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The 10th Planet

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

The region of space in which we dwell is known as the Solar System. It is a family comprising of  the Sun and nine planets. The planets are in two categories. Those closest to the Sun are known as the inner planets. The furtherest are known as the outer planets.

The inner planets are, in order of their orbital positions, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Of course Pluto was in 2006 stripped of  its status as a planet but that was sacrilegious: the ancients, who had a better grasp of cosmology than we do today, trust me, called it a planet. That’s what we too ought to.    

The Sun and its 9 planets – the familiar version – are called the Solar System (or Sun System) after the Sun itself. “Sol” is the Sun’s astronomical name.  Sun Systems are frequently forming in the universe. Our Sun System was formed about 5 billion years ago. That makes it a young, middle-age system. In 2010, a group of NASA astronomers discovered a newly formed star, as suns are also known, in the Perseus region of the universe,  about 800 light years away from the
Milky Way Galaxy.  They called it L1448 IRS 2E.

However, the 9 planets are what we can call native planets in that they are direct offspring of the Sun. For the fact of the matter is that there is actually a 10th planet in our Solar System. This planet is an immigrant from some other region of our cosmic neighborhood. It joined the Solar System fold   4 billion years ago. Among the UFO community, it is best known as Planet X. The Sumerians, however, called it Nibiru. They also referred to it as “The Imperishable Star”. The Babylonians referred to it as Marduk. The Egyptians called it “The Planet of a Million Years”. In the Bible, it goes by several names – Olam, The Star of Jacob,   and most notably “The Lord”.  Christians do not know how often the term “Lord” in the Old Testament actually refers to Nibiru. Even our own African cousins, the Zulus, knew about Nibiru. The legendary Zulu Shaman, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, says they called it “Mushoshonono”.

The Old Testament for one is replete with overt and covert references to Nibiru. The great Jewish Rabbi Gamaliel, a contemporary of Jesus who also trained the apostle Paul, made tell-tale hints about it.   Even the iconic scientist Isaac Newton was familiar with its existence and this was four centuries before the Hubble Telescope was invented.  And at least three to five Earth-born humans have been to it, some even settling there permanently!

What is ironic is that although NASA knows about Nibiru, they have never directly come to acknowledge its existence. Hints have been given all right but they have not been matter-of-fact. Some of the hints have in fact been withdrawn the day after being made. Why have official astronomers chosen to keep the existence of the planet under wraps?  
THE SITCHIN ILLUMINATION

The planet Nibiru  has existed since days immemorial and is older than the Sun. In our day, the foremost illuminator on the planet’s existence no doubt has been my departed friend Zechariah Sitchin. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the pioneering works of the Azerbaijan-born Israeli Sitchin, yours and my knowledge of Nibiru would be greatly diminished. In fact, it would border on zero. Sitchin, who was only one of a handful of experts in the ancient language of Sumer, devoted practically all his adult life to the study of myriads of Sumerian tablets. In these millennia-old clay tablets is etched the saga of the Anunnaki – the Nibiruian spacefarers  who created us.

In 1976, Sitchin published a book titled The 12th Planet, the first in a slew of more than a dozen that were to follow. In it,  he made the case that contrary to popular belief, the Solar System was not a family of only nine planets. There was a tenth planet called  Nibiru. Nibiru, Sitchin declared, was not a lifeless planet. It was an inhabited planet, and its inhabitants were a race of technologically advanced human-like beings the Sumerians, the world’s first-known civilisation that thrived in modern-day Iraq 6000 years ago, called the Anunnaki  and who fashioned mankind here on Earth about 300,000 years ago. It is these same Anunnaki  who the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) for the most part addresses as “God” – Jehovah or Yahweh.

Now, if such a planet indeed did exist, why hadn’t 20th century cosmology detected it? Anticipating such a question, Sitchin pointed out the reason why, which had to do with its elongated, comet-like orbit that sent it much deeper into outer space for the greater part of its around-the-Sun journey.    Nibiru, wrote Sitchin, took 3,600 years to make one complete revolution around the Sun. In other words, one year on Nibiru – which the Sumerians termed a shar – was equivalent to 3,600 years on earth. Taking the average lifespan on earth as 100 years, it meant Nibiru could be seen only once in 360 generations.     

Nibiru, Sitchin continued, had further peculiarities beyond an elongated orbit (as opposed to a generally circular one that typified all the other planets in the Solar System). It revolved around the Sun clockwise – like a comet – when the other planets save for Pluto  did so anticlockwise. Further, Nibiru generated its own heat through brisk volcanic activity to  compensate for its bleak weather conditions: it, for the greater part of its circuit,   languished in the cold and pitch darkness such was its distance from the Sun. .      

