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Abe Firm in the Saddle

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   

Abraham ousts southern Pharaoh to become undisputed King of Egypt

Having become Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti of northern Egypt toward the end of 2047 BC, Abraham soon decided to take a second wife. This was fundamentally for political reasons: as a de facto Egyptian now, it was needful that he marry an indigenous woman to help raise his esteem in the eyes of the disaffected indigenous Egyptians.  Her name was Hagar.

As we pointed out last week, Hagar was not Sarah’s slave: that simply is a slur tagged on her by the Jewish authors of Genesis with a view to undermine her pedigree. She was a daughter of the Egyptian nobility. Since the dominant peoples of Egypt populationwise those days were blacks, the odds are Hagar was black too. It could explain why the pale-skinned Genesis authors contrived such a demeaning outlook of her. 

Yet to Abraham and his people anywhere, Hagar was just as reverenced as Sarah. Hagar was not her original name: it was given to her when she married Abraham. She was named after a prominent river in the Indian subcontinent –the Hakar. The Hakar River was a tributary of the Saraisvasti River and if you recall, the Saraisvasti was named after Sarah to honour her as Terah/Krishna’s seniormost daughter. India had a special place in Abraham’s heart in that Terah was born there and the Hykso-Hebrews, who now abounded in northern Egypt and who had facilitated Abraham’s smooth landing there, originally came from India.  

Exactly in what year Abraham and Hagar tied the knot is nor certain but it was somewhere between 2047 and 2040 BC. It was during this same period that Abraham had his first biological son. This was Ishmael, born to Hagar.  If we are to go by the Genesis account, Hagar stole a march on Sarah reproductively because Sarah was barren.  That, of course, is a sublime pack of lies.  In the days of the Anunnaki, no royal woman could be infertile, let alone sterile.  The Anunnaki were genetic wizards.

If Sarah was unable to conceive, all she needed to do was to call upon Ningishzidda, Ninmah, or Enki – all of whom were genetic fundis and nine months later she would be cradling a little bundle of joy.  For God’s sake, Zidda for one was capable of cloning beings from even non-sexual cells (a process known as artificial meiosis), which he did with Horus, the posthumous son of the iconic Egyptian Anunnaki god Osiris.

What most likely happened was that Sarah initially had girls only and as a result, Hagar beat her to it when her first child turned out to be a son. That could explain why Sarah had such a virulent loathing of Hagar: she feared that Ishmael would inherit after Abraham in the event that she was unable to produce a boy, leaving her   progeny in the lurch. I enjoin you not to take everything you read in the Bible as incontrovertible truth: the “Holy Writ” is not without its share of concoctions, distortions, and outright disinformation. Luckily, Sarah was not destined to be sonless. Not every long after Hagar had Ishmael, Sarah begot Isaac. But was Isaac Abraham’s biological child? You will be surprised to hear this, but he wasn’t!

SARAH IS WIFE  TO TWO  PHARAOHS

At long last, Abraham received a letter of acknowledgement from Pharaoh Mentuhotep I that his prospective emissary was welcome and was being awaited in Thebes, the capital of southern Egypt.   Abraham was ecstatic: instead of sending down his chief aide, he decided to travel himself. That he would do incognito. He would pose as his own high priest rather than    travel on his own behalf as Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti. The reasons he did this were two-fold.

First, if he went as a Pharaoh, Mentuhotep was unlikely to welcome him as he regarded him as a usurper. He might even be held for ransom by the highly disgruntled southern pharaoh. Second, he wanted to deploy his queen Sarah as a Trojan Horse with which to endear himself to Mentuhotep and strike at the most opportune moment. Abraham’s camouflage would not be easy to see through as Mentuhotep I had never met him in person. Very few people were as cunning as General Abe.

When Abraham arrived at the royal palace in Thebes, he was very well-received by Pharaoh Mentuhotep. And in keeping with his stratagem, he did not introduce himself as Pharaoh Mehibire Kheti: he introduced himself as the pharaoh’s high priest primarily and his chief steward secondarily.  Moreover, he did not introduce Sarah as his wife: he introduced her simply as his half-sister. 

