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Final Word on Apostle Paul

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

HOW DID PAUL COME TO OVERSHADOW  ALL THE OTHER APOSTLES WHEN HE NEVER MET JESUS IN PERSON?
This may strike you as odd but Paul personally knew Jesus  and in fact did spend a great deal more time with Jesus than all the other apostles post the sham crucifixion.  Remember, the Romans were supposed to be under the blindfold that Jesus had died in the crucifixion of  March AD 33. The Romans were indeed taken in as the demise of Jesus  was  even recorded in the annals of Rome,  as he was a  Davidic heir and therefore was of high standing among the Jews. Cornelius Tacitus, a  Roman who was both a historian and senator, documents that, “Christus, from whom their name (of Christians)  is derived, was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.” Hence, if Paul was personally acquainted with Jesus subsequent to the crucifixion, he wasn’t going to promulgate this privillege. Paul was only 16 years old  when Jesus was crucified and assumed by the wider public to have died and if he had openly told the world he had an intimate personal knowledge of Jesus by AD 33, they would have thought he was out of his mind. So the only way he could rationalise his vaunted knowledge of Jesus was to couch his encounter with him in mystical terms. Yet even though to the public his commissioning by  Jesus came across as supernatural,  in pesher it is plain that he met Jesus in the natural.   

WHY WAS PAUL SO VIRULENTLY OPPOSED TO THE EARLY CHURCH?
A lot of hogwash has been said about Paul having never met Jesus even by scholars with PhDs in theology. Like every other Jew of the day, Paul knew about Jesus as a youngster. Paul was born in AD 17 and Jesus as the Davidic heir was a well-known figure at the time. Paul was partly educated at Qumran, the place where Jesus was often found and even taught (he was a rabbi, meaning “teacher”) and to say he never met Jesus is an absurdity. He knew both Jesus and his younger brother James at a  very early age. When he became of age (between ages 12 and 16), Paul joined the Qumran faction known as the Hebrews, the faction that  traditionally had been pro- John the Baptist and which promoted James as the Davidic heir at the expense of  Jesus since Jesus was born in an irregular month for a Davidic heir and was thought to be tacitly cosy with the Roman oppressors.  That’s what he meant when he referred to himself as a “Hebrew of the Hebrews” (PHILIPPIANS 3:5).  Paul also hated the fact that Jesus fancied himself as a Priest-King when his father Joseph was of the tribe  of Judah and not a Levite. When Agrippa I became Rome’s client King of the Jews in AD 37, Paul, who had always been attached to the House of Herod as the Essene order of Benjamin (to which Paul belonged) used to congregate at Agrippa’s home in Jerusalem became the instrument with which Rome persecuted the early church, then known as the Nazarenes or simply the Way. Paul was given authority to arrest any extremist Nazarene anywhere in Palestine. The Nazarenes were headed by James the Just but were actively led by Simon Peter. One of their firebrands, Stephen, was stoned to death by a mob superintended over by Paul in a tactical “coup” whereby the behind-the-scenes Anunnaki wanted to set up Paul as the main propagator in future of  the Jesus saga at the expense of Stephen,  who was already primed to do so.     

JUST HOW EDUCATED WAS THE GREAT APOSTLE PAUL?
He is said to have had the equivalent of two PhDs. He was educated at three schools. The first was Qumran, the Essene headquarters. The second was the School of Hillel in Jerusalem, which was run by the great Jewish rabbi Gamaliel, and where he was contemporaries with the evangelist Luke  and the Annas brothers Theophillus (the sponsor of Luke’s gospel and Acts), Jonathan (the disciple Nathaniel) and Simon.  Gamaliel taught his students not only the tenets of  the Torah and other Old Testament texts but also subjects like classical literature, philosophy, and ethics. Finally, Paul attended  the University of  Tarsus, the Harvard and Oxford of the day. The Greek city  Tarsus, in  today’s south central  Turkey, was the capital of the ancient province of Cilicia and one of the largest trade centres on the Mediterranean coast.  It was in Tarsus that Paul was born, but he was not born a Roman citizen as most scholars would have you believe. A letter dated 23rd  March  59 AD shows that Paul’s Roman citizenship was facilitated by  Seneca, the famous Stoic philosopher who had tutored the schizophrenic Roman  Emperor Nero and who had taken a keen interest in Paul’s version of  Judaism (Paul and Seneca exchanged a great deal of  documented correspondence which can be found in extra-biblical sources).  It is clear from the gospels that Paul was a learned man both religiously and secularly. When he was in Athens, for instance, and debated the Greek philosophers in  a bid to pitch Christianity to them, he copiously  quoted their own savants.  For instance, in ACTS  chapter 17, where he addressed the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, he cited The Phaenomena by the great poet Aratus of Soli not only to demonstrate his erudition but to underline to the Athenians that their religion was tantamount to idolatry (v17). When in v28 he says, “For in Him we live and move and exist”, and in TITUS 1:12 he says, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons,”  he was quoting Epimenides of Knossos (modern-day Crete), a Greek seer and philosopher-poet. In ACTS  17:29, he says, “As even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children’.” Here again, he was quoting Aratus. The expression “Bad company corrupts good morals” in 1 CORINTHIANS 15:33 was lifted straight from Menander, the great Greek playwright.