Sitchin went on to assert that although he was arguably the first to outrightly point the modern world to Nibiru’s existence, he wasn’t its discoverer: the planet was well-known by the Sumerians of  6,000 years ago. They wrote about it, depicted it, sang and recited venerational poetry in its honour, generally revered and extolled it. Modern cosmology  was way behind that of the Sumerians of yore. The likes of NASA, with their superfluously educated cadre of rocket scientists and their outsized IQs,  had precious much to learn from the Sumerians.   The 12th Planet was a bold statement indeed.       

Although Sitchin’s book overnight shot to the acmes of the international best seller list, the scientific community received it dismissively and even contemptuously. Charges flew thick and fast that his  was a shot in the dark, that as a mere researcher and not a trained astronomer or cosmologist Sitchin had no business poking his lay nose in a territory way beyond his ken. Even his acknowledged mastery of the Sumerian language now became the butt of unbridled vitriol. But was Sitchin as black as he was being painted? Was he nothing more than a cheap sensationalist whose only agenda was to make a quick buck, to reap where he did not at all sow?

PLANET X

It turned out that  unbeknown to most of the world, America’s scientific establishment had been searching for the tenth planet from as early as 1968. In that year, the National Security Agency (NSA) in a study of UFO phenomena pondered the possibility and aftermath of  “a confrontation between a technologically advanced  extraterrestrial society and an inferior one on Earth”, that is, us, to put it more bluntly. Would we stand a chance? Maybe it was time Earthlings launched a quest for just such a society lest we be taken unawares and dealt a preemptive, crushing blow. The starting point was south of the furthermost planets, Neptune and Pluto.

The sought-after  planet was dubbed “Planet X”, which epithet at once denoted its mysterious nature and its status, potentially,  as the Solar System’s tenth planet.  But why did Zechariah Sitchin call it the 12th planet?      Well,  Sitchin termed it as such in deference to the Sumerians. In the Sumerian cosmogony, there were ten literal planets and two putative   planets. The ten planets were the nine we know today plus Nibiru. The putative planets were the Sun and the moon. The Sumerians  knew the Sun was the Solar System’s parent star and the moon was simply a satellite of  planet Earth. But they banded the two with the ten planets because of the cosmic eminence of the  number 12 (which eminence we will explore in future). Hence, Sitchin’s preference for the term “12th  Planet”.

Now, are you getting the photo folks? The Sumerians knew, 6,000 years ago – before astronomy’s greatest luminaries like Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler were born – that our Solar System comprised of  ten planets. Modern man actually only came to know about the nine  planets gradually. Whereas Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been known since no-one-knows-when (they can be seen with the naked eye as guises of  big bright stars),  Uranus was discovered in  1781, Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930. Yet the Sumerians had knowledge of  all the nine  planets plus an extra one – Nibiru. Where did they get the knowledge from, the knowledge that even today we are yet to master in its fullness?

“We learnt all we know from the Anunnaki,” the Sumerians repeatedly and emphatically stated in the treasure trove of their clay tablets and cylinder seals.  The popular meaning of the term “Anunnaki” is, “Those Who From Heaven to Earth Came”. We will stick to this version for now. So what the Sumerians were saying was that they learnt all they knew from people who came from “Heaven”,  people they called their gods. By “Heaven”, they did not mean the spiritual dwelling place of God,  the First Source: that is a modern interpretation. To the ancients, Heaven was any place in outer space that housed their “gods” or “Goddess”, that is, the Anunnaki or the Orion Queen. In the main, Heaven was the Orion star system, the Sirius star system, and the planet Nibiru.  Nibiru means “The Planet of the Crossing”. Why they called it so we will explain in due course.  
 
THE SEARCH FOR PLANET X

Planetary bodies exert a force on each other called perturbation. Perturbation largely arises from the gravitational effect of one planetary body (such as Jupiter) on the other (such as Saturn). When the perturbation is much pronounced, it results in making the path of the neighbouring planets more erratic than steady.  In other words, the planets will from time to time veer from their regular orbit.     

Astronomers have used the phenomenon of perturbation to detect the existence of another planet hitherto unknown. For instance, Neptune was discovered  because of  perturbations in the orbit of Uranus, and Pluto’s existence had long been suspected  because of  the perturbations in the orbits both  of  Neptune and Uranus.      But when Pluto was discovered in 1930, it turned out to be too small to cause marked disturbances in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. The orbits of  Uranus and Neptune are the most irregular in the Solar System. The two planets from time to time actually cross each other’s paths. So astronomers wondered thus: if Pluto was not responsible for perturbations in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus, what alternative force was?        

