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Inanna on the Run

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
Jehovah issues warrant of arrest for his seditious granddaughter

When word got to Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, about the “disobedience and sacrilege” that had been committed by Inanna, he was incandescent with rage. He sent word back to the Anunnaki pantheon on Earth that he was cutting short his Mars tour of duty  and would be returning to Earth very soon.

Examining the satellite pictures the Igigi (Anunnaki who stayed in  orbit)  had provided him, he was horrified by the almost utter destruction of Nippur, his cult city in Sumer, and the defilement of the Ekur, his Temple-Abode. He gave the Anunnaki council the specific time he’d be touching down on the planet so that he would find them already assembled at Nippur.  

Altogether, eight gods were in attendance at the crisis meeting at Nippur. Obviously absent were Marduk, who was still hovering around   the South Pole; Nergal, who had aided and abetted Inanna in her orgy of carnage and destruction; Ningishzidda, who was busy lording it over in South America; and Inanna herself, who feared the inevitable retribution.

All the gods in attendance, including Nannar-Sin, Inanna’s own father, were unanimous that Inanna deserved some form of punishment both for treason and for her battery of atrocities. Even the long-suffering Enki said she had gone too far. Standing up, Enki read out the warnings Marduk had sounded about an Inanna left to her own devices and blamed Enlil for having been too tolerant of her transgressions since days immemorial.  

The proposed retributive options were weighed one by one and finally all the eight gods, including Enlil,  decided that Agade, Inanna’s new base, should be wiped off the face of the Earth, whilst all other cities and principal farmlands should be spared. Before acting, Enlil issued a warrant of arrest for Inanna so she should stand trial. But the moment Inanna received the news of the hot soup into which she had landed herself, she immediately departed Agade and returned to Uruk, her longstanding cult city. 

Says a famous text known as The Curse of Agade: “The Word of Ekur (Enlil’s decree)  was upon Agade like a deathly silence. Agade was all atremble. It's Ulmash Temple (Inanna’s magnificent  residence)  was in terror: she who lived there left the city. The maiden forsook her chamber: Holy Inanna forsook her shrine in Agade.”  

Wroth that Inanna had slipped through their fingers, Enlil’s sheriffs took out their frustration on the Ulmash, which they razed to the ground. They managed to catch up with Inanna, however,  at the Eanna in Uruk, which she had just set about renovating after virtually tearing it down the last time around.  It was not that they took her unawares: it was simply a stand of defiance.  When the sheriffs arrived, they roughed her up, treating her like a nobody, a gesture of which she felt affronted. “Their unwashed hands they put on me,” she lamented in one of her later reminisces.

The sheriffs, however, made a terrible mistake. To accord her some dignity being a prominent goddess, they let her pilot herself in a flying saucer whilst they escorted her in a fighter plane to a detention centre in Nippur.  “Me, from my temple, they caused to fly.  A Queen am I whom, from my city, like a bird they caused to fly.”

Now, Inanna was the Anunnaki’s  best aeronaut after  Utu-Shamash. If Utu  was the Lewis Hamilton of airspace, Inanna was the Sebastian Vettel. Only seconds  after she took off, her flying saucer practically disappeared into thin air. It was like magic but it was simply her extraordinary aviational skills on parade.  

NINURTA TRUSTED TO LEAD CHARGE AGAINST INANNA

With Inanna on the run and given that Sumer was Enlilite territory, Enlil decided to appoint a god with strong warrior credentials to rule it overall and bring about sustained order and stability.  This was Ninurta, the famed God of War. Now, Ninurta was at one time given overall charge of Sumer but he did not enthusiastically embrace that responsibility as he was irate that his younger brother Nannar-Sin had been given authority over  the Sinai Peninsula, which harbouring the all-important spaceport was the Anunnaki’s most strategically significant place on the planet.

That made Sin more powerful than him in the greater scheme of things.  As such, Ninurta opted to spend a great deal more time out of Sumer than inside it. In fact, the reason Sumer was in such turmoil was because Ninurta had deliberately taken a back seat and was a virtual spectator.   

