Having lost the vital Plant of Eternal Youth, Gilgamesh was so sickly depressed he asked his escort Urshanabi, Noah’s boatman, to accompany him all the way to Uruk so he could comfort him. Urshanabi kindly obliged him. The two set sail in a chartered royal ship on which they were the only passengers other than the crew.
Throughout the seaborne journey, Gilgamesh kept weeping as he feverishly paced up and down the deck, wondering why he should be so unfortunate as to let the Rejuvenation Herb slip through his fingers. Exactly who filched it from his chariot? Was it the Enkites of the Enlilites? The propaganda pitch that soon spread far and wide was that he was sabotaged by the agents of Enki given that Utu-Shamash, an Enlilite, had done all he could to help him attain eternal life.
It must be borne in mind, however, that the Enlilites, were not in one accord concerning Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality. Ishkur-Adad, for instance, had frowned upon the idea. Nannar-Sin was non-committal. So to single out the Enkites as the party that put the spanner in the works was rash. Moreover, although the Anunnaki who guarded the spring where the Rejuvenation Herb grew were called Snakes, a metaphor for Enkites, they were not necessarily Enkites. In fact, they were in all probability Enlilites in that it was Enlil who had decreed that the plant be jealously guarded.
If it had been up to Enki alone, Gilgamesh would have clinched the Rejuvenation Plant given that it was Enki who created mankind and his personal wish was to see mankind live as long as the Anunnaki did. That is not to mention the fact that being the son of Ninsun, Enki’s daughter, Gilgamesh was a grandson of Enki. As such, Enki wouldn’t want to administer a demolition job to his quest for an indefinite lifespan.
GILGAMESH HONOURS ENKIDU
After an absence of about one year, Gilgamesh was back home. When he saw the grandeur and splendour of Uruk, “with its cultivated fields and orchards and its towering ziggurat devoted to Ishtar, all of it enclosed by intricately wrought walls”, all his sorrows were immediately subsumed by a sense of pride and awe.
A great number of his people had long set up camp on the shores of the Persian Gulf awaiting his uncertain return and when they saw him, they thronged him, shedding tears of joy in their ecstasy. All the Uruk elders were sent for to come and receive him and accompany back to Uruk as per official protocol.
After he had been debriefed on the happenings in Uruk whilst he was away by his council of elders, Gilgamesh informed them, with a catch in his voice, that his quest for immortality had not been successful and that he would soon sit down to write all his experiences, including his meeting with Noah, the hero of the Deluge. The Noah encounter particularly excited the elders, whereupon Gilgamesh recounted to them all that had transpired in Noah’s subterranean Paradise. Then he asked the elders to get all the people of Uruk to assemble at a public square.
When the people accordingly gathered, Gilgamesh announced to them the death of Enkidu. They all broke down in loud lamentation in a manner akin to a mass funeral. “Gilgamesh proclaimed his grief,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh. “Everyone mourned, including the creatures of the field and plain, the elders of the city, and the prostitute who domesticated Enkidu. The pathways to the Cedar Forest, the rivers Ulaja and Euphrates, and the farmers and shepherds in their fields all mourned Enkidu’s death.”
Gilgamesh proceeded to summon the craftsmen of Uruk, comprising metalworkers, stone carvers, goldsmiths, and engravers, and commanded them to raise a statue of Enkidu to honour his deeds and celebrate his fame. That done, he assembled a team of scribes to help him document his story and the accompanying depictions on clay tablets and cylinder seals. That was how The Epic of Gilgamesh came to be.
The chief scribe introduced the epic thus: “Let me make known to the country him who the Tunnel (Noah’s abode) has seen: of him who knows the waters (where the Plant of Rejuvenation grew) let me the full story tell. Secret things he has seen, what is hidden from man he found out. He even brought tidings of the time before the Deluge.
He took the distant journey, wearisome and under difficulties. He returned and upon a stone column all his toil he engraved … When the gods (the Anunnaki) created Man, wide understanding they perfected for him. Wisdom they had given him. To him they had given Knowledge. Everlasting life they had not given him.” And so it was that for generations thereafter, scribes copied and translated, poets recited, and storytellers related the tale of the first determined but futile search for immortality by a mortal.