It was not until 1972 that astronomers came up with a definitive hypothesis. In that year, Joseph L Brady of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California discovered as he worked on the anticipated trajectory of  Halley’s Comet that the  comet, which is seen only once in 75 years (it last appeared in 1986)  had a perturbed orbit. This and the perturbations in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus led him to suggest, by mathematical computations, the existence of one more planet beyond Pluto.   The planet was designated “Planet X” to denote both its unknown status and its tenth position in the Solar System. The search for Nibiru had in earnest begun.

In 1979, the US Naval Observatory’s two scientists Robert Harrington and Thomas Van Flandern joined in the search for Planet X, and in June 1982 NASA came on board too. NASA’s statement on June 17 1982 said: “Persistent irregularities in the orbits of  Uranus and Neptune strongly suggest that some kind of mystery object is really there – far beyond the outermost planets”.  NASA said it would use the infrastructure of the Pioneer spacecraft, which had been in orbit since 1958, to look for Planet X.    In September of the same year, the US Naval Observatory announced that they were seriously pursuing the search for Planet X, with Dr. Harrington saying   according to their observations, Planet X was “moving much more slowly than any of the planets that we know”. In other words, the planet had already been located. Meanwhile, Russia had silently joined the search: its cosmonauts aboard the Salyut space station were busy scanning the skies for the mysterious planet. NASA’s Pioneer-based search for Planet X was to be augmented by the all-sky searching Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). IRAS was to trace Planet X by sensing the heat it had lost to space in the form of infrared radiation.

A joint US-British-Dutch venture, IRAS was launched into orbit 896 km above the Earth at the end of January 1983. It was equipped to sense a planet the size of Jupiter at a distance 277 times that of  the Earth from the Sun, or 277 Astronomical Units (AU).

On January 30, 1983, The New York Times, quoting Ray Reynolds of the Ames Research Centre,  reported that  “astronomers are so sure of the 10th planet that they think there’s nothing left  but to name it”.  The bold astronomers (the official response from NASA was still that no tenth planet had been found) characterised Planet X thus: it was the size of the planet Neptune; it had an elongated, not a circular orbit; and that it moved in a retrograde orbit, that is,   clockwise, not anticlockwise as the other planets did. Now, that is exactly the way the Sumerian clay tablets described Nibiru 6,000 years ago!  

Meanwhile, US papers were in January 1983 agog with the discovery of Planet X. Here is a sample of  the front page headlines: Mystery Body Found in Space; Heavenly Body Poses a Cosmic Riddle to Astronomers; At Solar System’s Edge, Giant Object is Mystery; Giant Object Mystifies Astronomers. The opening paragraphs of The Washington Post read thus:   “A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this Solar System has been found in the direction of the constellation Orion by an orbiting telescope called IRAS … When IRAS scientists first saw the mystery body and calculated that it could be as close as 50 billion miles (80 billion kilometres) there was some speculation that it might be moving   toward Earth.”  

Zechariah Sitchin, who in  The 12th Planet  had persuasively put forward the case for the existence of the 10th planet was waltzing on cloud nine.  His phone rang non-stop as friends, fans and admirers tripped over each other to congratulate him.  On January 30, 1983, Sitchin wrote the following letter to the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California:

“In view of very recent reports in the press concerning the intensified search for the 10th planet, I am forwarding you copies of my exchanges on the subject with Dr. D. Anderson. According to The New York Times of this Sunday (see enclosure), ‘astronomers are so sure of the 10th planet they think there’s nothing left but to name it’. Well, the ancients had already named it: Nibiru in Sumerian, Marduk in Babylonian; and I believe I have the right to insist that it so be called.”

Sitchin never received a reply.  The rocket scientists, with their surfeit of grey matter, would never come to admit that lay, ordinary men 6,000 years removed knew something that they, the best brains of the modern world,  were just beginning to grapple with now. This Earth, My brother …

NEXT WEEK:  WHEN “GOD” LIVED AMONG HIS PEOPLE

 

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Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

A case can be made, General Atiku, that history’s most infamous Roman is Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who condemned Jesus, the  “Son of God”, to the most cruel, most barbaric,  and most excruciating of deaths – crucifixion –  and cowardly at that as the gospels attest for us.  

Yet the exact circumstances under which the crucifixion took place and what followed thereafter far from jells with what is familiarly known. The fact of the matter was that there was a lot of political wheeling and dealing and boldfaced corruption on the part both of the Jewish authorities and the Roman establishment in the person of Pontius Pilate.  In this piece, we attempt, General, to present a fuller photo of Pilate as the centre of the whole machination.

Pilate’s historicity, General, is not in doubt. In 1961, an Italian archeologist unearthed a limestone block at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which as of 6 AD was the Roman seat of government as well as the military headquarters.  The block bore the inscription, “Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated this Temple to the divine Augusti” (that is, then Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his wife Livia).

Pilate also gets varying degrees of mention in the works of Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD); the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and chronicler Philo of Alexandria (25 BC to 50 AD); and the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD).