Now Enlil desperately wanted him back and Ninurta consented to the offer. He so assented because he wanted to demonstrate, just as he did during the Third Pyramid War, that he was the mightiest and most indispensable Enlilite. “In days not five, in days not ten, the crown band of Lordship, the tiara of Kingship, the throne given to the rulership, to Ninurta’s temple brought over,” says The Curse of Agade.

But who would be Ninurta’s foot soldiers, his “instrument of divine wrath?”  The most proficient warriors of the day were of course Nergal’s Gutians, who lived in Kutha, also known as Gutium,   across the Zagros Mountains northeast of Sumer.  The Gutians were by Enlil’s executive fiat ordered to fight under Ninurta but as paid mercenaries in the charge for Agade, which had been designated for total destruction. Since there was a reward to be gained, the Gutians said they were game, that they were raring to go. In any case, they could not defy Enlil, who was the God of Earth at least for as long as the sun rose in the constellation of Taurus.   

Before the siege got underway, the Anunnaki high command moved to salvage what they could from Agade both literally and figuratively. Utu-Shamash “carried off its Eloquence”, it’s  broadcasting infrastructure,  and Enki, who was the God of Knowledge,  “withdrew its wisdom,” that is, he closed down his secret society educational outreach known as the Brotherhood of the Snake and ordered the Easu’s  (his teachers) to evacuate from the city.    

Note that the assault on Agade was not instantaneous. Enki had insisted that Agade’s citizens who still were loyal to Inanna and Naram-Sin be given notice of at least seven years   to reconsider, wind up their affairs, and relocate to other cities. You will be aware that the Anunnaki did not see the passage of time in the way humans did: to them, seven years in fact amounted to about a week.

This grace period also extended to Inanna herself: if she were to come to her senses, humble herself, surrender herself to Enlil’s tribunal, be tried, and accordingly sentenced, the curse over Agade would be lifted, the city would be spared, and tens of thousands of lives would be preserved from mortal harm.

JEHOVAH PARRIES NARAM-SIN PEACE FEELER

Meanwhile, Naram-Sin, who had been left to his own devices by the vanished Inanna, was worried sick despite putting a brave face on his fate. "The kingship of Agade is prostrated, its future extremely unhappy,” he mused before his loyalists. He was in dire straits and was at a loss as to what he should do. At long last, he managed to get in touch with Inanna through an oracular priest. Ninurta had said this to him on behalf of Enlil: “O Naram-Sin, this is our word: this army ranged against you, the Gutians, is invincible …  Bind your weapons, in a corner place them! And you will be safe.” So the question Naram-Sin posed to Inanna through the oracle was this: should he simply give up and surrender as per Ninurta’s urging?

The answer came through a vision as he lay in a trance at the shrine of the oracle. “Then Naram-Sin had a vision, a communication from his goddess Inanna. He kept it to himself, put it not in speech, spoke with nobody about it.” The communication from Inanna was later confirmed by an instruction from her using a trusted intermediary. Inanna encouraged Naram-Sin to soldier on, to fight to the death so as to preserve both his and her honour. In the end, Inanna told her, the forces of light – she and he – would triumph against the forces of darkness – Ninurta and the rest of the Anunnaki with the exception of Nergal.  

Thus emboldened, Naram-Sin informed Ninurta that he was going to fight: there would be no retreat, no surrender. Shortly after serving this notice, Naram-Sin decided to mount a pre-emptive offense against the Gutians before they came anywhere near Agade. In the first year, he dispatched 180,000 troops in the direction of Gutium. In the second year, he staked a further 120,000. In the third year, he sent out 60,000. That is a total of 360,000 in three years. None of his soldier returned. Of course some of them in all probability defected to the enemy ranks but those who held their ground were destroyed by what Naram-Sin described as a “Floodwind Weapon”, which was a chemical weapon of some sort.

Now, 360,000 was a significant figure in Sumerian numerology. 3600 years was how long it took for Nibiru to make one complete revolution around the Sun and 360 degrees was the size of a circle. To Naram-Sin, the message was loud and clear: he just could not beat Ninurta. Accordingly, in the fourth year, he approached Enki with cap in hand and besought him to prevail over Enlil to call a halt to the impending march on Agade. Enki did likewise but Enlil said he could not do that without Inanna showing contrition for her treasonous act. For as long as she remained defiant, Agade was destined for destruction come rain or shine.

