Although Enki was a most benign and peaceable soul, his clan was a tumultuous lot. They scarcely came to terms and feuded and warred more often than not. Occasionally, some of them even allied with the Enlilites to wage war against a fellow Enkite.
When his brood scuffled or fought, the equable and gentle-natured Enki was largely a spectator. They were so intractable Enki simply locked himself in a closet to invoke the “Creator of All”, as the Anunnaki referred to the true God.
Enki, who had an Achilles prick, had children galore, some with fellow Anunnaki and others with Earthlings, but by far the overwhelming majority were female. This, arguably, was on account of the fact that like all the SSS males (the people of Orion, where Enki hailed from), he was born from an unfertilised egg and so his genetic proclivity was predominantly toward female offspring.
Sumerian records list the following as Enki’s pure Anunnaki sons: Marduk, Nergal, Gibil, Ninagal, Ningishzidda, and Dumuzi in that order. Of these, the most chronicled are Marduk, by virtual of his being Enki’s heir, and Ningishzidda, by virtue of his surpassing exploits and milestones across a spectrum of disciplines.
MARDUK THE GOD OF BABYLON
The name MARDUK is OME-ORI-DA-EKE in full, meaning “Supreme Divine Spirit/Master” (from ome [divine], ori [spirit or master], da [supreme], and eke [holy]). It was informed by the deity of the Orion Queen, Marduk’s paternal grandmother who was the most revered, venerated, and deified being in the Milky Way Galaxy at a time when Orion was the most powerful empire in our section of the cosmos. EKE was the title both of the Orion Queen and Enki himself. As Enki’s heir, it was fitting that Marduk bear the same title too.
Besides being Enki’s firstborn son, Marduk’s fame stemmed from two other attributes in the main.
First, he ruled Egypt, the capital state of Africa, for 1000 years (from 9670 to 8670 BC) under the title RA, meaning “The Bright One”. As Ra, Marduk was the Sun God, that is, one who like the Sun was there at the very beginning. He was also known as AMEN-RA. Amen meant “The Hidden One” or “The Unseen One”. This was the title of the real God who brought the Sun about. Amen-Ra thus merged First Source and the Sun into one entity personified in Marduk.
Second, at some stage during the astrological Age of Aries (2160-0 BC), Marduk assumed the title of Enlil. In other words, he became Earth’s Commander in Chief, though for a very brief spell only as the Enlilites soon spurned him and installed Enlil’s second-born son Nanna-Sin to rival him. Exactly how Marduk became the Enlil we will relate at a later stage. As the Enlil, Marduk renamed planet Nibiru after himself and introduced the decimal mathematical system (Base 10) we use today.
Marduk had from birth been tipped to inherit the Sirian-Orion throne after Enlil as per the terms of the merger of the Sirian and Orion empires. But he was disinherited when he went against the Anunnaki matrimonial code and became the first Anunnaki to marry an Earthling known as Sarpanit, which set a precedent for rank-and-file Anunnaki to follow. The Anunnaki were permitted to copulate with Earthlings all right and even procreate with them but marriage was strictly prohibited. For marrying Sarpanit, Marduk was also banned from ever returning to Nibiru or the throne planet of Sirius.
In earlier times, Marduk was based on Mars where he presided over the Igigi, the Anunnaki astronauts who manned the space stations and satellites in the orbits of both Earth and Mars. After the defeat of Kumarbi, however, he was recalled for a while but was reinstated in due course.
Marduk was a go-getter, by means foul or fair, even if it meant slugging it out with his brothers. For example, he precipitated what has become known as the Second Pyramid War when he had his youngest brother Dumuzi accidentally killed. He was sentenced to a slow death by entombment in the Giza Pyramid but the pleadings of Sarpanit saved him and his sentence was ultimately commuted to exile. At around 3113 BC, Marduk ejected his other brother Ningishzidda from the Egyptian throne, forcing his departure to South America.
