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“The Eagle Has Landed”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER    

Why did Neil Armstrong utter such words in the groundbreaking Apollo 11 Mission?
 
Standing at the perimeters of the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh, not to mention Enkidu who albeit was coming here for the second time, was transfixed by the breathtaking scenery.  “Their words were silenced; they themselves stood still,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh.  “They stood still and gazed at the forest. They looked at the height of the cedars; they beheld the Cedar Mountain, the dwelling place of the gods, shrine-place of Inanna. The cedars held up their luxuriance all upon the mountain, their shade was pleasant. It filled one with happiness.”

The Lebanon cedar is a lush-leaved, majestic tree that can grow up to 150 feet, or 46 metres, high and can live for more than 2000 years. In the Bible, the Lebanon cedar is the most extolled tree, with more than 75 references altogether. It was the main input in the construction of Solomon’s Temple, the reason Yahweh would say, “Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?” (2 SAMUEL 7:7). Throughout the Near East, the Cedar was to be found only in the Syrian mountain range that encompassed the Lebanon Mountain. 

Only gods were capable of cultivating the cedar: mankind, the Bible tells us, had no idea how to grow cedars. For instance, the King of Tyre obtained a shoot of a cedar branch from Lebanon so that it could give rise to a swathe of cedar forest in his own domain. What arose was not a robust cedar but an inferior one – “a spreading vine of low nature”.

Since the cedar tree grew about the Abode of the Gods, the Cedar Mountain was also referred to as the “Orchard of the Gods”. The cedar was “the envy of all the trees that were in Eden,” Eden being the generic name for any place the Anunnaki were concentrated in. Zechariah Sitchin puts this in context thus: “The Hebrew term Gan (orchard, garden), stemming as it does from the root gnn (protect, guard), conveys the sense of a guarded and restricted area – the same sense as is imparted to the reader of the Gilgamesh narrative:

a forest that extends ‘for many leagues’, watched over by a Fiery Warrior (a ‘terror to mortals’).” Because the cedar tree was associated with Paradise, great rulers and mighty nations were compared to cedars. The grandeur of the cedar trees far from making his hair stand on end calmed the nerves of Gilgamesh. They inspirited him even as he poised to breach Huwawa’s lair.

TRIAD OF LEBANON

Let us at this point in time pose to contemplate the politics, religiosity, sentimentality, and overall import of Baalbek before we continue with the saga of Gilgamesh. Baalbek was set up atop the Cedar Mountain, today known as Lebanon Mountain. It encompassed a rocket-launching silo and a landing platform spanning 9 hectares and raised to about 30 feet, or 9 metres, above ground.  It was constructed using huge, wide-girth stone blocks that weighed between 1000 to 1200 tonnes.

Underneath the vast horizontal platform which stood at about 4000 feet, or 1220 metres, above sea level, was a network of chambers, tunnels, caverns, and a host of other subterranean structures which curiously no researcher has been permitted to penetrate and explore. Clearly, the Illuminati do not want the world to know exactly what is contained in there, just as they do not want us to know what lies beneath the Temple Mount, the “holy” site in Jerusalem where the Jewish Temple used to be.   

Baalbek means “Lord of Beqaa”.  Beqaa was/is the valley that lay/lies at the base of the Cedar Mountain. Baal (shortened form of Aba-El) means “(He) Whose Father is El”. This was the Canaanite title of Utu-Shamash, whose father indeed was El – the name by which Nannar-Sin was known in Canaan. The Jewish name for Baalbek was Beth-Shemesh, meaning “House of Shamesh”.  The Greeks called it Heliopolis, or Sun City. Again this was in deference to Shamash, who was the Enlilites’ “Sun God”, that is, the god whose celestial counterpart was the Sun. As the Anunnaki’s principal astronaut and aeronaut, Shamash is frequently referred to as the “Rider of the Clouds” (e.g. PSALM 68:5).    

The alternative names for Baalbek were the Crest of Zaphon; the Airport of the Gods; the Landing Place; and the Crossroads of Ishtar. Zarerath Zaphon meant, “The Rocky Crest in the North” (the Baalbek platform, which was to the north of Canaan) but that was a secondary meaning: its original meaning was “the hidden away/observation place”. This denoted Baalbek’s remoteness from the vicinities of human settlements as well as its being ringed with observation posts  in case it was infiltrated and therefore (by virtue of its being a “holy place”) desecrated by “filthy” mankind. As such, Shamash was also known as the Lord of Zaphon.