Indeed, not long after Enki’s meeting with Enlil, Ninurta sent word to Naram-Sin that it was in his interest to voluntarily disarm as he was simply kicking against the goads.  “In days to come,” Ninurta warned, “Enlil will summon perdition upon the Sons of Evil (Naram Sin and his army) and Akkad would have respite.” In other words, Enlil had already decided the fate of Agade. Naram-Sin was distraught. He made no more Kamikaze forays in the direction of the  Gutians; instead,  he patiently waited for them to invade, whereupon he would take on them with every fibre of his being. The guy really was made of sterner stuff.

GUTIANS DESTROY AGADE

Two more years passed and Enlil still had not issued the command to storm Agade. In the intervening period, Ninurta had been fortifying his cult city, Lagash, and militarily honing the skills of his lieutenants. Even when Inanna was at the height of her power, the one city she could not touch throughout all Sumer and Akkad was Lagash. Ninurta had seen to it that all the governors of the various districts of Lagash were militarily proficient.  He wasn’t called Enlil’s “Foremost Warrior” for nothing.

One of Ninurta’s generals, known as Eannatum, who was overall governor of Lagash, was said to be a soldier of epic proportions and was even highlighted on stelas and various other Sumerian inscriptions. His military prowess was such that both Sargon and Naram-Sin fell flat in their efforts to mount a siege of Lagash.  Eannatum’s “infantry of spearmen, protected by shield bearers, gave the army of Lagash a defence most solid and an attack most rapid and versatile,” comments a Sumerian scholar.  Because of Eannatum’s glittering military credentials, along with his great looks, the raunchy Inanna was sexually drawn to him: she made him governor of Kish in addition to his governorship of Lagash.  

Finally, in the seventh year after the curse on Agade was pronounced, Enlil gave the order for Ninurta and the Gutians to pounce on the ill-fated city-state. Enlil’s instructions to Ninurta were to “kill off Inanna’s Earthlings”. Agade was to be laid to waist, to be obliterated into untraceable oblivion.

Ninurta wasted no time in issuing the “surge” command to the dreaded Gutians, who swept down from the Zagros Mountains in their hordes. The great African warriors were in seven battalions, each led by a warrior chieftain. They descended on Akkad “in vast numbers, like locusts.”

On hearing that the Gutians were on their way, Naram-Sin developed cold feet and without formally notifying his generals simply went into hiding. Then  each of his generals, who like their Gutian counterparts were seven in number, declared himself King, and the result was confusion as to who exactly held the reins as captured in the Sumerian King List in this statement: “Who was king? Who was not king? Was Irgigi king? Was Nanum king? Was Imi king? Was Elulu king?"

In the face of such uncertainty, the Agade warriors were not sure as to whose command to heed. Inevitably, the Gutians had a field day. “Nothing escaped their arm. He who slept on the roof died on the roof. He who slept inside the house was not brought to burial … Heads were crushed, mouths were crushed … The blood of the treacherous flowed over the blood of the faithful." Clearly, it was not only conventional weapons that were responsible for this carnage. Agade’s destruction was total: it was never rebuilt or resettled but remained desolate forever. Indeed to date, its exact location has never been found. When Enlil said Agade should be wiped off the face of the Earth, he wasn’t joking at all.

The Gutians not only destroyed Agade but looted it before razing it to the ground. Having made a statement of their fearsome reputation, their seizure of the whole of Sumer and Akkad was a walk in the park. As for the fate of Naram-Sin, his earthly chapter closed when Enlil’s agents planted a scorpion that bit him circa 2260 BC.  With the destruction of Agade and the death of Naram-Sin, the era of Inanna-Ishtar was over but not quite…

FUGITIVE ISHTAR JOINS FORCES WITH REPTILIANS

Where did Inanna vanish to after outsmarting Enlil’s airborne sheriffs?  She returned to her legally allotted domain, the Indus Valley, also known as the Third Region.  There, her reputation was intact: she was still revered and even worshipped as Mahabharata, meaning “Goddess of Love”.  She was also known as Indra. Both Mahabharata and Indra were once the ancient names of India. Inanna’s most devout followers in the Indus Valley were the Bharatas, a Vhedic Aryan group. Excavations done in India at the ancient sites of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro indeed reveal that the peoples of these regions of the Indus Valley worshipped a nude, bare-breasted goddess.