During the zodiacal Age of Taurus, Marduk decided to build a spaceport in Babylon, where he was based, to rival the one in the Sinai Peninsula which was controlled by the Enlilites. A pro-Earthling dude like his father, Marduk wanted to train humans as astronauts too so that they could explore space and visit other heavenly bodies such as Mars and the Moon, but Enlil was having none of that. He had Marduk’s spaceport destroyed and Marduk’s people scattered all over the world where they were taught new languages and scripts that alienated them from each other. In the Bible, this incident is referred to as the Tower of Babel.
Marduk had three sons with Sarpanit. They were Shu, Tefnut, and Nabu. Of these, Nabu was the closest and the most ambitious on behalf of his father. It was through the instrumentality of Nabu that Marduk decided to capture the Sinai spaceport in 2024 BC with disastrous results: his armies were intercepted by the Enlilite forces commanded by the now famous General Abraham, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which according to Abraham’s spies were sheltering Nabu were struck with nuclear weapons, causing Enki, who had brought mankind into existence, to go into a period of mourning that lasted seven years.
Marduk never quite got along with his father Enki, who he panned as too meek and too docile compared to Enlil.
Initially, Marduk’s numerical rank was 10. It rose to 50 when he became the Enlil in 2023 BC. He is historically associated with the planet Mars as the god Ares. His emblem was the mus-hus, described as a “a scaly dragon with hind legs resembling the talons of an eagle, feline (lion-like) forelegs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snake-like tongue, and a crest” (see accompanying sketch).
Marduk’s cult centre was Babylon, of which his name is largely invoked. In the Bible, Marduk is referred to as BEL (BA-AL in Akkadian, which simply meant “Lord”, in this case the Lord of the enemy – the Babylonians who were at odds with Enlil’s Hebrews) or MERODACH. The Old Testament scriptures ISAIAH 46:1 (“Bel bows down, Nebo [Nabu, his son] stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary) and JEREMIAH 50:2 ("Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, 'Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Merodach filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror) both are talking about Marduk.
NINGISHZIDDA THE GOD OF KNOWLEDGE
If Enki was the Anunnaki’s foremost genius, Ningishzidda was not far behind. Although he was best known as the God of Knowledge, Ningishzidda actually mirrored Enki in a whole host of respects, the only difference being that unlike his skirt-chasing dad, he had very strong moral scruples. The Greeks invoked him as HERMES TRISMAGISTUS (“Thrice Greatest”: greatest of kings, greatest of magicians [magic here referring to ancient technology], greatest of priests).
Ningishzidda is the builder of the iconic Giza Pyramids. The Anunnaki’s Sinai spaceport and the famed Stonehenge were also built by him. It was Ningishzidda who carved the Sphinx, and the face it initially carried was his. When Enki genetically engineered mankind into existence in a laboratory in today’s East Africa, he was partnered by Ningishzidda. Ningishzidda was also capable of raising people from the dead if they had been dead for only a few days and this was just one of the many wonders he was capable of.
Like Nanna-Sin, the second-born son of Enlil, Ningishzidda was born on Earth. His mother was not Sarpanit though but Ereshkigal, the granddaughter of Enlil. That, coupled with his innate good-naturedness, made him a bridge-builder between the Enlilites and the Enkites and therefore a rallying point. Indeed, the name Ningishzidda means “Great Soul”, something he lived up to as he was the most spiritual and soulful of the Anunnaki.
When Marduk was banished to Babylon in 8670 BC, Enki and Enlil by a compromise compact installed Ningishzidda as ruler of Egypt. Ningishzidda ruled Egypt for 1560 years. During the Second Pyramid War, it was Ningishzidda who rescued Marduk from deathly confinement in the Giza Pyramid on the pleadings of his wife Sarpanit. This was in spite of the fact that the two brothers had long been estranged. The Egyptians called him THOTH, meaning “Teacher” as he was a seamless repository of knowledge.
