“My creatures have filled the rivers like dragonflies” – Ninmah, Enki’s partner in the creation of Adam
Why did Noah build such a humongous maritime vessel that was the size of a stadium? If you are to take Genesis on its word, the raison d’être was to have ample room to accommodate a pair of every creature that existed with a view to perpetuate the species after the flood, which was reckoned to be on such a scale as to destroy virtually every inkling of life. Certainly, estimates of the carrying capacity of the so-called ark – which in truth was a submarine – range from 70,000 to 120,000 animals of the size of a full-grown sheep.
The Sumerian records, which predated Genesis by 2500 years, do attest to creatures being on board the ark but they were in the form of DNA, not in fully-formed physicality. Enki, Ninmah, and Ningishzidda had seen to it that they were packaged in such a way. The notion, therefore, that the ark was designed with a view to accommodate scores of thousands of the animal family just does not wash. So why did Enki conceive of such a colossal submersible vessel?
Once again, the answer can easily be gleaned from the Sumerian records. Enki had anticipated that all the people who would help in the construction of the ark plus their family and friends might opt to come aboard when it was complete. We’re talking in the region of roughly 10,000 people given that Shuruppak was a cult centre and therefore must have been quite populous. Sadly, only a fraction of the craftsmen and their families chose to embark. “Any who to the abode of the lord Enki (Africa) wish to go, let them too aboard come,” Noah appealed to the hundreds of craftsmen who had assisted in the construction effort.
It is part of human nature to dread the unknown and so the overwhelming majority politely declined. Instead, they misguidedly looked forward to a new era of abundance that would be ushered in by Enlil once Noah had set sail for Africa. All they did was help ensure Noah and his family were well-catered to: they donated whatever provisions they could spare to get him to enjoy a hassle-free voyage. “Eager to see Ziusudra (Noah) depart, the townspeople to the boat food and water brought,” Enki relates in Zechariah Sitchin’s The Lost Book of Enki. “From their own mouths sustenance they took; to appease Enlil they were in a hurry! Four-legged animals into the boat were also driven, birds from the field by themselves flew in.”
Enlil, who as yet wasn’t aware Noah was Enki’s son nor that it was Enki who had come up with the idea of a salvavic water-borne vessel, watched indifferently as the ark took shape and as it readied for departure. His carefree attitude stemmed from his sadistic belief that the ark would capsize and all its inhabitants would drown in the raging flood.
ANUNNAKI PREPARE FOR TAKE-OFF
As the countdown to the onset of the Deluge began, Enlil assembled all the Anunnaki at Sippar, the spaceport, to administer to them dispersal instructions. Those destined for planet Nibiru, the rank-and-file Anunnaki, were the first to be briefed. The “celestial boats” (space vehicles) were assigned to them and soon they made their way aboard amid tears of nostalgia and other such sentimental outpourings.
Next were Marduk, the Nefilim (the Igigi who had settled on Earth), and the Anakim (the offspring of the Nefilim and Earthling women). Marduk put it to Enlil that these were his people and he would give them his own dispersal instructions. He accordingly had them airlifted to Mount Hermon, the landing place (airport) in modern-day Lebanon. There, he offered them two choices: either they came with him to Mars or they sought citadel in “distant mountainlands”. Only a few decided to accompany him to Mars: most opted to ride out the Flood right here on Earth as they had fallen in love with the breathtakingly beautiful planet as opposed to the dreary Mars.
The last to be briefed by Enlil were members of his own clan, who included Enki’s second-born son Nergal, who was married to Enlil’s daughter Ereshkigal. Ninurta, Enlil’s firstborn, was assigned to the “mountainlands beyond the oceans” (the Americas) to report on “rumblings”, or earth tremors, if at all. Nergal and Ereshkigal, the meteorological experts, were to keep vigil over Antarctica and alert Enlil on the slightest indication that the Antarctic Ice Sheet was slipping into the sea. Ishkur-Adad, Enlil’s youngest son, was to see to it that Earthlings did not besiege the spaceport as the Anunnaki space vehicles prepared to roar aloft into the inky space.
Utu-Shamash, Enlil’s grandson and the Anunnaki’s lead pilot who was also in charge of the spaceport at Sippar, was to be at the controls of the rocket in which Enlil would head into orbit. The rocket would blast off whilst “showering down a rain of eruptions” as a ceremonial farewell to the planet whose future viability was uncertain in the face of the upcoming Deluge.