ENLIL ORDERS ACCOMPANIED BURIAL FOR GILGAMESH
For the remainder of his years, Gilgamesh continued to lament the fact that he had failed to secure immortality like Noah and that death for him was an inevitability. But he never gave up hope. Now advanced in years and lying on his death bed, “pursued by the Angel of Death”, he made one final appeal to Enlil to relent and confer immortality on him, especially seeing that both his Anunnaki mother Ninsun and his Anunnaki grandmother Ninmah still looked as youngish as he had always known them. It was his godfather Utu-Shamash who he urged to approach Enlil on his behalf.
Enlil’s response was a foregone conclusion: Gilgamesh wasn’t getting a new lease of life but was rejoining his ancestry. What Enlil, the Jehovah of the Bible, did next illustrated what a diabolical being he was. He decreed that since Gilgamesh was “special” – a demigod who was at once king of a great city-state in Uruk – he was not going to the Nether World, the world of the dead, alone. He was to be accompanied by “his beloved wife, his beloved son, his beloved concubine, his musicians, his entertainers, his beloved cupbearer, the chief valet, his caretakers, and the palace attendants” as compensation for his denial of immortality.
Thus it was that on the day of his burial circa 2600 BC, all the above-mentioned people were given a drug which scrambled their senses and in what is called a “accompanied burial” were buried alive in the same huge grave in which Gilgamesh was laid to rest. Jehovah, folks, hardly had any regard for the sanctity of human life: to him, we were little more than animals.
We were expendable apes. When British missionaries came to Africa in the 19th century and learnt that Shaka the Zulu, on his mother Nandi’s death, ordered that ten handmaidens be buried alive with her, they denounced his legacy as that of a savage. Yet the very god they worshipped was guilty of exactly the same barbarity and even worse if Old Testament accounts of his penchant for mass murder are anything to go by.
Altogether, Gilgamesh lived for about 300 years, having been born circa 2900 BC, and ruled for 126 years. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Ur-Lugal, who in turn was succeeded by his son Utu-Kalamma. The two ruled a combined 45 years. Five more kings followed after Utu-Kalamma and they ruled for a total of 95 years. At the time kingship was transferred from Uruk to Ur, Nannar-Sin’s cult city, 12 kings had sat on Uruk’s throne for a total of 2310 years, beginning with Enmerkar, the grandfather of Gilgamesh.
But of all the 12, the greatest was no doubt Gilgamesh. It is he who is the most comprehensively documented. Even his father and predecessor Lugalbanda pales in comparison to feats wrought by Gilgamesh. Yet Gilgamesh owed his greatness not to he himself as such but to his bosom friend Enkidu, who was genetically engineered into existence by Enki with a view to help mould him into a better person. Before Enkidu’s advent, Gilgamesh was a despicable king who ruled his domain like a thug.
THE CONTENDING FOR BAALBEK
The thunderclap failure by Gilgamesh to obtain immortality did not deter other mortals from trying their luck. In their case though, their pilgrimage was restricted to the Landing Place at Baalbek in modern-day Lebanon, where Gilgamesh, accompanied by his great friend and mentor Enkidu, had his first futile attempt at securing access to a Nibiru-bound shem circa 2860 BC. Tilmun, the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula, was too remote and doubly difficult to access than the Cedar Forest in Lebanon.
Even when the Anunnaki had officially departed Earth, Baalbek remained of great symbolic and religious value compared to Tilmun, which the Anunnaki obliterated with a nuclear blast in 2024 BC, an event we shall relate in detail in due course. Since Baalbek was, courtesy of the saga of Gilgamesh, associated with man’s efforts to live forever, the terrestrial allegory of Heaven (that is, Nibiru), it became a religious monument over which ancient superpowers fought.
When it came under the control of the Greeks in 331 BC, they built a temple they dedicated to their god Zeus, that is, Nannar-Sin, Enlil’s second-born son, who is today best-known as Allah. When the Romans occupied the place in 63 BC, not only did they erect a vast, 4000 ft-above-sea-level horizontal platform there but they also built a temple for the worship of their god Jupiter. Jupiter was actually Enki but the Romans wrongly (or was it deliberately) used the name to refer to Nannar-Sin.
