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David The Last Pharaoh

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

    

Israel’s most famous king ruled in both  Egypt and Palestine

Circa 1413 BC, Jacob, aged 550 years, lay on his death bed in Egypt, which was now administered by his youngest son Iu-Sif, Joseph in English, Yuya in Arabic. Although this was about 115 years since the Hykso-Hebrews were driven out of northern Egypt (I-Sira-El) to Canaan, the memory of the event was still vivid in Jacob’s waning but far from senile mind, particularly the abominable deed that led to this outcome.  This was the murder of southern Egypt’s black Pharaoh, Seqenenre Tao II,  by Jacob’s own kids,  Simeon and Levi.

The ejection of the Hyksos from Egypt after a protracted see-saw war had greatly incensed Enlil-Jehovah as it resulted from a unnecessary provocation of southern Egypt by Simeon and Levi. The regrettable aftermath was that there no longer was an I-Sira-El (“El’s Shield”) in Egypt. Remember, I-Sira-El was vital because it denied the indigenous Egyptians,  Marduk’s people, direct access to the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula and to Canaan as a whole.

It was a kind of Iron Curtain between southern Egypt and Canaan. At the time of Jacob’s death, the spaceport was of course no longer in existence. But Jacob was still wroth about Simeon’s  and Levi’s macabre  deed, and so was Enlil, who simply never let bygones be bygones.  More than 115 years after the event, it was now payback  time on the part of Simeon and Levi..

First, Jacob blessed his other sons. When it finally was the turn of Simeon and Levi, he refrained totally; instead, he pronounced a curse upon them.  Jacob was in fact so disdainful of his two sons that he did not even address them directly. This is what the dying patriarch said to the duo as captured in GENESIS 49:5-6:  “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.  O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall.”

Jacob withheld blessings in respect of Simeon and Levi because they were “instruments of cruelty” who in the pursuit of self-serving interests had murdered  a man and “dug down a wall”. This man was not an ordinary man: he was Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II of southern Egypt. “Digging down a wall’ is a metaphor  for the Iron Curtain Simeon and Levi caused to be brought down when  Tao’s sons Kamose and Ahmose  ejected the Hyksos from northern Egypt and united the country into one pro-Marduk domain.  

Have you  ever wondered why the Jewish royal line is traced through Judah, the fourth-born, and not any of his three older brothers?   Why was the first principal  Jewish domain in Canaan named after Judah and why is Jesus sometimes referred to as the Lion of Judah?  Now you know the answer: Judah leapfrogged Simeon and Levi in the Jacobite succession because his two immediate older brothers were cursed. Of course Genesis tells some rather unflattering story about Reuben,  but it is pure hogwash: Reuben was nearly 300 years dead when Simon and Levi provoked that comeuppance from Kamose and Ahmose. There is as much legend in the Bible as there is truth.     

In the course of time, however, the Levites for one did redeem themselves. They were  entrusted the  temple priesthood by their god Enlil and took it  upon themselves to document the history of  the  Jews, which they did embellish here and there anyway.  The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, were not written by Moses: they were written by the Levites.      

HYKSO-HEBREWS USE JOSEPH AS TROJAN HORSE TO REGAIN RULE OF EGYPT!

Having lost northern Egypt in the time of southern Egypt pharaohs Kamose and Ahmose, the Hykso-Hebrews did not take the matter lying down. They once again regrouped and came up with a strategy to win it back by sleight of hand. This strategy took the form of Joseph, Jacob’s older son with his most beloved wife Rachel (the other son was Benjamin). Since we will talk about Joseph in detail at the appropriate time, here we will simply dwell on him superficially.

Firstly, be informed that Joseph was not sold into slavery by his brothers because they were jealous of him. True, Joseph was Jacob’s most beloved son but this was for one reason only – he was the son of Rachel, his most adored wife among his four spouses. To Jacob, Rachel was the effective senior wife, the Mohumagadi, in that although he married her older sister Leah first, he was tricked into doing so (another made-up story): the woman he wanted from the word go was Rachel. Thus it was his most beloved son that Jacob chose to infiltrate Egypt and ultimately regain rulership of the country. Joseph wasn’t sold into slavery to  Egyptians: he was tactfully planted as part of the Enlilites’ long-term strategy to blindside  the Egyptian pharaoh and ultimately prise the country from Enkite rule.