Humans who were captive to the cult of Inanna referred to Baalbek as the Crossroads of Ishtar. Now, Inanna, just like Shamash, did have her own holiday precincts in Lebanon, which was located not very far from Baalbek. It was called Beth-Anath, meaning “House of Anath”, Anath (or Athena when reversed) being another of Inanna’s multiple names. Since Inanna too had access to Baalbek, where she could liberally take off and land to and from other places as she plied the skies (her favourite hobby which was only second to copulating), it is easy to understand why Baalbek was designated as the Crossroads of Ishtar.

Yet the real boss of Lebanon/Syria, the superintending god, was neither Shamash nor Inanna. It was Ishkur-Adad, Enlil-Jehovah’s third born son. The prophet Amos talks of “the palaces of Adad” in northern Beth-Shemesh.  In general though, the whole area was associated with the Triad of Adad, Shamash, and Inanna. But because Shamash controlled the all-important shems, he enjoyed a disproportionately higher regard than Adad among Earthlings.

GODS WHO WERE CALLED “ROCKET MEN”

If Baalbek was described as the “Airport of the Gods”, that was because it basically functioned as a terrestrial aviation facility. The fact of the matter was that though it was not a spaceport proper, like Tilmun was, it did harbour and launch shuttlecraft – second-tier spaceships which could only go as far as Low Earth Orbit, in modern times a maximum altitude of 2000 km and an orbital period of between 84 to 127 minutes. A shuttlecraft therefore went only as far as the International Space Station and not beyond that to other celestial bodies such as Mars and the Moon.

Both the shuttlecraft and the spacecraft proper, collectively known as rockets, were referred to as shems. When Gilgamesh set course for Baalbek, he was not aware of this difference: he thought he was going to ride in a spaceship all the way to Nibiru when the only shems there were at Baalbek constituted the limited-scope shuttlecraft.

Now, to Earthlings, a shem was a symbol of Anunnaki divinity.  In daily parlance, the Anunnaki were referred to as the Ilu, an abbreviation of/singular for Elohim.  Like most other words, Ilu spawned several derivative meanings (which we have already itemised in previous articles)) but its underlying deferential meaning was “Exalted Ones”, as gods typically are. In formal language, however, the Anunnaki were known as the Din.Gir. This title had nothing to do with intrinsic Anunnaki traits: it derived, solely, from the shem.  The Din.Gir was a shem and this is very evident from Sumerian pictograms and ideograms of a shem.

A shem, a multistage rocket, was made up, basically, of two parts. The lower part was known as Din. This was the rocket booster, meant to loft the shem into the skies. The noisier part, which clearly gives us the English term “din”, meaning “confused noise”, stems from the Sumerian Din. The top part, the powering engine, was the Gir, in all probability the ancestor word for “gear”. Thus the primary meaning of Din.Gir was simply “Noise-Creating Celestial Ship”.  

Observes Zechariah Sitchin: “The (Din.Gir) pictographic sign can easily bring to mind a powerful jet engine spewing flames from the end part, and a front part that is puzzlingly open. But the puzzle turns to amazement if we ‘spell’ Din.Gir by combining the two pictographs. The tail of the fin-like Gir fits perfectly into the opening in the front of Din! The astounding result is a picture of a rocket-propelled spaceship, with a landing craft docked into it perfectly – just as the lunar module was docked with the Apollo 11 spaceship! It is indeed a three-stage vehicle, with each part fitting neatly into the other: the thrust portion containing the engines, the midsection containing supplies and equipment, and the cylindrical ‘sky chamber’ housing the people named Din.Gir – the gods of antiquity, the astronauts of millennia ago.”