Now, Sarah was stunningly beautiful. In 2046 BC, she was 67 years old, having been born in 2113 BC. By human standards, she was old, but since like Abraham she had a lot of Anunnaki blood in  her, she did not age as fast as ordinary Earthlings did: she in all probability looked between 35 and 45 years at  the time. Inevitably therefore, Mentuhotep was smitten. But there was an even weightier reason as to why Mentuhotep began to hit on Sarah.

Sarah, it transpired, was related to him. She was actually a maternal full sister of  Mentuhotep. Remember, Sarah’s mother Tohwait  was married to Intef the Elder, the deceased ex-governor of Thebes before she got married to Terah. Whilst married to Intef, she had a son with him and this was none other than Mentuhotep I. Sarah and Mentuhotep were therefore maternal siblings.

As Abraham was busy spying on Thebes under the pretext that he was trying to familiarise with the gods of southern Egypt as a high priest of the northern Pharaoh and promoting Nannar-Sin at the expense of Amun-Ra, as Marduk was known in Egypt,  Sarah, who remained at the palace, was being gallantly propositioned by Menthuhotep. There was nothing incestuous about  this as Egyptian royals of old did marry their sisters, whether half-sister or full sister.

If  you recall, the diabolical Egyptian Anunnaki god Seth was married to his full-sister Nephthys.  It was this same setup Mentuhotep wished vis-à-vis his full sister Sarah and before long  the two had tied the knot. Sarah found herself married to two pharaohs though of course Mentuhotep was not aware she was Abraham’s wife. On his part, Abraham didn’t care an iota about this development as it perfectly conformed with his scheme to unseat Mentuhotep and appropriate the whole of Egypt.

ABRAHAM DEPOSES MENTUHOTEP TO RULE WHOLE OF EGYPT

It did  not take long before Sarah had a child with Mentuhotep, a son. This was the famous Isaac. This may take the Christian fraternity by surprise as the Bible seems to suggest that Isaac  was Abraham’s biological son. Well, that was yet another spin the Genesis writers put on the affair. At the same time, the Genesis writers did drop sufficient hints that Isaac was not a true-blue Jew but a foreigner.

First, there is the case where Abraham decided to sacrifice Isaac to his god Enlil (GENESIS 22:1-19). If Isaac was the true heir of Abraham, he wouldn’t have been Abraham’s choice for a sacrificial killing: he’d have chosen Ishmael. The fact that he opted for Isaac demonstrates quite clearly that he had a very low regard for Isaac, who indeed wasn’t his real son. 

Second, there’s the curious case of  Esau, Isaac’s firstborn son, selling his birthright to his younger brother Jacob (GENESIS 25:29-34).  The reason advanced by the Genesis writers is that Esau did so out of  famishment with hunger  when Jacob offered him a tantalising morsel of mouthwatering stewed meat subject to forfeiting his right of primogeniture.  Of course the story is nonsensical. No one would sell a birthright on account of pangs of hunger.

In any case, Esau and family were not ordinary, struggling people as the Genesis writers would have you believe: they were royals, a dynastic family of substantial means.  And hunger amongst the royals is unheard of anywhere.   What Genesis doesn’t tell you is that Jacob wrested the birthright from Esau simply because Esau had an Egyptian mother whereas Jacob had a Hebrew mother: the two were not twins at all but half siblings. The twin phenomenon was a pure concoction.

Indeed even the Bible itself tells us Esau’s  descendents are Edomites, who racially are Arabs.  Herod the Great was an Edomite,  which was one reason the Jews loathed him like the plague. Like all biblical patriarchs, Isaac had several wives – comprising of Egyptians and Hebrews – and Jacob succeeded after Isaac  because he had more Hykso/Hebrew blood than Esau, who carried a substantial portion of indigenous Egyptian blood being the son of the half-white, half-black Isaac: it was as simple as that.