Although his year of death (37 AD) is documented, his year of birth is a matter of conjecture, General. He came from the Pontii tribe (hence the name Pontius), a tough, warlike people. The Pontii tribe was of the equestrian class, the second-tier in the Roman caste system. Originally, the equestrians were those Romans with ample pocket power to bribe their way to knightly ranks in the Roman army. Pilate was born to Marcus Pontius, who had distinguished himself as a general in Rome’s military campaigns.

Following one of his particularly sterling military exploits, Marcus was awarded with the Pilum (javelin), a Roman decoration of honour for heroic military service.  To commemorate this medal of valour, the family took the name Pilati, rendered Pilate in English and Pilatus in Latin.

The son, Lucius Pontius Pilate, also distinguished himself as a soldier in the German campaigns of Germanicus, a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. Thanks to his scintillating military profile coupled with   strategic connections in the hierarchies of the Roman government, Pilate was able to wend his way into the heart of Claudia, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and ruler from 27 BC to 14 AD.

Claudia’s mother was Julia the Elder, who was also the biological mother of the apostles John and James. When Claudia was about 13 years of age, Julia sent her to Rome to be reared in the courts of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, to whom Julia was once married from 11 BC to 6 BC.

Although Tiberius was not the biological father of Claudius, General, he gladly acquiesced to being her foster father in deference to the memory of her late grandfather Caesar Augustus.
Pilate arrived in Rome when Claudia was sixteen years of age. In AD 26, the two tied the knot. Needless to say, it was a marriage based not on love as such but on political opportunism.

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

The high-placed connection who facilitated Pontius Pilate’s smooth landing into the inner sanctums of Rome’s royalty and put him on a pedestal that saw him take pride of place in the cosmic gallery of rogues was Aelius Sejanus. Like Pilate, Sejanus came from the subordinate equestrian class, who would never be eligible for a seat in the Senate, the legislative council of ancient Rome.

Sejanus, however, had over time become Emperor Tiberius’ most trusted lieutenant and to the point where he was the de facto prime minister.  He had been commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Special Forces unit created by Augustus Caesar as a personal security force, which developed under Sejanus’ command into the most significant presence in Rome.

In AD 26, the emperor was not even based in Rome: he had confined himself to the 10.4 km2 island of Capri, about 264 km from Rome, and left control of Rome and the government of the Roman Empire to Sejanus. It was Sejanus who recommended the appointment of Pilate as prefect, or governor/procurator of Judea. The appointment was pronounced right on the occasion of Pilate’s nuptials with Claudius.

Philo records that when the bridal party emerged from the temple where the marriage ceremony was celebrated and Pilate started to follow the bride into the imperial litter, Tiberius, who was one of the twelve witnesses required to attend the ceremony, held him back and handed him a document. It was the wedding present – the governorship of far-flung Judea – with orders to proceed at once to Caesarea Maritima to take over the office made vacant by the recall of Valerius Gratus.

Pilate was notified by Sejanus that a ship was in fact waiting upon him to transport him to Palestine right away. The only disadvantageous aspect about the assignment was that Pilate was to leave the shores of Rome alone, without the pleasure of spending a first night in the arms of his newly wedded wife: by imperial decree, the wives of governors were not allowed to accompany them in their jurisdictions. Pilate, however, was a royal by marriage and so this prohibition was waived. By special permission granted by His Imperial Majesty Tiberius Caesar, Claudia soon joined her husband in Judea. The wily Pilate had calculated well when he married into royalty.

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

The Judean perch was not prestigious though, General. The prefects of Judea were not of high social status. At least one – Felix, referenced by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles – was an ex-slave, which says a great deal on the low regard in which the province was held by Rome.

Pilate was only secondarily sent to Judea on account of having married into royalty: his posting to the volatile province stemmed, primarily, from his being of a inferior social pedigree. Be that as it may, Pilate relished the posting in that it gave him the chance to exercise power, absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and in Pilate was the archetypal example, General.

Pilate’s brief was simple: to collect taxes, maintain law and order, maintain infrastructure, and keep the population subdued. Although he was born lowly, he positively had the power of life and death over his Jewish subjects. Let us, General, listen to Josephus in his allusion to Coponius, Judea’s first Roman governor and who like Pilate was from the same subservient social class: “And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.”

Pilate, General, was callous to a point of being sadistic. He was scarcely the scrupling judge with the rare soft spot that we encounter in the gospels. Philo charges him with “corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, endless and intolerable cruelties”.

He further declares him to be a “savage, inflexible, and arbitrary ruler” who was of a “stubborn and harsh quality” and “could not bring himself to do anything that might cause pleasure to the Jews”. The essentially humane character of the Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels may not be wholly fictitious but is highly embellished, General.