At the height of his rivalry with Marduk over the Egyptian throne circa 3113 BC, Enki advised Ningishzidda to simply throw in the sponge and head far afield in Mesoamerica, where a new Anunnaki colony was to be founded. He took with him a band of faithful African followers now known as the Olmecs, with whom he brought about the Mayan civilisation. There, the Incas called him VIRACOCHA (“Creator of all there is”) whereas the Mayas and Aztecs called him QUETZALCOATL (“The Flying Serpent” because he was of serpentine evolutional ancestry through his father Enki and flew in a plane). His other title was KUKULCAN (which can be paraphrased as “Wise Being Who Flew in a Bird-like Craft”).
Ningishzidda contended for hegemony in Mesoamerica with Enlil’s combustive son Ishkur-Adad. As a result, the trouble–averse Ningishziddadeparted the place and settled in Asia, where he sparked a new age of enlightenment as the first Buddha. The countries Nepal (“Nepa-El”, meaning “Righteous God”) and Japan (whose name is actually Nippon, “NEPA-EN”, meaning “Righteous Lord”) are named after him. So too is the Himalayan Mountains (“Herma-Laya”, meaning “Great Teacher”). The principal tenets of Tibetan Buddhism (to me the most truthful religion on Earth) are based on the teachings of Ningishzidda, who was a vegetarian through and through.
After his Mesoamerican exploits, Ningishzidda came to be associated with the number 52 after he promised the Mayans that he was going to return after 5200 years. According to the Mayan prophecy, the return fell due in 2012, but Ningishzidda was nowhere to be seen. Their calculations apparently were out by a very long shot.
Ningishzidda’s consort wasGeshtinanna, his half-sister, who was born to Enki and Ninmah.
MARDUK’S BLOOD BROTHERS
To us Africans, it seems the most influential of Enki’s sons was Nergal. It was from Nergal we get the term “negro”, the black race. Nergal, Enki’s second son with his official wife Damkina, initially ruled southern Africa but it seems he later moved to West Africa as the river Niger is obviously named after him. Because he ruled southern Africa, the Abzu, which over time was miscomprehended as abyss, and was in charge of underground mines, he is in mythology referred to as the god of the underworld, also characterised as Hell.
His African warriors, the Kutheans, a formidable fighting force, at one time conquered swathes of Mesopotamia for a while during his short-lived alliance with Inanna-Ishtar, Enlil’s granddaughter. Circa 2024 BC, Nergal, who was also known as Erra, turned against his elder brother Marduk, resulting in the nuking of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by Utu-Shamash, Enlil’s grandson, and he (Nergal). Nergal was married to Ereshkigal, who in turn was Ningishizidda’s mother. Enki had Ningishzidda with Ereshkigal before she married Nergal thanks to the Anunnaki’s labyrinthine incestuous relationships.
Gibil, Enki’s third son with Damkina, was a metallurgist who worked very closely with his father in the Abzu mines of modern-day Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Ninagal was Enki’s fourth son with Damkina. Known as “Lord of the Great Waters”, that is, the seas, he was the Anunnaki’s greatest navigator and superintended over the shipping of ores from the Abzu to the Edin in Sumeria. It was Ninagal who assisted in the construction of Noah’s ark (actually a submarine) and it was he who piloted it throughout the duration of the floods, the only Anunnaki who remained on the Earth surface at that tempestuous time.
The ill-fated Dumuzi was Enki’s last born son with Damkina. Dumuzi, one of Enki’s most beloved sons, was an expert in animal husbandry. When he fell in love with Inanna-Ishtar and was in the process of tying the knot with her, Marduk took very strong exception and whilst Dumuzi was being pursued by Marduk’s men, he fell off a cliff and passed away, a death which precipitated the Second Pyramid War in which Inanna sought vengeance against Marduk. Most of the love poems in the Bible’s Song of Solomon are based on the Romeo- and-Juliet-like romance of Dumuzi and Inanna. When Adam was taken to Nibiru to be shown off to King Anu, he was accompanied by Dumuzi and Ningishzidda.