 Meanwhile, as Mentuhotep’s concubine wife, Sarah was highly doted upon. She took advantage of the fervid affection she enjoyed to tactfully inquire about the strategic secrets of  Thebes from her husband and these she passed on to Abraham. Then when Abraham had gathered sufficient intelligence, he told Sarah to  confess to Mentuhotep as to her true relationship with him.  Upon learning that Abraham was at once Sarah’s husband and half-brother,  Mentuhotep was irate. But he was not prepared  to let go of  the voluptuous Sarah: instead, he compensated Abraham with “flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses,” without the merest idea though that Abraham was actually Pharaoh Mehibre of northern Egypt.

At the time, however, General Abraham was already in his stride. The mighty Hykso army had already stolen into Thebes and before long Mentuhotep was overthrown. Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti of northern Egypt was now Pharaoh of the entire land of Egypt.   Abraham no doubt was a brilliant military tactician.

ENKI, MARDUK MAINSTREAMS ORMUS IN CANAAN!

Meanwhile, in Sumer-Akkad (the East) and Canaan (the West), Nabu was making significant political and territorial gains. Arguably the greatest demagogue of his day, Nabu had managed to win over the loyalty  of five Canaanite kings who ruled what were known as the “Cities of the Plain”, that is, the River Jordan plain.  They were Bera King of Sodom; Birsha King of Gomorrah; Shinab King of Admah; Shemeber King of Zebim; and Zoar King  of Belah.

However, the five kings were not sovereign: they were subject kings who were under the rule  of an overarching,  Sumer-based King known as Khedorlaomer, the king of the militarily efficient Elamites. It was Nabu who persuaded the five kings to rise  against Khedorlaomer after promising them full sovereign status when his father Marduk was  the  God of the Age of Aries. With five powerful Canaanite kings in his sphere of influence, Nabu now poised to capture the spaceport. With the spaceport in the bag, it would be curtains for the Enlilites as it was the ultimate symbol of Earthly  authority.

With Abraham, Enlil’s trump card, ensconced as King of Egypt, it fell to Amar-Sin, the King  of Sumer-Akkad, to step into the breach. Accordingly, Enlil ordered Amar-Sin to  launch a major military campaign against the “sinning cities” or “rebel lands” as he called the five cities of the Jordan plain. What heinous sin had they committed in the eyes of Enlil?

According to  DEUTERONOMY 29:22-27, “they had  forsaken the covenant of the Lord (Enlil) … and they went and served other gods (Enkites).” But other sources furnish hints for a more crucial reason – Enki and Marduk had had begun to mainstream the consumption of Ormus, or gold dust, in Canaan to ready its people for the dawning astrological Age of Aries. This Ormus, which was obtained from the Dead Sea, the Canaanites now guarded jealously from expropriation by the Brotherhood of Gold – the Enlilites, who didn’t wish mankind to partake of it and therefore prolong their lives indefinitely and gain staggering metaphysical  insights. 

In a text known as the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin  109 A reads as follows: “As for the Earth, out of it cometh bread; and under it it is burned up as it were with fire. And it has dust of gold … They said (the Canaanites): since there cometh forth bread out of Earth, and it has the dust of gold, why should we suffer wayfarers, who come to us only to deplete our wealth?. Come, let us abolish the practice of travelling in our land.”

The Canaanites, who had fanatically rallied behind Marduk and Nabu, now regarded the Enlilites as “wayfarers”, or encroachers whose principal goal was to deprive them of access to and the utilisation of Ormus. They therefore decided to bar Enlilites and their Sumerian human minions from setting foot on Canaanite soil.  That meant fighting them to the death. The term “bread”, as we have long explained at length, referred to shewbread, which was the directly edible bread-loaf form of Ormus.

In a Sumerian text titled Enki and World Order  by the great Sumerologist Samuel N Kramer, we learn something very similar about  “bread”. The text partly reads, “Enki placed the nourishing bread, the bread of all, in charge of the black-heads”. “Blackheads” was the Anunnaki term for mankind and the nourishing bread of all was a metaphor for Ormus.
    