Given that the Anunnaki were the ones who rode in these noisy space vehicles, they too became a byword for their own machines. In the process, Din.Gir came to mean “Holy/Righteous/Pure/Good Ones of the Blazing/Noisy Rockets”. Put differently, Din.Gir (or just Din itself) evolved into “Great God” or simply “gods” (it is instructive that Endubasar, Enki’s official scribe, addressed him as “Great God”, which did not denote transcendence as such but simply stood for Din.Gir).  It follows, crystal-clearly, that the notion of Din.Gir meaning “Holy/Righteous/Divine Beings” was a later development.    
     

OF GIR’s AND MU’s

Now, the Gir itself (which the Egyptians called the Ben-Ben, benya benya in Setswana, meaning “that which pulsates”, referring to the aircraft’s rotating and flashing beacon) had two sub-components. The top-most, the command module, was called a Mu. The Mu could be detached when the shem was packed in a silo and used by the gods as a flying saucer, a UFO, which when  stationary on the ground stood on three legs that spread out from underneath it. The Mu that resembled a flying saucer was also referred to as a “Sky Chamber”.

Says Zechariah Sitchin: “The Flying Wheel described by the prophet Ezekiel was akin to the Assyrian depictions of their Flying God (Ishkur-Adad) roaming the skies, at cloud level, within a spherical Sky Chamber. Depictions found at an ancient site across the Jordan from Jericho suggest that for landing these spherical vehicles extended three legs.”

There were also other types of Mu’s that looked like either a jet or a chopper. These were never a part of a shem. They were called Esh, meaning “Throne” or “God’s Chamber”.  Their alternative description in the Sumerian records was “Boat of Heaven”. Inanna in particular is often styled as riding in a Boat of Heaven. In the Bible, a chopper-like Mu, in which Ishkur-Adad used to ride when he led the Israelites into the wilderness, and a UFO-like Mu are referred to as “whirlwinds” (EZEKIEL 1:4) or Chariots/Horses of Fire (2 KINGS 2:11) because mankind assumed that all airborne vehicles were powered by fire having seen rockets blast off into space in a blaze of fire.

When the prophet Isaiah says, “In the year King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne (special seat in a cabin), high and lifted up, and his train (billowing smoke) filled the temple (ISAIAH 6:1), what he was saying was that he saw Enlil or Ishkur-Adad in the cabin (throne) of a chopper or flying saucer.   The prophet Ezekiel also furnishes a very vivid description of a jet-like Mu (whole of EZEKIEL Chapter 1). “The “whirlwind” in which Elijah was carried to “Heaven” was a Mu: it ferried him to the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula en route to Nibiru (EZEKIEL 2 KINGS 2:1-11).

Since the Sumerians and the people of Old Testament times were more familiar with the Mu than the  shem as they frequently saw it  around them or parked in the backyard of a god’s mansion (called temples), it was the Mu they depicted the most in their cave wall paintings.  When the shems are depicted, they are shown with tails of billowing fire, missile-like vehicles, and celestial cabins. The ancients knew what they were portraying for posterity folks. It’s a pity that religion has blindfolded us from identifying their depictions and descriptions for exactly what they were. This Earth My Brother …  

APOLLO 11 DEDICATED TO SHAMASH

As the lunar module of the Apollo 11 spacecraft touched down on the moon in July 1969, Neil Armstrong reported to NASA’s Mission Control Centre at Houston, Texas, thus: “Houston! Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed!”  Tranquillity Base was the exact location on the moon where the lunar module had landed. But what was the  Eagle that had landed? It was of course the code name for the lunar module itself. By the same token, eagle was also the codename for the astronauts themselves. The entire three-man team of Neil Armstrong, Ed Aldrin, and Michael Collins wore space suits that bore the emblem of an eagle.  

How about the mission itself? Why was it codenamed Apollo? Just like the eagle nomenclature, the Apollo nomenclature derived from Anunnaki times. Apollo is the shortened form of Apollyon, another name for Utu-Shamash. It means “Before (the age of) the Lion”. It was a name given to Shamash retrospectively for having been the most geopolitically influential Enlilite during the astrological age of Virgo, which preceded the age of Leo (that is, Lion). It  was in Virgo that the Deluge occurred, right on the  cusp of Leo. The Deluge was a major turning point in the affairs of Earth and so was a very significant frame of reference. Anunnaki history on Earth is basically two-phased: prediluvial (before the Flood) and post-diluvial (after the Flood).