OSIRIS, SET AND HORUS
Osiris (Ashur), the most famous Egyptian “god” alongside Horus, was Enki’s most beloved grandchild. He was one of four children of Geb and his wife Nut. Geb and Nut had married as half-siblings, being the children of Marduk. Their four kids were sons Set and Osiris, and daughters Isis and Nephtys. But the state of affairs was not as straightforward as that.
Although Osiris was legally the son of Geb, his real father was Marduk, again thanks to the incestuous proclivities for which the Anunnaki were famed. Isis too was only legally the daughter of Geb: her real father was Ningishzidda. The only true children of Geb were Set and Nephtys. This had implications for the politics of succession for what it entailed was that Osiris, though younger than Set, ranked higher in the line of succession senior since Marduk was of senior pedigree. Moreover, Osiris was married to Isis, his half-sister, which further cemented his eligibility to the throne as according to the Anunnaki succession code, a half-sister took precedence over a full sister.
But in 8970 BC, Geb divided Egypt into north and south. The north he bequeathed to Osiris and the south to Set. Set, however, wanted all of Egypt to himself and therefore had Osiris murdered. To ensure the likes of Ningishzidda did not do a resuscitation job on him, Set had Osiris’s corpse cut into 14 pieces which he scattered all over the Egyptian wilds, then a lush jungle. Isis launched a dogged search, assisted by her father/uncle Ningishzidda, and at long last managed to retrieve all the parts except the genitalia, which were crucial as she wished to extract semen from the scrotal sac and impregnate herself with a view to raise a heir.
It was the inimitable Ningishzidda who did his “magic”. Using a process known as artificial meiosis (which still resides in the realm of theory in our day), Ningishzidda was able to create sperm cells from Osiris’s retrieved non-sexual parts. These were inseminated into Isis when she was ovulating and that’s how the legendary Horus was born.
When Horus came of age, after being raised secretly by her mother, he waged war against Seth, the First Pyramid War, and drove him out of Egypt. Seth’s wicked act against Osiris would over time see his name, SET-EN in full, meaning “Prince Set”, become a synonym of SATAN.
NEXT WEEK: THE GODDESSES
LIKE MESSIAH LIKE JESUS: The mus-hus as depicted on the Great Gate of Ishtar which stood at the entrance to Babylon. The mus-hus, from which Messiah, the title of Jesus, derives, was the emblem of Marduk, Enki’s firstborn son who was the god of Babylon in modern-day Iraq. It has been described as “a scaly dragon with hind legs resembling the talons of an eagle, feline (lion-like) forelegs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snake-like tongue, and a crest”. In addition to Marduk, Enki had five other sons, of whom Ningishzidda, a genius only second to Enki, is the most renowned. Enki’s most famous grandson and great grandson are Osiris and Horus, both of whom were prominent Egyptian gods. The Enkites were in the habit of fighting each other, far much more so than the rival Enlilites.
Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph
To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua (Jesus in Greek) III.
Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC. He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.
Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.
Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.
Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary. Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.
Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans. Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.
JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”
Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.
The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches. Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.
The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee. In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.
According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.
At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.
According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).
The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.
Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.
Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.
A BINDING ENGAGEMENT
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.
Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.
Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan. This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June. From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.
Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.
For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”. In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.
Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.
That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.
The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.
Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah. There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.
The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.
They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.” The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.
This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.
The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.
Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:
In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.
When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.
When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.
The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.
Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.
I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.
The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.
The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.
Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.
There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.
In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.
In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!
How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod
If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees. Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.
Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.
In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy. The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.
The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.
Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees. The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.
How did the Essene movement come about, General? The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran, about 40 km from Jerusalem.
Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.
The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue … Since [they are] despisers of wealth – their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”
In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of Palestine in 63 BC, he sought the opinion of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In 142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic King.
In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.
JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD
About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.
He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem. The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.
It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the Diaspora Essenes.
He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.
Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.
When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.
His father, Antipater, had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a mere figurehead king. When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee. Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.
As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.
There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.
The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.
Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.
When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.
FALLOUT WITH ESSENES
Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.
In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known. Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.
In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.
The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.
THE SAGA OF JOSEPH
The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.
The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.
To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.
In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule. Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.
Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.
In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.