INANNA HIJACKS CANAANITE SIEGE

Since Amar-Sin was aware he was faced with a very formidable enemy, he decided to form a coalition  to reinforce his forces. He allied with their ancillary kings of the principal Sumerian city-states. They were Eri-Akhu of Larsa; Khedorlaomer of Elam;  and Tidal of Goim, with Khedorlaomer as the military commander.  The ensuing confrontation became known as “The  War of the Kings”. It pitted “Four Kings of the East” (The Khedorlaomer Alliance) against “Five Kings of the West” (The Canaanite Coalition), and  took place in 2041 BC. The war  was of such eminence that the GENESIS Chapter 14 is wholly dedicated to it.

Amar-Sin’s brief was to “reassert Enlilite control over Tilmun (the spaceport), to sever the sacred region from the ‘rebel lands’, then pry loose those lands from the influence of Nabu and Marduk by force of arms”.  Enlil’s get-set instructions  to Amar-Sin were to sieze and defile Babylon, Marduk’s cult centre. Says the Khedorlaomer Text: “The gods … to Khedorlaomer, king of the land Elam, they decreed: ‘Descend there!’ That which to the city was bad he (Marduk) performed: Babylon, the precious city of Marduk, sovereignty  Khedorlaomer seized. In Babylon, the city of the king of the gods, Marduk, kingship Khedorlaomer overthrew. o To herds of dogs its temple Khedorlaomer made a den; flying ravens, loud shrieking, their dung dropped there.”

Next was Borsippa. “The stronghold of Nabu, with weapons be despoiled”, Enlil said to Amar-Sin.  It  was from Borsippa, south of Babylon, that Nabu had orchestrated the insurrection of the five Canaanite cities against  Khedorlaomer and rallied Sumer-Akkad cities west of the Euphrates.   Marching under the banner of Nannar-Sin and in heed of the strategic guidance of  the irrepressible Inanna-Ishtar, Khedorlaomer “with wicked thoughts against Marduk, the shrine of Borsippa with fire he destroyed and its sons with a sword he slew” before he and his three allies proceeded to smite one Western land after another. 

Enlil’s emphasis to Amar-Sin was that under no circumstances should the spaceport fall into the hands of  Nabu and Marduk for if that happened heads would surely roll. The principal role of the Khedorlaomer Alliance was to protect the spaceport. Hearing this, the ultra-ambitious Inanna decided to capitalise as the overall military strategist of the Western Kings.

She sweet-talked the frontline commanders into not safeguarding the spaceport as such but seizing it on her behalf so that she uses it as leverage to ascend to the lordship of Earth at the expense of the deserving Marduk and to hell with her father Nannar-Sin and her grandfather Enlil.  Having been promised their own tiny fiefdoms in the new dispensation, the frontline commanders undertook to do likewise. Thus the campaign turned full cycle: it was no longer under the auspices of Nannar-Sin: it was under the auspices of Inanna-Ishtar. 

KHEDORLAOMAR FORCE THRUST INTO CANAAN

Exactly how did the Khedorlaomar Alliance advance? Zechariah Sitchin: “Acting in accordance with an oracle of Ishtar, the army put together by the Kings of the East arrived in Transjordan using the southern route from Mesopotamia to Canaan.  The invaders proceeded southward in Transjordan, along the King's Highway, attacking in succession key outposts guarding crossing points on the Jordan River.

“First to be attacked was a stronghold in ‘the high land’, then Rabattum. The route was the same as the one described in the Bible: from the highland in the north through the district of Rabattum in the center, southward around the Dead Sea. Thereafter, El-Paran (the city just before the spaceport) was to be captured, and the Canaanite cities (including Gaza and Beer-Sheba in the Negev) were to be punished.

“According to the biblical tale, a place called El-Paran was the real target of the invaders, but it was never reached by them. Coming down Transjordan and circling the Dead Sea, the invaders passed by Mount Se'ir and advanced  ‘toward El-Paran,  which is upon the Wilderness."

But as they approached El-Paran, the invaders  were intercepted by a formidable stumbling block in the form of one referred to in the Khedorlaomar Text as “the Son of the Priest, whom the gods in their own true council had anointed.” This dude, Enlil’s chosen Shepherd-King of the Age of Aries, was indeed the son of Melchizedek, the  Priest-King of Jerusalem. He was General Abraham.  
 
NEXT WEEK: ABRAHAM CONFRONTS THE INVADERS

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Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

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

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

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

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

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

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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