Meanwhile, the Nefilim and the Anakim had at the urging of Enki and Marduk spread word amongst the Earthlings in their community that they relocate to higher ground without spelling out the specifics. In the 2012 book Lost Civilizations & Secrets of the Past, P Von Ward writes that, “The Snohomish of the Pacific Northwest say ETs (the Anunnaki) warned their ancestors to ride the coming tide to the mountaintops. More than 500 similar ‘legends’ have been identified worldwide, warning to prepare for survival after a widespread flood.”
On his part, Enki personally took the trouble to inform Noah as to when he should give instructions to set the ark in motion. "When Shamash who orders a trembling at dusk will shower down a rain of eruptions, board thou the ship, button up the entrance!" Given that the royal rocket would launch at dusk and Shuruppak, where Noah was based, was only 180 km south of Sippar, the “rain of eruptions” spewing forth from the Shamash rocket would be more than amply visible to Noah and his submarine crew.
THE DELUGE IS ON
Finally, the die was cast. “For nights before the calamity struck, in the heavens Nibiru as a glowing star was seen,” relates Enki. “Then there was darkness in daytime, and at night the Moon as though by a monster was swallowed. The Earth began to shake, by a netforce (gravity) before unknown it was agitated. Then the sound of a rolling thunder boomed, lightnings the skies lit up. Depart! Depart! Utu to the Anunnaki gave the signal … The Anunnaki lifted up, their rocketships, like torches, setting the land ablaze with their glare …
Crouched in the boats of heaven (rockets), the Anunnaki heavenward were lofted … In Shuruppak, eighteen leagues away (180 km), the bright eruptions by Ninagal were seen.” The Deluge was in progress. The moment he saw the signal by Shamash, Ninagal, Enki’s fifth-born son with his wife Ninki, rushed to get aboard Noah’s ark.
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 (Africa) to the Edin in Sumeria. He was to be the lead pilot of the ark. Ninagal brought with him a “cedarwood box of the life essences and life eggs of living creatures”. This was simply a cryogenic tank in which the DNA of animals and even medicinal herbs were kept.
Noah’s children and their wives, his relations and a few hundred craftsmen along with their broader families, embarked too. Altogether, the number of humans on the ark must have been at least a thousand, and not only Noah and his nuclear family unit as Genesis wrongly suggests. Noah was the very last to come board. He was restless, anxious both for his own fate in case something went wrong and the ark broke apart and for that of the rest of mankind who were certain to perish in the great inundation. Says the Sumerian chronicles: "He was in and out (of the ark): he could not sit, could not crouch … His heart was broken: he was vomiting gall.”
The airborne Anunnaki themselves were far from calm and composed. Says Enki: “Though they were prepared for the Deluge, its coming was a frightening experience: the noise of the Deluge set the gods trembling.” The rage of the Deluge is described in bone-chilling detail in the Sumerian texts. Below is one such snippet:
“On that day, on that unforgettable day, the Deluge with a roar began. In the Whiteland (Antarctica), at the Earth's bottom, the Earth's foundations were shaking. Then with a roar to a thousand thunders equal, off its foundations the Ice Sheet slipped: by Nibiru's unseen netforce it was pulled away, into the south sea crashing. One sheet of ice into another Ice Sheet was smashing, the Whiteland's surface like a broken eggshell was crumbling. All at once, a tidal wave arose, the very skies was the wall of waters reaching.
A storm, its ferocity never before seen, at the Earth's bottom began to howl: its winds the wall of water were driving, the tidal wave northward was spreading. Northward was the wall of waters onrushing, the Abzu lands it was reaching. Therefrom toward the settled lands it travelled, the Edin it overwhelmed. When the tidal wave, the wall of waters, Shuruppak reached, the boat of Ziusudra the tidal wave from its moorings lifted, tossed it about: like a watery abyss the boat it swallowed. Though completely submerged, the boat held firm, not a drop of water into it did enter. Outside the storm's wave the people overtook like a killing battle.”
ANUNNAKI WEEP AT CARNAGE OF WATERY ORDEAL
The Deluge had a much more harrowing psychological effect on the Anunnaki who were in orbit in several spacecraft than the humans who were riding in Noah’s submarine. The Anunnaki were watching the disaster in real time on satellite television in their spacecraft. With close-up satellite pictures, they were easily able to assess the extent of the tear-jerking destruction of both property and lives.
Talking of tears, Ninmah, who had a direct role in the creation of mankind by way of genetic engineering, was inconsolable, with Inanna-Ishtar, Enlil’s granddaughter, no less so. Say the Sumerian texts: “The Mother Goddess herself, Ninhursag (Ninmah), was shocked by the utter devastation. She bewailed what she was seeing: the Goddess saw and she wept … Her lips were covered with feverishness … My creatures have become like flies, she mourned. They have filled the rivers like dragonflies, their fatherhood taken by the rolling sea."