COULD YOU SHED CLEARER LIGHT ON HOW PAUL MET JESUS SINCE THE VERSION OF EVENTS IN ACTS SOUNDS SORT OF THEATRICAL?
The so-called Damascus event as recorded in various passages of ACTS was not the first time  Paul encountered Jesus. It simply marked the occasion of  his switch of allegiance from the fundamentalist Pharisees (who were ready to kill to enforce and uphold rabbinical Judaism) to  the Jesus movement, the so-called Hellenists who advocated pro-Roman cooperation.  It did not even take place in Damascus: it took place at Qumran, in AD 40, when a conference was held to discuss the Jewish position in relation to Rome. Nor was it supernatural at all:  it was natural through and through. At the Qumran sanctuary, the counterpart to the Jerusalem Temple,  there was a prayer platform which had a half roof. The platform was metaphorically referred to as Heaven. Between noon and 3 pm each day, the half roof was open and therefore it was said “Heaven is open”. Paul arrived at the conference with a view to tear into Jesus. Paul was particularly irate that a statue of the reigning Roman Emperor Caligula had been set up within the Jerusalem Temple and put the blame for such a sacrilege squarely on people like Jesus,  who advocated a passive stance toward Roman rule.  When Paul entered the prayer room, in which the conference was being held, part of the roof had been removed, allowing the sun to shine down to indicate the time and to reveal  the priest who was conducting prayers above. Paul first prostrated himself along with other congregants, averting his eyes to avoid looking too long up into the blazing sun.  Then defying all protocols, he launched into an angry tirade at Jesus,  denouncing him as a “bastard”. Jesus, who  was on the pulpit, calmly asked him to come and sit at the front of the pews.  Then he belted off a sermon in which he not only bemoaned  why Paul was “persecuting” him but  sagely pointed out the error of Paul’s ways. Having listened to Jesus’s persuasive sermon, it dawned on Paul that  he had been blinded by sectarian dogma and immediately disposed himself to make amends,  profusely apologising to Jesus.  Later, Jesus asked Simon Zelotes ( who goes by the code name Ananias in ACTS chapter 9) to instruct Paul as to  why Jesus was indeed Priest-King. Simon Zelotes was at first reluctant to address him, considering his reputation as the foremost afflicter  of the Jesus movement but he at long last relented. Metaphorically, Paul had hitherto been “blind”: now after his enlightenment by Simon Zelotes, he “saw the light of life”, a phrase  that we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But it was not until three years later, in AD 43, that Paul was fully converted to the Jesus cause.

OTHER THAN THE DAMASCUS INCIDENT, WHAT EVIDENCE FROM THE BIBLE CAN YOU ADDUCE THAT JESUS DID INTERACT WITH PAUL POST THE CRUCIFIXION?
One is 2 TIMOTHY 2:9. In the passage, Paul, who was under house arrest in Rome at King Agrippa II’s house (whilst awaiting his first trial before Roman governors Felix and Festus) sent a coded message that “The Word of God is no fettered”. “The Word  of God” as we have long demonstrated was the pesher name for Jesus. The message Paul was trying to convey was that Jesus was free: he had not been pounced upon by the Roman authorities, who were looking for him not  as the Jesus who had been crucified but as “Chrestus”, the underground leader of the Christians in Rome.   

AT THE TIME OF HIS CONVERSION, PAUL IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN IN DAMASCUS WITH A MANDATE BY THE HIGH PRIEST TO ARREST CHRISTIANS. WAS DAMASCUS PART OF PALESTINE AT THE TIME?
No: Damascus was part of Syria and the High Priest of the Jerusalem Temple had no jurisdiction in Syria. In fact, his jurisdiction was restricted to Judea only. The Damascus Luke alludes to in ACTS is actually Qumran, the Essene headquarters in the Judean Wilderness. The Dead Sea Scrolls’ Damascus Document makes it plain that Damascus was actually a name the Essenes had earmarked for Qumran in a liberated Israel and therefore used in their coded writings.