Why did Pilate have such a pathological hatred of the Jews, General? Sejanus had more to do with it than the spontaneous leanings of his own nature. According to Philo, Sejanus hated the Jews like the plague and wished “to do away with the nation” – to exterminate it. In AD 19, for instance, he forced the Jews in Rome to burn their religious vestments and expelled them from the city without much ado.

For as long as Sejanus was in power, General, Pilate could do pretty much as he pleased. He didn’t have to worry about compromising reportage reaching the emperor as everything went through the implacably anti-Jewish Sejanus. Sejanus was unrivalled in power: golden statues of the general were being put up in Rome, the Senate had voted his birthday a public holiday, public prayers were offered on behalf of Tiberius and Sejanus, and in AD 31 Sejanus was named as Consul jointly with Tiberius.

The Judea posting also gave Pilate a golden opportunity to make money – lots of it. The governors of the Roman provinces were invariably rapacious, greedy, and incompetent: this we learn not only from Jewish historians of the day but from contemporary Roman writers as well such as Tacitus and Juvenal.

As long as the money skimmed from the provinces was not overly excessive, governors were allowed a free hand. It is said of Emperor Tiberius that, “Once he ordered a governor to reverse a steep rise in taxes saying, ‘I want my sheep shorn, not skinned’!” For those governors, such as Pilate, who had support from the very acmes of Roman power, General, they were practically a law unto themselves.

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

Pontius Pilate, General, was untrained in political office. Furthermore, he was a sycophant to the core who was prepared to go to any length in a bid to curry favour with and prove his loyalty to the powers that be in Rome.    Both these attributes gave rise to a series of blunders that brought him the intense hatred of the Jews.

The first abomination he committed in the eyes of the Jews, General, was to set up a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, which he called the Tiberieum, making him the only known Roman official to have built a temple to a living emperor.  True, Roman emperors were worshipped, but Tiberius was the one exception. According to the Roman scholar and historian Suetonius, Tiberius did not allow the consecration of temples to himself. Pilate’s act therefore, General, was an overkill: it was not appreciated at all.

Throughout his tenure, General, Pilate had a series of run-ins with the Jews, some of which entailed a lot of bloodshed and one of which sparked an insurrection that paved the way to Calvary. Then it all began to unravel, General. On October 18 AD 31, his patron Sejanus was summoned to the office of Emperor Tiberius and an angry denunciation was read out to him. It is not clear, General, what caused Sejanus’ fall from the emperor’s good graces but circumstantial evidence points to the perceived threat to the emperor’s power.

As the ancient historian Cassius Dio puts it, “Sejanus was so great a person by reason both of his excessive haughtiness and of his vast power that to put it briefly, he himself seemed to be the emperor and Tiberius a kind of island potentate, inasmuch as the latter spent his time on the island of Capri.”  Sejanus, hitherto the most powerful man in Rome, General, was thrown into a dungeon.

That same evening, he was summarily condemned to death, extracted from his cell, hung, and had his body given over to a crowd that tore it to pieces in a frenzy of manic excitement. His three children were all executed over the following months and his wife, Tiberius’ own daughter, committed suicide.  The people further celebrated his downfall by pulling his statues over.  Meanwhile, General, Tiberius began pursuing all those who could have been involved in the “plots” of Sejanus.

In Judea, Pilate, a Sejanus appointee, must have been badly shaken, General. Were his friends and family under suspicion? Would he be purged like others? Imperial attitudes to the Jewish race seemed to have changed now with the riddance of Sejanus. Tiberius made sure this was the case by appointing a new governor for Syria (who went by the title Legate and to whom Pilate was obligated to report).

The governor, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, arrived in Rome in AD 32. Philo records that Tiberius now “charged his procurators in every place to which they were appointed to speak comfortably to the members of our nation in the different cities, assuring them that the penal measures did not extend to all but only to the guilty who were few, and to disturb none of the established customs but even to regard them as a trust committed to their care, the people as naturally peaceable and the institution as an influence promoting orderly conduct.”

So Pilate, General, had lost his supporters at the top, his new boss was on his doorstep, and there had been a change of policy regarding the very people he was in charge of. Surely, he would have to watch his step. The fact of the matter, however, General, was that he hardly did so.  In November 32 AD, for instance, he provoked a mini-uprising by the Zealots led by Judas Iscariot, Theudas Barabbas, and Simon Zelotes. It was this revolt, General, that culminated in those three “crosses” of Calvary that are indelibly etched on the mind of every Christian.

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

Until as recently as the 1980s a career often meant a job for life within a single company or organisation. Phrases such as ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, ‘the glass ceiling’, ‘wage slave’ & ‘the rat race’ were thrown about, the analogies making clear that a career path was a toxic mix of a war of attrition, indentured drudgery and a Sisyphean treadmill.