Constantine the Great (A.D. 306-337) upon turning Christian (deceptively) accordingly turned Baalbek into a Christian shrine after scrapping all the works that had been going on there to date. In 440 BC, Roman Emperor Theodosius II “destroyed the temples of the Greeks. He transformed into a Christian church the Temple of Heliopolis (Baalbek as it was called by the Greeks) to that of Baal Helios (Utu-Shamash, Nannar-Sin’s most prominent son)”. In 637 AD, it was the turn of the Muslims, who “converted the Roman temples and Christian churches atop the huge platform into a Mohammedan enclave. Where Zeus and Jupiter had been worshiped, a mosque was built to worship Allah”. The names had changed but it was still the same god, Nannar-Sin.
In the Bible, the prophets Ezekiel and Amos referred to Baalbek as “The Place of the Gods” (note the plural, suggesting that these were the Anunnaki being spoken about) or “The Eden Abode”. At the time, Baalbek was in the hands of the Phoenicians, not the Israelites, but the prophets still venerated it as the holy place of the gods because it had been a space facility of the Anunnaki and was therefore a consecrated place. Rockets, along with a place where rockets landed and took off, were synonymous with the gods or holiness in that rockets were a means by which eternal life could be conferred by way of travel to Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki.
FATE OF THE KING OF BABYLON
Post-Gilgamesh, the mortals who like him set their sight on Baalbek to try their luck at gaining immortality were Nebuchadnezzar, Ithobalus III, and Alexander the Great. We will start with Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar (634-562 BC) was the King of Babylon from 605-562 BC. It was Nebuchadnezzar who presided over the Babylonian captivity – the capture of the Jewish people in 582 BC and heir deportation to Babylon, where they were held for 70 years as punishment by their god Enlil for repeatedly defying his decrees.
Unlike Gilgamesh, Nebuchadnezzar did not set foot on the Baalbek platform or ride in a shem: he was in the process of setting out for Baalbek when he was tactfully intercepted by Ishkur-Adad, Enlil’s third-born son, who at the time was the most powerful Enlilite. Nebuchadnezzar could not be allowed to come near Baalbek, a “holy place”, because he was a protégé of Marduk, an Enkite, and Baalbek was controlled by the Enlilites.
As such, what he planned to do as the most powerful king of the day was force his way to Baalbek, commandeer a shem, and blast off to Nibiru to be conferred eternal life by King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”. But Adad stopped him in his tracks by afflicting him with a disease that made him deranged, roam among animals, feed on grass, and finally die in ignominy. Isaiah’s mockery of Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the throes of death at the time of the pronouncement, is recorded in ISAIAH 14:12-20, which partly reads as follows, with my own comments in brackets:
“O, how fallen from heaven (kingly glory in a mocking way) art thou, a Morning Star, son of Dawn! (literally ‘Shining One’, how the Anunnaki were characterised because of their light-skinned complexion and their surpassing knowledge. This is spoken in jest by the prophet as being an Anunnaki was what Nebuchadnezzar prospectively fancied himself as). Felled to the ground is he who the nations enfeebled.
Thou didst say in thine heart, ‘I will ascend unto the heavens (the cosmos on way to Nibiru), above the planets (the solar system) of El (Enlil) I shall raise my throne. (This is a false accusation: Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Marduk and so there was no way he would have wanted to exalt himself above any of the Anunnaki gods.) On the Mount of Assembly (Baalbek) I shall sit, on the Crest of Zaphon (Baalbek). Upon the Raised Platform (BaaIbek rocket-launch tower) I shall go up (ride in a shem), a Lofty One (an Anunnaki) I shall be!’ But nay, to the Nether World (where evil people go at death) you shalt go, down to the depths of a pit (Hell).”
Tragically, this very earthly incident has been over-spiritualised by the hopelessly ignorant Christian clergy. It has been span as talking about the fall of Satan in Heaven! What hogwash. Why? Because in the Vulgate, a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin by Jerome, one of the church fathers, “Morning Star Son of Dawn” is rendered as “Lucifer”, now a byword for Satan or Devil. But what these same Christian preachers will not admit to you is that Jesus is also referred to as Lucifer in REVELATION 22:16! The term Lucifer thus has no evil connotations whatsoever as it even applies to the planet Venus, the brightest object in the dawn and evening sky. It is the Illuminati who corrupted the term Lucifer to represent prime evil.
