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Copycat Tilts at Baalbek

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER  
 

Further quests for immortality by  ancient rulers

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.  

NEXT  WEEK: FATE OF HISTORY’S GREATEST GENERAL

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Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

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

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

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

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

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

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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