Inanna “cried out like a woman in travail: the olden days are alas turned to clay,” she whimpered. In his spacecraft, Enki turned off the live feed and buried his face into his hands, his tears as copious as the very floods that had swallowed up his own creation. Ninmah asked herself: why did she have to save her own life when mankind, who she had helped usher into existence, was being devoured by this molten inferno-like flood?
Enlil’s emotions are not documented but from the little that is said about his reaction, it seems he was more concerned about the damage wrought to Earth itself than to mankind as he had to begin life anew on the same wrecked planet. Meanwhile, the flood was on a roll. It was like the world had come to an end altogether and a brand new earth was in the offing. “The Moon disappeared,” says the inscriptions on Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets. “The rains roared in the clouds; the winds became savage. The Deluge set out, its might came upon the people like a battle … It bellowed like a bull: the winds whinnied like a wild ass. The darkness was dense; the Sun could not be seen.”
All the while, Noah’s ark kept afloat, wholly intact: the furious flood had no deleterious effect upon it whatsoever. Why did it hold up amidst the tumultuous waters? Says one expert: “The interesting thing about Noah’s ark is that its construction was on a 1:6 ratio. Naval architecture reveals that this is the most stable ratio for an ocean-going vessel. It could have easily survived even big ocean waves and would be next to impossible to capsize.” The incomparable Enki deserves plaudits for having mathematically taken such ramifications into account when he hunched over his desk to design the vessel.
Yet for all his brilliance, Enki had underestimated the duration of the inundation. It lasted not days or weeks but months. Because of this miscalculation, the Anunnaki had seriously undercut themselves in their rations. As such, when hunger hit, it did so with a vengeance, as if it was the price the Anunnaki had to pay for abandoning mankind to a most sudden and all-consuming demise. “The gods cowered like dogs … The Anunnaki, great gods, were sitting in thirst, in hunger … They sat weeping; crouching like sheep at a trough. Their lips were feverish of thirst, they were suffering cramp from hunger.”
NOAH OFFERS THANKSGIVING SACRIFICE TO ENKI AS DELUGE CONCLUDES
The Deluge was at the peak of its rage for five months. Thereafter, the waters began to recede. At that point, Noah instructed the submarine navigator Ninagal to set course for Mount Ararat in today’s Armenia. Mount Ararat was the highest altitude in that region. The vessel sailed for 2 months and 17 days before it came to rest on what Noah would come to term the “The Mountain of Salvation”. As the waters continued to subside, other mountain peaks became visible on the “11th day of the 10th month” according to Sumerian records, that is, about three months later.
During the next 40 days, Noah continued to assess the situation from within the ark using dashboard instruments, assisted by past navigational master Ninagal. Then he released a raven, a swallow and a dove to help signal whether the waters had diminished to ground level. During the first two days, the three birds returned “empty-handed”, which suggested the ground was still water-logged and the vegetation was still submerged.
But on the third day, the dove returned with an olive twig clipped in its mouth – a sign that the world was almost wholly habitable, that climatic peace was about fully restored. This is the origin of the English phrase “extend an Olive branch”, meaning offer terms of peace. The next time Noah sent out the dove, it went for good. The Deluge was over.
It was at this juncture that Noah disembarked from the ark. This was exactly one year and ten months since the Deluge began. “Opening the watertight hatch, from the boat Ziusudra emerged,” say the Sumerian records. “The sky was clear, the Sun was shining, a gentle wind was blowing. Hurriedly upon his spouse and children he to come out called.”
The first thing Noah decided to do was to pay tribute to Enki, who alone had made it possible for all who were in the ark to survive the Deluge. “The lord Enki let us praise,” he said. “To him thanks give!” Then reinforced by his sons, he gathered rocks and built an altar. “A fire on the altar he lit, with aromatic incense he made a fire. A ewe-lamb, one without blemish, for a sacrifice he selected. And upon the altar to Enki the ewe-Iamb as a sacrifice he offered.”
Meanwhile, the Anunnaki could not contemplate the totality of the destruction. It was horrendous and unconscionable. Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “The Deluge had ‘swept over’, and an effort of 120 shars (432,000 years) was wiped away overnight. The south African mines, the cities in Mesopotamia, the control centre at Nippur, the spaceport at Sippar – all lay buried under water and mud. Hovering in their shuttlecraft above devastated Earth, the Anunnaki pantheon impatiently awaited the abatement of the waters so that they could set foot again on solid ground. How were they going to survive henceforth on Earth when their cities and facilities were gone, and even their manpower – Mankind – was totally destroyed?”
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.
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.
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!
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.