In all cases you fought, grafted or plodded on till you reached retirement age, at which point you could expect a small leaving party, the promise of a pension and, oddly, a gift of either a clock or watch. The irony of being rewarded with a timepiece on the very day you could expect to no longer be a workday prisoner was apparently lost on management – the hands of time were destined to follow you to the grave!

Retirement was the goal at the end of the long, corporate journey, time on your hands – verifiable by your gifted time keeping device – to spend time working in the garden, playing with the grandchildren, enjoying a holiday or two and generally killing time till time killed you.

For some, retirement could be literally short-lived. The retirement age, and accompanying pension, was predicated on the old adage of three scores years and ten being the average life expectancy of man. As the twentieth century progressed and healthcare became more sophisticated, that former mean average was extended but that in itself then brought with it the double-edged sword of dementia. The longer people lived, the more widespread dementia became – one more life lottery which some won, some lost and doctors were seemingly unable to predict who would succumb and who would survive.

However, much research has been carried out on the causes of this crippling and cruel disease and the latest findings indicate that one of its root causes may lie in the former workplace – what your job entailed and how stimulating or otherwise it was. It transpires that having an interesting job in your forties could lessen the risk of getting dementia in old age, the mental stimulation possibly staving off the onslaught of the condition by around 18 months.

Academics examined more than 100,000 participants and tracked them for nearly two decades. They spotted a third fewer cases of dementia among people who had engaging jobs which involved demanding tasks and more control — such as government officers, directors, physicians, dentists and solicitors, compared to adults in ‘passive’ roles — such as supermarket cashiers, vehicle drivers and machine operators. And those who found their own work interesting also had lower levels of proteins in their blood that have been linked with dementia.

The study was carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Helsinki and Johns Hopkins University studying the cognitive stimulation and dementia risk in 107,896 volunteers, who were regularly quizzed about their job.  The volunteers — who had an average age of around 45 — were tracked for between 14 and 40 years.  Jobs were classed as cognitively stimulating if they included demanding tasks and came with high job control. Non-stimulating ‘passive’ occupations included those with low demands and little decision-making power.

4.8 cases of dementia per 10,000 person years occurred among those with interesting careers, equating to 0.8 per cent of the group. In contrast, there were 7.3 cases per 10,000 person years among those with repetitive jobs (1.2 per cent). Among people with jobs that were in the middle of these two categories, there were 6.8 cases per 10,000 person years (1.12 per cent).

The link between how interesting a person’s work was and rates of dementia did not change for different genders or ages.Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, from UCL, said: ‘Our findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of mental stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had experienced low mental stimulation. This suggests the average delay in disease onset is about one and half years, but there is probably considerable variation in the effect between people.’

The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, also looked at protein levels in the blood among another group of volunteers. These proteins are thought to stop the brain forming new connections, increasing the risk of dementia. People with interesting jobs had lower levels of three proteins considered to be tell-tale signs of the condition.

Scientists said it provided ‘possible clues’ for the underlying biological mechanisms at play. The researchers noted the study was only observational, meaning it cannot establish cause and that other factors could be at play. However, they insisted it was large and well-designed, so the findings can be applied to different populations.

To me, there is a further implication in that it might be fair to expect that those in professions such as law, medicine and science might reasonably be expected to have a higher IQ than those in blue collar roles. This could indicate that mental capacity also plays a part in dementia onset but that’s a personal conclusion and not one reached by the study.

And for those stuck in dull jobs through force of circumstance, all is not lost since in today’s work culture, the stimulating side-hustle is fast becoming the norm as work becomes not just a means of financial survival but a life-enhancing opportunity , just as in the old adage of ‘Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work another day in your life’!

Dementia is a global concern but ironically it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age and is the second biggest killer in the UK behind heart disease, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. So here’s a serious suggestion to save you from an early grave and loss of competencies – work hard, play hard and where possible, combine the two!

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

The gospels which were excluded from the official canon, the New Testament, at the Council of Nicaea are known as the Apocrypha. One of these Apocryphal works, General Atiku, is the gospel of Phillip.  In this gospel, the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is openly discussed thus:

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.  The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said unto him, why do you love her more than all of us? The Saviour answered and said to them, why do   I not love you like her? … Great is the mystery of marriage, for without it the world would never have existed. Now, the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.”

It is clear from the above statement, General, that Jesus held marriage in high regard because he himself was part and parcel of it.  The disciples (that is, most of them) were offended not because he and Mary were an item but because they simply did not approve of her as she was a Gentile and a commoner.