Unbeknownst to much of the world today, the Anunnaki ruler/prince  of the present age, Pisces, is Utu-Shamash. We know this from  REVELATION  9:11, where he is referred  to as Abaddon, meaning “(He) whose father is Addon”. Adon (variously Aten, Adonai, Adonis) means “Prolific (in the sense of producing offspring) Lord”. Adon as we already know was another name for Nannar-Sin, Shamash’s father, who was reputed to be so fecund he had more than 70 children. 

When Jesus said, “Now shall the Prince of this world be cast out” (JOHN 12:31) and when the apostle Paul talks about “the Prince of the Power of the Air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (EPHESIANS 2:2), both are direct references to Shamash in his capacity as the god of the age of Pisces (mathematically from 60 BC to 2220 AD) and as the Anunnaki’s chief aerial navigator. So the Illuminati dedicated the mission to the moon to their Anunnaki god Apollo/Shamash.

LIKE THE EAGLE, LIKE THE PHOENIX

Why was the lunar module called the Eagle? In Anunnaki times, a shem was metaphorically referred to as the Eagle. But this was not the familiar eagle we see daily in our skies: it was the mythical version of the Eagle – the phoenix. The phoenix is a legendary bird that is constantly rejuvenating itself by burning to ash and then reanimating as a fresh and vigorous creature. In other words, the phoenix never died: it was immortal. It kept starting life anew every time it verged on old age. 

To Earthlings, the shem had connotations of the phoenix. It was the symbol of eternal life in that if one rode in it to Nibiru, not only did they return the same age as they were years or decades when they left but henceforth lived forever, like the Anunnaki. Since the shem was associated with divinity, it was in itself an object of veneration or worship. Says Zechariah Sitchin: “We are told that witnesses at Sumeria’s supreme court were required to take the oath in an inner courtyard, standing by a gateway through which they could see and face three ‘divine objects’.

These were named the Golden Sphere (the crew's cabin?), the Gir, and the Aalikmahrati – a term that literally meant ‘advancer that makes vessel go’, or what we would call a motor, an engine. What emerges here is a reference to a three-part rocket ship, with the cabin or command module at the top end, the engines at the bottom end, and the Gir in the centre … In the temple of Ninurta, the sacred or most guarded inner area was called the Girsu (‘where the Gir is sprung up’).”

The Igigi, the Anunnaki astronauts, were known as Eagles too.  Zechariah Sitchin: “An Assyrian seal engraving from circa 1500 BC shows two ‘Eaglemen’ saluting a shem! Numerous depictions of such ‘Eagles’ – the scholars call them ‘Bird-Men’ –  have been found. Most depictions show them flanking the Tree of Life, as if to stress that they, in their shems, provided the link with the Heavenly Abode where the Bread of Life and Water of Life were to be found. Indeed, the usual depiction of the Eagles showed them holding in one hand the Fruit of Life and in the other the Water of Life, in full conformity with the tales of Adapa, Etana, and Gilgamesh.”

Since Shamash was the god in charge of the Eagles (shems) and Eaglemen (Igigis), it is not surprising that the Illuminati-controlled NASA dedicated the Apollo Programme (comprising 12 missions altogether between February 1967 and December 1972) to him. It is also noteworthy that the moon was the celestial counterpart of Nannar-Sin, who was dubbed the “Moon God”. Thus, by dedicating the Apollo Programme to Shamash, what NASA was effectively saying to Sin was that “we come to thee Father in the name of thy Son Shamash”.   

In both Sumerian and modern-day pictography, the so-called angels (An-Gal in Sumerian, meaning “Great People of Heaven” – another term for the Anunnaki in general) are shown with wings. What the Sumerians sought to portray in this regard was that these people, the Anunnaki, were like winged beings in that they  flew (in sky vehicles) like eagles.  Zechariah Sitchin again: “How would an ancient artist have depicted the pilots of the skyships of the gods? Would he have depicted them, by some chance, as eagles?”

NEXT WEEK:  THE CONTENDING OF SHAMASH AND HIS BROTHERS

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A “Virgin” Conceives

2nd March 2021
IT’S THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, STUPID

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.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

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!

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

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.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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