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Abe Recalled to Sumer

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Abraham succeeds deceased brother Haran as Enlil’s prospective Shepherd-King
 

Whereas teenager Abraham went to India as an Enlilite, he for a period switched to being Enkite. It was during this phase of his life that his original name Ibru-um was corrupted to A-brahm, meaning “No longer a Brahmin” and Abram, meaning “Exalted Snake”. A question that could be reasonably posed is, was Abraham’s espousal of the Enkite cult a spontaneous desire or simply a necessary rite of passage? The answer is not an easy one but my inclination is toward the latter. That is because even his own father, Terah, had gone through the back-and-forth Enlilite-Enkite-Enlilite metamorphosis.   

If in India the religious sect  that held the most sway amongst the population was the Cult of the Snake, that is, that of Enkites,  Abraham must have deemed it essential, with his own father Terah in on the artifice for sure, to pose as an Enkite initially and then defect back to the Enlilites at the appointed time, with a mammoth “catch” from the Cult of the Snake in tow.  

Ultimately though, Abraham made an impact throughout the  Indian Empire. When he was about 16 years of age, he began to tour the satellite states of the empire, such as Afghanistan and Persia, for instance, to evangelise. And wherever he toured, he left a nucleus of the Hebrew people there to continue where he left off so that his message was not drowned out in the mists of time. In ancient Afghanistan for instance, a community of Hebrews sprang up in a place called Bactria, a mountainous region situated midway on the road to India.

They called themselves Juhuda or Jaguda, both of which very much rhyme with Yehuda, as the Jews are known in Hebrew. Thus it is that even today, the Persians (Iranians) of that region revere Abraham as the founder of their faith and as their mediator before God.  The Hindu god Brahmin is also said to be represented by Abraham or his father Terah/Krishna,  just as Jesus in Christianity is said to be the personification of God the Father.   

One record of an ancient Indian text highlights an accomplishment Abraham wrought as the spiritual leader of ancient India. This was the promotion of the institution of marriage in a place which under the godship of the dissolute Inanna-Ishtar was happily amoral. “The moral fall was rapid. The seers and sages lived apart from the masses. They seldom married and were mostly given to religious contemplation.

The masses, without proper light and leader, soon became vicious in the extreme. Rape, adultery, theft, etc., became quite common. Human nature ran wild. Brahma (Abraham) decided to reform and regenerate the people. He made the chief sages and seers to marry and mix with the people. Most refused to marry, but 30 agreed.”This was akin to the saga of Hosea, a prophet who was ordered by God (Ishkur-Adad) to marry a harlot (HOSEA 1:2-3), a subject pulpit men are always at pains to rationalise.

ABRAHAM HITCHES SARAH

It was whilst he was in India that Abraham got married to a woman known in the Bible as Sarah. Sarah in Hebrew means “princess”. Was the person who informed this title, Sarah herself, a princess? She was yes. Sarah was Abraham’s paternal sister. That is to say, the two had the same father, Terah, but different mothers. Terah married Sarah’s mother, Tohwait, when Abraham’s mother, Yahnu, died. As a daughter to Terah, who was once priest-king of the Indian kingdom of Dwaraka, Sarah was indeed a princess.

But there was another vein in which she was a princess.  Before Tohwait married Terah, she had been a queen in Egypt. Her first husband Intef the Elder, was the nomarch, or  governor,  of  the Egyptian province of Thebes. She married Terah after Intef died, which suggests that although she initially married an Egyptian royal, she was a Sumerian herself.   

Now, the Hebrew nobility (males),  like the Anunnaki, married within the family, not outside it. This was because kingship, or heirship,  was primarily passed through the female line, not the male line.  We know from biology that if there’s a positive trait within the family, the sex that best perpetuates it is the female. Females carry what is known as Mitochondria DNA (MtDNA).  Although scientists claim they amply understand its purpose, they actually do not, seemingly.  

Both males and females carry MtDNA, but only females pass it along to their kids. Thus if a dynasty wanted to keep their bloodline pure, it was essential that their marriages be with close relations, preferably a paternal half-sister, though cousins   and even full sisters also counted but only as a last resort.   

It was the half-sister wife  (Mohumagadi in Setswana) who produced  a heir, not any other wife. Even if there was a first wife who produced a boy child and the marriage to a half-sister came later, the first-born son could  not inherit since he did not arise from the half-sister. It was the prince who was sired through the half-sister who inherited.

Sarah’s original name according to Genesis was Sarai. Although this is true, it is not complete. Her full name was Saraisvati, meaning “Mother Sarai” or “Lady  Sarai”. That rings a bell doesn’t it? The Saraisvati is a major Indian river. The river was named after Sarah to honour her as   Terah’s/Krishna’s firstborn daughter and therefore the one who was going to carry the dynastic seed.

Since she was about ten years younger than Abraham, Sarah was not born in India but in Nippur. The Bible says she was 90 years old when she conceived her firstborn son Isaac and given that Abraham was born in 2123 BC, Sarah must have been born in 2113 BC. It was in 2113 BC Terah moved from Nippur to Ur, when Abraham was ten years old. Thus the fact that the Saraivasti River was named after Sarah implies that Terah, even when he moved from India to Nippur circa 2140 BC, was still held in high esteem in India as its spiritual leader.