WHY, WHEN, AND HOW DID PAUL CHANGE HIS NAME FROM SAUL TO PAUL?
Luke uses the name Saul until ACTS 13:9, when he switches to Paul. People have had the misconception that it was Jesus who renamed Saul as Paul upon his conversion. That’s simply not true. ACTS 13:9 says “Paul, who was also called Paul”, not “Saul, who became known as Paul”. What that means is simply that Paul went by  both names since childhood. It was typical for first century Jews to have an original  Jewish name and a secondary Greek name, e.g. “John, also called Mark” (ACTS 12:12) and  Paul's companion Silas (ACTS 15-18), who was also known as Silvanus (2 CORINTHIANS  1:19). Paul means “a small man”. Certainly, Jesus would never have christened  the apostle who was destined for great things with such a disparaging name. Saul therefore must have been also called by the name Paul from childhood apparently because he was of a slight physical stature.  Luke’s onward reference to him as Paul from ACTS 13:9 was meant to underline the fact that before his conversion, he persecuted the Son of David, Jesus, just as the first Jewish King,  Saul, persecuted Jesus’s genealogical father David before he became king. Upon his conversion, therefore, the name Saul had to be discarded completely since it had a negative historical connotation.  

WHAT WERE THE SPECIFIC ROLES OF PAUL AND SIMON PETER IN WORLD EVANGELISM?
James had decided that both were going to be his evangelistic ambassadors to the Roman world.  But Paul  was to concentrate on ministration to Gentiles, whilst Simon Peter was to devote himself to Jews of the Diaspora.   

WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE THEOLOGY OF JAMES AND THAT OF PAUL? FOR JUDGING FROM GALATIANS AND THE EPISTLE OF JAMES, THE TWO DID NOT EXACTLY GET ALONG.
James’ brand of Christianity was Judeo-Christianity. It was Christianity that was strictly Torah-observant. On the other hand, Paul’s brand of Christianity was a radical one which sought to breakaway from the straitjacket of Judaism, to forge a standalone religion. The Christianity that   is observed today in all of Christendom is all Pauline Christianity.  For example, Paul preached that faith in Jesus alone was sufficient for salvation, whereas James strongly countered that, scoffing that faith had to be accompanied by good and exemplary works; otherwise, it was a dead faith.  Paul’s Christianity elevated Jesus to the status of a God-Man, whereas James’s Christianity received Jesus as a mere mortal but who was larger than life anyway. Because of Paul’s radical theology, there came a time when James had to send deputations  to Asia Minor to try and undo the damage Paul’s theology had wrought. James and others called Paul the “Man of Lies”, a tag that we constantly encounter in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

JUST HOW PRONOUNCED WAS THE TENSION BETWEEEN PAUL AND JAMES AS YOU HINTED IN ONE OF YOUR ARTICLES?
It was a heated one. Paul never exactly accepted James’s authority because he (Paul) was in constant touch with Jesus up until the time he (Paul) he died. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul angrily ticks off the men who came from James to right the “falsehoods” he had preached. He actually cursed them (GALATIANS 1:9) and crudely added: “I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves” (GALATIANS 5:12). He argued that he was commissioned into ministry not by any ordinary man (meaning James) but by “Christ himself”. He publicly denounced Simon Peter, who was wavering between the theology of James and that of Paul, as a hypocrite (GALATIANS 2:11-14).

IF JESUS WAS NOT GOD, WHY DID PAUL GO TO THE EXTENT HE DID IN PROJECTING HIM AS SUCH AND AT THE  RISK OF HIS OWN LIFE?
The Anunnaki (Enlil-Jehovah’s faction) hoodwinked him into doing so. Remember, Paul did not launch into outright evangelism after his conversion. He says he first went to Arabia for three years. It seems it was whilst he was in Arabia that he was indoctrinated by the Anunnaki to propagate a new religion that would project Jesus as God as part of their futuristic agenda to enslave mankind both spiritually and psychologically. In return, the Anunnaki promised him rich afterlife rewards on their planet Nibiru (2 TIMOTHY 7:8), to which they even astral-projected him at one time to demonstrate to him that his labours would indeed not be in vain (2 CORINTHIANS 12:2).     

HOW DID PAUL AND THE OTHER APOSTLES DIE?
Paul was put to the sword by Roman Emperor Nero in AD 64 after serving time at the notorious Mamertine Prison along with Simon Peter (Paul makes reference to his stint here in TIMOTHY 4:21/26 and PHILIPPIANS 1:13). Simon Peter was also crucified upside-down by the same anti-Christian emperor in the same year. Jesus, who was in Rome at the time (using the cover name Chrestus)  actually decided to come out of hiding and hand himself over to the Roman  authorities (who were looking for the ring leader of the Christian movement)  but Simon Peter  urged against the move, insisting he was ready to die in his stead. Simon Zelotes died whilst performing a levitation feat in Rome in the AD 40s.   Of course we know what happened to Judas Iscariot, James the son of Zebedee, and James the Just. Only the apostle John lived to a ripe old age and died a natural death. As for the other apostles, the manner of their deaths as handed down to us is all embellished myth, with no tangible facts whatsoever.

NEXT WEEK: QUESTIONS ON THE PRIESTLY MESSIAH

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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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