, instead of James; then at some stage, once Paul is introduced, the story becomes a one-way trumpeting of the exploits of Paul. Luke was a fan, physician, and travelling companion of Paul and therefore Paul had to be exalted.  At the first formal meeting of the apostles at Qumran forty days after the crucifixion, Luke mentions all the names of the apostles who were present. But the family of Jesus he simply generalises thus: “… including Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers”. 

When he finally mentions James in the course of his story, he does not introduce him the way he did Paul, for instance. James simply floats into the narrative from without. Of course he does imply James was the leader of the early church as we have seen, but he does not directly state so. Aware that after James was killed he was succeeded by another member of the Jesus family – something he does not wish to make known to his readers for fear that it will put the Jesus dynasty on a pedestal at the expense of Paul – he terminates his story at the time Paul was evangelising in Rome. Scholars have puzzled over the abrupt ending of the book of Acts. The reason is simply that it was a deliberate ploy by Luke: he didn’t want people in the Roman world to get to know that after the death of James in AD 62, his successor was his first cousin Simeon and for the next sixty years or so, members of the Jesus dynasty continued to be at the helm of the Jerusalem church.

HOW DID JAMES DIE AND WHO SUCEEDED HIM AS LEADER OF THE EARLY CHURCH?
Flavius Josephus relates that James was stoned to death in AD 62 at the orders of Annas, the youngest son of the Annas who interrogated Jesus in AD 33. Annas had just been appointed high priest of the Jerusalem Temple by the recently deceased governor of Judea Porcius Festus. What happened was that James, who had been high priest of the Qumran temple for almost 30 years, decided to forcefully take over the Jerusalem temple as well and Annas hit back by seizing him, trying him hurriedly in a kangaroo court setting and having him executed outside the Jerusalem temple in broad daylight before the new governor Albinas arrived. The outraged Essenes, however, sent a vehement protest to Albinas while he was on his way to Jerusalem and the moment he arrived, he had Annas fired after only three months in office. According to Eusebius and Epiphanious, James, who was the most respected Jew of the day, was succeeded by his cousin Simeon, the son of his uncle Cleopas. Simon was in office up to AD 106. Meanwhile, Annas was a marked man: when the Zealots overthrew the Romans in the AD 66 uprising, Annas was one of the first to be put to the sword.  

WHICH ROMAN EMPEROR LAUNCHED A MANHUNT FOR JAMES?
Actually all members of the Jesus dynasty were put on a wanted list by Roman emperors.  For instance, Hegesippus writes that Vespasian commanded that “the family of David to be sought, that no one might be left among the Jews who was of royal stock”. Emperor Domitian was also dead set against the Jesus clan. Hegesippus says he ordered the execution of all the “Desposyni inheritors of Jesus”. In AD 106, Simeon, the cousin of James who was in charge of the Jerusalem church, was crucified by Emperor Trajan.  The apostle John in REVELATION 12:17 cryptically captures the victimisation of Mary Magdalene and her offspring  in these words: “Then the dragon (Rome) was enraged at the woman (Mary Magdalene) and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring (Jesus’s children and the extended family) – those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus”. And of course Jesus Justus, Jesus’s heir, was crucified at Masada during the reign of Vespasian.

YOU SAID THE FAMILIES OF JESUS AND JAMES “CONJOINED”. DID THEY INTERMARRY?
Yes they did. This happened in the mid-second century when Aminadab, a great-grandson of Jesus and Mary Magdalene through their last-born son Joseph, married Eurgen, a great-grand daughter of James and his wife Anna. The conjoined line became known as the Fisher Kings (that is, Enki’s Kings). In the 4th century, a Fisher King married into a family of the Sicambrian Franks of France, spawning a new dynasty known as the Merovingians, who ruled a great swathe of Europe and were reputed to be very popular kings. In the latter-day world, the best-known descendent of the Jesus dynasty was Princess Diana.  But the linear descendant, who has being completely ignored and even vilified thanks to Illuminati intrigue, is 7th Count of Albany, Prince Michael James Alexander Stewart, now 57 years old.

NEXT WEEK: QUESTIONS ON THE “GREAT APOSTLE”

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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