Sarah studied in Uttara Kuru, as northern Afghanistan was then known. Uttara Kuru was a   great centre of learning and whilst there, Sarah excelled. Quite apart from the fact that she was a princess, Sarah gained renown as a staggeringly beautiful woman with a powerful intellect, extra qualities that wooed Abraham. It seems by hitching Sarah, Abraham beat his older brother Haran to it. Maybe he was not content to being second  in line to the succession: he wanted to be first. And the odds of supplanting his brother as first in line were boosted by marrying not only a half sister but the seniormost half-sister.

HEBREWS EMBED IN EGYPT AS HYKSOS

In India, the largest concentration of the Hebrews was in a place known as Maturea, the domain which Abraham directly ruled. Whilst Abraham was making waves in India, Enlil, the Bible’s main  Jehovah,  came up with some scheme. In Canaan, which was under Enlilite jurisdiction, there were just too many Canaanites, who were Enkites in religious orientation. Indeed, one reason Nabu, Marduk’s heir, was making propagandistic inroads in Canaan was because the place teemed with people who were inherently pro-Enkite.

The vast majority of the Canaanites were descendents of Canaan, who was Ham’s fourth son. It were Ham’s descendents who also dominated in Egypt. Enlil regarded the proliferation of Canaanites in Canaan as an invasion. So he too decided to launch a counter-invasion.  He contrived to have the Hebrews of Maturea leave India for Egypt under the pretext that they were expelled from there for one reason or the other. The strategy worked: the “expelled” Hebrews were warmly received in Egypt and allocated their own region which was called Goshen (Heliopolis). The Hebrew settlers gave it a new name – Maturea – to remind themselves that it was from India they came.

In his great 1830s work Anacalypsis, the religious historian Godfrey Higgins confirms the above subterfuge when he writes thus: “The tribe of Ioud (Jews) or the Brahmin Abraham, was expelled from or left the Maturea of the kingdom of Oude in India and, settling in Goshen, or the house of the Sun or Heliopolis in Egypt, gave it the name of the place which they had left in India, Maturea.”

Contrary to what the Bible says, the first Hebrews to settle in Egypt were not the family of Jacob. That came much later in the 1500s BC. The Hebrew community was already there as early as 2000 BC. In Egypt, the Hebrew community  called themselves Hyksos. Hyksos meant “Shepherd Princes”. Remember, to Enlil, his chosen people were all priests/princes metaphorically speaking: that was his propaganda pitch. In other words, his chosen people – the Jews – were the elite of the human race because he was the most powerful and therefore the most esteemed of the Earth-based gods.  It explains why the nation of Israel called themselves a “royal priesthood”.  Their   leader/king was known as the Righteous Shepherd or Shepherd King.      

ABRAHAM RETURNS TO SUMER

Sometime before 2096 BC, Haran, Abraham’s elder brother, died in Ur, where he was based along with his younger brother Nahor and his father Terah. Exactly how he died is not specified both in the Bible and the Sumerian chronicles. Since he died in his youth,  we can safely conclude that his death was of natural causes.

Although he was way south of age 30 when he passed on, he was already a father. Typically, ancient Hebrews married at age 18, though marriages at ages  16 and 24 were not uncommon. Since Haran was a royal, we can expect him to have married early enough, in all probability at age 18. Given that he was born in 2123 BC, the marriage then may have taken place in 2105 BC, with the firstborn coming in 2104 BC.  
 

Haran was survived by three children. If the three kids were from the same mother and were born two years apart, the last born must have arrived in 2100 BC. In view of the fact that he didn’t have another kid thereafter, we may suppose that it was death that prevented that from happening. Hence, Haran in all probability died in 2099 BC latest.

Haran’s three kids were a boy, Lot, and daughters Milcah and Iscah. According to the rules of succession, with Haran having passed on the heir to Terah automatically became Lot. Lot, however, was a kid of about 5 or 6 years; therefore, it fell to Abraham, Haran’s immediate younger brother, to  hold fort till Lot had reached the age of majority, that is, 16 years.

Now, Haran had been earmarked by Jehovah-Enlil as the Righteous-Shepherd proper of the Age of Aries – the instrument with which to fight Marduk. With his death, that void had to be filled immediately. Being too young, Lot was obviously out of contention. As such, the privilege  automatically fell to Abraham, who was about 24 years in 2099 BC. It emerges, therefore, that Abraham became Enlil’s foil against Marduk by default: it was thanks to his older brother’s death that he stepped into the breach.  

All in all, there were two factors at play here. First, there was the question of who would succeed after Terah. That was a right of birth and it was held by young Lot. Meanwhile, the older Abraham would stand in for Lot. Second, there was the matter of who would be Enlil’s Righteous Shepherd.  This was not a birthright: it was a privilege.  And with Haran deceased, Enlil had decided that that privilege should transfer not to Lot but to Abraham. The geopolitical situation presently was so tense that to wait for Lot to grow would be detrimental to Enlil’s strategic interests.