The fact that Inanna flaunted her sexuality without the merest inhibition was one factor that served to endear her to her subjects there, and the reason why they too showed little or no sexual restraint. But beyond and above that, it was the quality of life they enjoyed that made them receive her as a super-star goddess. Says one source on this subject: “A civilisation in the Indus Valley rivalled those known in Egypt and Mesopotamia.

These cities (Harappa and Mohenjo Daro) demonstrated an exceptional level of civic planning and amenities. The houses were furnished with brick-built bathrooms and many had toilets. Waste water from these was led into well-built brick sewers that ran along the centre of the streets, covered with bricks or stone slabs. Cisterns and wells finely constructed of wedge-shaped bricks held public supplies of drinking water. Mohenjo Daro also boasted a Great Bath on the high mound (citadel) overlooking the residential area of the city. Built of layers of carefully fitted bricks, gypsum mortar and waterproof bitumen, this basin is generally thought to have been used for ritual purification.”

Of course like every caste system, the Indus Valley did have its share of squalid makeshift dwellings, a careless intermingling of residential and industrial activity, but the superior caste enjoyed a splendid standard of living and that was what mattered the most. When Inanna arrived at Mohenjo Daro, her headquarters, she wasted no time in seeking a new race of allies knowing that she was all alone now and the Anunnaki pantheon were almost wholly ranged against her. Her new allies were a sophisticated race of Reptilians that had been living in a subterranean world in the bowels of the Earth.

In earlier times, Reptilians had gone to war many a time with alien  humanoids like the Anunnaki and following the use by  the humanoids of a particle beam weapon that resulted in a 200-year-old severe winter had found a new haven under the surface of the Earth. It were these Reptilians, who were indigenous to Earth and were in fact the first civilisation to inhabit this planet, who Inanna courted. Inanna wanted them to aid her in militarily defeating her own race, the Anunnaki. She would then be the Empress of Earth and accord Reptilians special privilege, such as emerging from their underground world to found their own colonies on the surface.  

The Earth-based Reptilians were no pushovers:  they had with the assistance of their powerful cousins from the Draco star system colonised seven celestial bodies in the Solar System, namely the Moon, Mars, Venus and 4 moons of Jupiter and Saturn. At the time Inanna made overtures to them, however, they had long lost Mars and the Moon. With the Reptilians having acceded to Inanna’s pitch, a globalwide showdown was looming between two of the most powerful forces on Earth. Would the Iron Lady bounce back as Earth’s sovereign?
 
NEXT  WEEK: HELL UP IN THE THIRD REGION

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A “Virgin” Conceives

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

Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph

To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua  (Jesus in Greek) III.

Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC.  He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.

Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.

Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.

Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary.  Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.

Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans.  Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.

The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a  “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches.  Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.

The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.

Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee.  In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.

According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.

At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.

According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).

The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.

Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.

Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.

Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.

Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan.  This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June.  From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.

Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.

For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”.  In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.

Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.

That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.

The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were   turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.

Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah.  There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.

The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.

They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.”   The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.

This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.

Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the  Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:

In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.

When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.

When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.

The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.

Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.

I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.

The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.

The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.

Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.

There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.

In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.

In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with  them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees.  Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.

Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.

In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy.   The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.

The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes  “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.

Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees.     The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.

How did the Essene movement come about, General?  The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran,  about 40 km from Jerusalem.

Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.

The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue  … Since [they are] despisers of wealth –  their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.

For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”

In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of  Palestine in 63 BC,  he sought the opinion  of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In  142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic  King.

In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.

He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem.   The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.

It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the  Diaspora Essenes.

He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.

Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.

When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong  exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.

His father, Antipater,  had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in  the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a  mere figurehead king.  When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee.   Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.

As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.

There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.

The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.

Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.

When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.

In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known.  Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.

In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of  the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.

The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.

The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.

To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had  gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of  David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.

In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule.   Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.

Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.

In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles  and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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