Otherwise, the kissing was not offensive at all: it was a customary expression of mutual affection between the sacred bride and groom. This we gather from the prototypically romantic Old Testament text known as The Song of Solomon, which opens with the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”  As the Davidic groom, Jesus was therefore entitled to kiss Mary Magdalene as his bride.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

In September AD 30, General Atiku, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had their First Marriage ceremony. Jesus had turned 36 in that year, the appropriate marriage age for a Davidic heir, and September was the holiest month in the Jewish calendar.  Having been born irregularly himself (in the wrong month of the year because of his father Joseph’s intransigence), Jesus was determined that he himself follow the law to the letter so that his child would not suffer the same indignities as he did. The First Marriage is captured in LUKE 7:35-50.

The marriage took place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. This, General, was another name for Simon Zelotes, the stepfather of Mary Magdalene. Although Mary Magdalene is not directly named, she is described as a “sinner”. This was another term for Gentiles, as in the eyes of the Jewish God, they were unregenerate and therefore hopeless sinners.  Mary Magdalene, whose mother Helena-Salome was of Syrian origin (Syro-Phoenicia to be specific), was a Gentile.

On the occasion, Mary Magdalene performed three acts on Jesus as set out in LUKE 7:38. She wept; kissed his feet; and anointed him with ointment. This is what a bride was supposed to do to her groom as clearly evinced in The Song of Solomon, a series of love poems concerning a spouse and her husband the King.

Of the three rites, perhaps it is the weeping that require elucidation, General. This was at once symbolic and sentimental.  The First Marriage was simply a ceremony: the moment the ceremony was over, the husband and wife separated, that is, they lived apart until the month of December, when they came together under one roof.  This was in accord with Essene stipulations for dynastic marriages, that is, those of the Davidic Messiah and the priestly Messiah.

Prior to the First Marriage, the bride was known as an Almah, meaning a betrothed Virgin. After the First Marriage ceremony, the Almah was demoted to a Sister. This was because the ensuing three-month separation meant husband and wife would not indulge in sexual activity and so the wife was as good as a sister to her husband. The imagery of Sister also being a wife is seen in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:5, where the apostle Paul refers to his wife as Sister. In ACTS 23:16, Paul’s wife is again referred to as his Sister.

Now, when the Almah became a Sister, General, she was metaphorically called a Widow, because she was being separated  from her newly wedded husband. As such, she was expected to symbolically weep on account of this separation. That explains why Mary Magdalene had to weep at her first wedding. It is a pity, General, that most Christians and their clergy miss the real story so wrongly indoctrinated are they.

In December AD 30, Jesus moved in with Mary Magdalene to consummate the marriage. It was hoped that Mary would fall pregnant so that in March the following year, a Second (and final) Marriage ceremony would be held.  Sadly, conception did not take place. According to Essene dynastic procreational rules, the couple had to separate again. They would reunite in December AD 31 for another try at conception.

The reason they separated was because for a dynastic heir, marriage was purely for procreation and not for recreational sex. But even that year, General, Mary did not fall pregnant, necessitating another year-long separation. What that meant was that Mary would be given one more last chance – in December AD 32, by which time Jesus would have been 38.  If she did not conceive this time around, the marriage would come to an end through a legal divorce and Jesus would be free to seek a new spouse.

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

In December 32, Mary Magdalene, General, finally conceived. When Jesus was crucified therefore in April 33 AD, his wife was three months pregnant. By this time, the Second Marriage ceremony, the final one, had already taken place, this being in March. The Second Marriage is cursorily related in MATTHEW 26:6-13; MARK 14:3-9; and JOHN 12:1-8.The John version reads as follows:

“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where was Lazarus, who had died, whom he raised out of the dead; they made, therefore, to him a supper there, and Martha was ministering, and Lazarus was one of those reclining together (at meat) with him; Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.

Therefore said one of his disciples – Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who was about to deliver him up – ‘Therefore was not this ointment sold for three hundred denaries, and given to the poor?’ and he said this, not because he was caring for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and what things were put in he was carrying. Jesus, therefore, said, ‘Suffer her; for the day of my embalming she has kept it, for the poor you have always with yourselves, and me you have not always.’”

This story (also see JOHN 11:1-44) centres on four people primarily, General. They are Jesus; Lazarus; Mary; and Martha. “Mary” was actually Mary Magdalene.  “Martha” was a titular name for her mother, Helena-Salome.  In the Lazarus story, the two ladies are referred to as “sisters”. This denotes conventual sisters, like the Catholics refer to conventual nuns, and not sisters by blood. Helena-Salome actually headed a nunnery. By the same token, the reference to Lazarus as “brother” has a connotation akin to what Pentecostals refer to as “Brother in Christ”.

Thus, the story revolves around Jesus the groom; his bride Mary Magdalene; his father-in-law Simon Zelotes; and his mother-in-law Helena-Salome. This is a family affair folks, which provides strong hints as to the exact relationship between Jesus and Mary. The raising from the dead of a man called Lazarus, sadly, was not a miracle at all:  it was a ceremonial restoration from excommunication back to the Essene governing council, which comprised of Jesus and his so-called 12 disciples.