Thus it was that Terah, after deliberating with Enlil and Nannar-Sin, decided to recall Abraham from his base in India so he could be primed for much more critical and overriding responsibilities.  That was how Abraham departed India. From then henceforth, he would be based in Sumeria though he did undertake tours of duty to the Indian empire once in a while to keep his memory alive and therefore see to it that the legend lived on.

UR-NAMMU’S “MISSION TO KILL”COURTESY OF JEHOVAH

Meanwhile, Ur-Nammu, the King  both of Ur and greater Sumer since 2113 BC , was making waves.  During the eighteen years he was in power, Ur-Nammu was many things to many people. To some, he was a rare-breed king who brought peace  and prosperity to Sumer. To others, he was a bloodthirsty warrior king, a tyrant  who revelled  at causing death and destruction..

This antithesis  explains why some Sumerian sketches uncovered by archaeologists depict him banqueting and celebrating peace and prosperity, whilst others show him riding in the royal chariot at the head of a  military column of armed and helmeted soldiers, matching to the battlefield.

When  he was appointed King by Enlil (and installed by Nannar-Sin), Enlil’s central brief to him was thus: “As the Bull to crush the foreign lands.  As the Lion to hunt the sinners down; to destroy the evil cities. Clear them of opposition to the Lofty One.” Who were the  “sinners” and what were the “foreign lands” in the above statement? I call upon Christians to pay utmost attention as  we  explain these terms because the Christians concept of a sinner is not what the Bible intended. To Christians, a sinner is anybody  who has rejected God and who continues to defy God without being nagged by a sense of penitence or contrition.

In Old Testament times,  a sinner was an Earthling who followed Marduk in opposition to Enlil.  It was not about spirituality: it was purely about power politics.  So Enlil’s first instruction  to Ur-Nammu was to destroy Marduk’s followers because they had been rallied against the “Lofty One”, who in this context  was Enlil as Earth’s Commander-In-Chief. Ur-Nammu was to ferret out these sinners right in the “sinning” or “evil” cities and slaughter them. The cities referred to here are those that were predominantly pro-Marduk; had significant pockets of a Marduk following; or were presently been propagandised by Nabu to convert to Marduk.  All these cities, two of which were Sodom and Gommorrah, were to be destroyed, crushed.

The “foreign lands” were principally those in Europe, Syria, and Lebanon where the Amorites, Marduk’s Western followers,  abounded. All these were to be subdued and annihilated once and for all. In order to help Ur-Nammu swiftly accomplish these ends, Enlil provided him with what the Sumerian records describe as a “divine weapon”. With it, Ur-Nammu was to “heap up the rebels in piles”. The weapon lived up to its billing as  before long Ur-Nammu had subdued the Sumerian city-state of Lagash, which until now had been the mightiest of all, slain its governor, and overrun six other city-states. And in keeping with Enlil’s decree, Ur-Nammu’s military expeditions were to take him well beyond Sumer’s borders into the western lands.

Ur-Nammu was fighting with the spirit of a “Bull” – the  interests of the  Enlil-controlled astrological age of Taurus, which was symbolised by a bull – and that of a “Lion” –   the  Enlilites, whose ancestors in the Sirius star system evolved from a beast that was predominantly lion-like.

UR-NAMMU’S RELIGIOUS REVIVAL THRILLS  JEHOVAH

On balance, however, peace prevailed during Ur-Nammu’s reign. And in terms of religious, economic, and moral revival, Ur-Nammu left a lasting imprint on Sumer.  “All scholars agree that in virtually every way the Ur III period begun by Ur-Nammu attained new heights in the Sumerian civilisation,” writes Zechariah Sitchin. “It was Sumer's most glorious period.”The  Sumerian records attest as such. “Equity in the lands Ur-Nammu established, to violence and strife an end he made, in all the lands prosperity was abundant.”

For a long time now, injustice, oppression, and immorality had become the order of the day in Sumer. The temples had been neglected. The Ekur, Enlil’s temple-abode at Nippur, had remained in dereliction since its defacing and defiling by Naram-Sin.  One of the first things Ur-Nammu did was to restore, renovate and magnify all the gods’ temples except  that of Marduk in Babylon and that of Ninurta in Lagash (Marduk was an enemy and the brothers Ninurta and Nannar-Sin hardly got along).

Zechariah Sitchin again: “Ur-Nammu, in addition to the great works in Ur, also restored and enlarged the edifices dedicated to Anu and Inanna at Uruk, to Ninsun (his mother) at Ur, to Utu-Shamash at Larsa, to Ninharsag at Adab. He also engaged in some repair work at Eridu, Enki's city.” Ur-Nammu was commended by the gods for his devoted ecclesiastical works and to the extent where he celebrated his accomplishments in stone.

“Ur-Nammu marked the occasion (of rehabilitating the Ekur)  by erecting a stela, showing him carrying the tools and basket of a builder,” Sitchin relates. “When the work was completed, Enlil and (his spouse) Ninlil returned to Nippur to reside in their restored abode. ‘Enlil and Ninlil were happy there’, a Sumerian inscription stated.”

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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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