FATE OF THE KING OF TYRE
Tyre (today part of Lebanon) was a wealthy Phoenician city on the eastern Mediterranean coast as well as a strategic centre. In the 6th century BC, Ishkur-Adad instructed the prophet Ezekiel to pronounce doom on the King of Tyre. This diatribe against the king is recorded in EZEKIEL 28:12-19. Once again, the Christian clergy have falsely interpreted the above passage as referring to the fall of Satan in Heaven.
According to the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the object of Adad’s wrath was King Ithobalus III of the city-state of Tyre, who reigned from 591-573 BC. This was in the waning days of the Anunnaki’s direct rulership of Earth. As his name implies, Ithobalus (meaning, “With Baal”) was a protégé of Utu-Shamash, who the Canaanites called Baal. Just as he had done with Gilgamesh, Shamash facilitated Ithobalus’s visit to the Baalbek aero-facility but went further: he got him to ride in a shem – a shuttlecraft, not an interplanetary rocket. This time around, Shamash managed to obtain the express blessings of Adad, who was the overall god of Lebanon. So it was under the aegis, ultimately, of Adad, that Ithobalus was allowed to set foot in the Landing Place and board a shem.
But Ithobalus in due course rubbed Adad the wrong way. Having been to Baalbek and having ridden in a shem (but only as far as Earth’s lower orbit, not all the way to Nibiru), Ithobalus became swell-headed: he literally grew wings. He began to boast to mankind that he had now become a god, that is, an Anunnaki. Like the Anunnaki, he bragged, he too had become immortal. This of course was false in that one only became like the Anunnaki (that is, was able to live nearly as long as they did) if he had travelled to Nibiru or partook of either the Rejuvenation Herb (the one that eluded Gilgamesh) or Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of Gold. Ithobalus did none of these.
“Thou hast been to a sacred mount (Baalbek),” Ezekiel said to Ithobalus on behalf of Adad. “As a god (Anunnaki) werest thou, moving within the fiery stones (the shems) … And you became haughty, saying, a god am I, at the place (Baalbek) of the Elohim (the Anunnaki ruling pantheon) I was. But you are just man, not god.”
Because of being so full of himself and for propagating falsehoods, Ithobalus was to die at the hands of strangers. “I will cast you to the ground (be dethroned),” Adad said of Ithobalus through Ezekiel. “I will lay you before kings, that they may behold (mockingly) you … I will bring forth a fire (symbol/metaphor of judgement) from the middle of you (that is, from among his own reign). It shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.” Adad was the cruellest and most irascible of the Anunnaki royalty: once you offended him, you were a goner.
Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph
To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua (Jesus in Greek) III.
Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC. He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.
Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.
Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.
Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary. Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.
Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans. Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.
JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”
Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.
The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches. Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.
The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee. In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.
According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.
At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.
According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).
The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.
Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.
Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.
A BINDING ENGAGEMENT
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.
Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.
Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan. This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June. From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.
Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.
For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”. In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.
Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.
That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.
The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.
Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah. There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.
The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.
They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.” The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.
This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.
The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.
Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:
In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.
When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.
When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.
The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.
Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.
I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.
The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.
The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.
Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.
There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.
In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.
In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!
How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod
If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees. Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.
Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.
In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy. The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.
The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.
Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees. The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.
How did the Essene movement come about, General? The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran, about 40 km from Jerusalem.
Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.
The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue … Since [they are] despisers of wealth – their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”
In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of Palestine in 63 BC, he sought the opinion of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In 142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic King.
In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.
JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD
About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.
He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem. The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.
It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the Diaspora Essenes.
He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.
Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.
When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.
His father, Antipater, had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a mere figurehead king. When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee. Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.
As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.
There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.
The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.
Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.
When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.
FALLOUT WITH ESSENES
Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.
In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known. Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.
In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.
The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.
THE SAGA OF JOSEPH
The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.
The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.
To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.
In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule. Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.
Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.
In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.