The “Lazarus” who was thus restored was actually Simon Zelotes, at the time the most “beloved” by Jesus of the entire apostolic band, who had been demoted under circumstances relating to a Zealot uprising against Pontius Pilate.  More will be said on the subject at a later stage.

The anointing of Jesus by Mary with “spikenard”, General, harps back to ancient married rituals as patently demonstrated in The Song of Solomon. This was the second time Mary had anointed Jesus, first at the First Marriage in September AD 30 AD and now at the Second Marriage in March 32 AD. On both occasions, Mary anointed Jesus whilst he sat at table.

In SONG OF SOLOMON 1:12, the bride says, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”.  The anointing in the gospels was therefore an allusion to the ancient rite whereby a royal bride prepared her groom’s table. Only as the wife of Jesus and as a priestess in her own right could Mary Magdalene have anointed both the feet and head of Jesus.

The anointing in effect had two purposes: first, to seal the marriage, and second, to officially announce to the Jewish nation that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah (and not his younger brother James, who had been so promoted by John the Baptist).  It all harped back to the tradition in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where Kings or Pharaohs were anointed for office (in their case with crocodile fat) by their half-sister brides.

The King’s bride actually kept the anointment substance for use for one more time – when the King died. You can now understand, General, why Jesus said “the day of my embalming she has kept it” in reference to his anointing by Mary Magdalene and why the first person to feature at the tomb of Jesus was none other than Mary Magdalene!

Three passages in the Lazarus story     (in JOHN11: 1-44) are particularly telling.  They are Verses 20, 28, and 29. They read as follows: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house … After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. ‘The Master is here,’ she told her, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him.”  The reason Mary (Magdalene) first kept her place before proceeding to meet Jesus, General, is not supplied in the Johannine gospel.

However, the Apocryphal document which has come to be known as The Secret Gospel of Mark sheds more light, General.  It explains that on the first occasion, Mary did come out to meet Jesus along with her mother Martha (Helena-Salome) but upon being rebuked by the disciples of Jesus, she repaired back to the house. Why was she lashed out at, General? Because according to the Essene matrimonial code, she was not permitted to come out of her own accord and greet her husband: she was to wait until he had given her express permission to emerge.

There is yet another element in the conduct of Mary Magdalene that has parallels with Solomon’s queen, General. In the back-and-forth romantic dialogue between the couple, the queen is referred to as a “Shulamite” (SONG OF SOLOMON 6:13). The Shulamites were from the Syrian border town of  Solam and we have already seen that Mary’s first foster father, Syro the Jairus, was a Syrian, as was her mother Helena-Salome.

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

The marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene was vehemently opposed by most of his so-called disciples. The most vociferous on this position, General, was Judas Iscariot. The writer of the John gospel characterises Judas as a “thief” who used to pilfer alms money but that is a smear.  The gospels were written post-eventual and therefore Judas’ name was already in ignominy.

His detractors therefore had a field day at sullying his character. Yet prior to the betrayal, Judas Iscariot, General, was one of the most respected figures among the Essene community. At the time of Jesus’ marriage, Judas was the second-highest ranking Essene after Simon Zelotes (that is the meaning of “Judas of Simon” in the passage quoted above, meaning “Judas the deputy of Simon”): Jesus was third, although politically he was the seniormost.

Judas opposed the marriage on grounds, primarily, that Mary Magdalene was not only a Gentile but a commoner. Judas had the right to pronounce on Jesus’ marriage because it was he who was in charge of the Essene’s order of Dan, to which Mary Magdalene belonged prior to her marriage to Jesus and therefore had the right whether to release her for marriage or retain her in the convent. Judas would rather the spikenard (the most expensive fragrance of the day, the reason it was only used by queens) was sold and the money generated donated to the Essene kitty (“the poor” was another name for Essenes: when Jesus in the Beatitudes said “blessed are the poor”, he was not referring to you and me: he meant the Essenes).

Sadly General, as high-standing as he was, Judas had no right of veto over the marriage of a Davidic heir: only Simon Zelotes had by virtue of his position as the Essene’s Pope. Simon Zelotes was Mary Magdalene’s step-father and there was no way he was going to stand in the way of the marriage of his own daughter. Moreover, Jesus had already begun to fancy himself as Priest-King.

As far as he was concerned therefore, he was at once the Davidic Messiah and the Priestly Messiah – the Melchizedek. Thus even if Simon Zelotes had perchance objected to the marriage, Jesus would have gone ahead with it anyway. It was Jesus’ highly unpopular appropriated role as the Melchizedek, General, that set him on the path to Calvary.

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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