Exactly how did the Enlilites re-take Egypt?  They had Joseph, a genius, impress Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV through his uncanny ability to interpret dreams and a unique gift of far-sightedness. But the person Joseph impressed the most was Tuthmosis IV’s  heir, Amenhotep III. It was Amenhotep III who made Joseph Prime Minister of the whole of Egypt. But Amenhotep III went a step further: he married Joseph’s daughter Tiye.  Amenhotep III and Tiye had a child they named Tuthmosis V. In the Bible, he’s best known as Moses.

Moses, however, never ruled Egypt: it was his paternal  half-brother, Amenhotep  IV who did. Amenhotep IV’s other names were Akhenaten and Smenkhkare. In the Bible, he is best  known as Aaron. In due course, however, there were intermarriages between the children of Aaron and Moses. It was the resulting dynasty that ruled Egypt  all the way to the time of  David.   

DAVID WAS EGYPT’S PHARAOH PSUSENNES II

What further evidence do we have that the biblical patriarchs were actually Egyptian pharaohs? It is the Bible itself. In  RUTH 4:18-22, the ancestry of David, Israel’s most famous king, is outlined as follows: “These are the genealogical records of Perez.  Perez begot Hezron, Hezron begot Aram (Ram in Hebrew), Aram begot Aminadab, Aminadab begot Nahshon, Nahshon begot Salmon, Salmon begot Boaz, Boaz begot Obed, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.”

These names, folks, appear  in Egyptian pharaonic records but in the  equivalent Egyptian language. Perez in Egyptian annals turns out to be Pharaoh Rameses IX.  Hezron is Rameses IX; Ram is Rameses XI; Aminadab is Amen-Nesban-ebjed; Nahshon is Amen-em-nishu; Salmon is Siamun; Boaz is Bas-Osorkon; and Obed is Amen-em-opet.

What about Jesse and David?  In Egyptian archives, Jesse was known as Harsiese, or Psusennes I in Greek, and David was known as Psusennes II. But Psusennes was not David’s Egyptian name: his Egyptian name was Pasebakhaenuit (which can also be rendered as Pa-sheba-ka-en-at), which translates to “The Star of the City” or “Bright Star of the Lord”. Why star? In Egyptian lore, the “underworld”, where people were deemed to have gone after their death, was known as the Duat (actually Dyhwt, which in English is David).

In hieroglyphic imagery, the Duat was represented by a star in a circle. As for the city, this was Avaris, the Hykso capital in northern Egypt. Avaris was also known as Zoan, which is Zion in the Bible. Thus the Star of the City of Zion, the Duat, was King David. Indeed, when Pharaoh Psusennes II was buried, the cartouche inscription on his grave showed glyphs representing a star and a city to underscore the fact that he was the Star of the Hyksos’capital city.  

Similarities between Pharaoh Psusennes II and King David in fact abound. Pharaoh Psusennes’s daughter was called Maakhare MuTamhat, while David’s daughter was known as Maakhah Tamar. The Pharaoh’s army general was called Tchoeb, while David’s was called Joab. The pharaoh’s architect was called Herum Atif, while David’s was called Hiram Abif, the masonic hero. The fact that the Hebrew patriarchs were Egyptian pharaohs explains why there isn’t the slightest archeological evidence of their presence in today’s Israel.

DAVID IS KING OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH

Of the Hebrew patriarchs (that is, the leading Jewish figures from Abraham to David), only David ruled in both Egypt and Canaan. David was King for 33 years. He ruled Egypt for 7 years and Canaan (the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah) for 24 years. This was from 995 to 988 BC. The Hykso-Israelites had two bases. The major base was in northern Egypt, which they called I-Sira-El. Their secondary base was in Canaan.

Since the patriarchs operated from Egypt, they needed somebody to oversee Canaan in their stead. They thus appointed the so-called judges. Among these judges was the famous Samson, a man of reportedly superhuman strength and astonishing feats. The judges were appointed after the conquest of Canaan by the great Israelite general Joshua. The judges were unelected, non-hereditary leaders who served as military leaders in times of crisis. The era of judges came to an end when the Israelites installed the first king of Canaan. This was Soul.  Soul, of the tribe of Benjamin, was the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and Judah.

It seems when Saul was appointed king, it was only in a caretaker capacity. He was more of a viceroy than king, meaning he still was subordinate to King David, who at the time was ruling in Egypt.  In 988 BC, David travelled to Canaan, perhaps to check on how Saul was faring as his viceroy. During his absence, the Libyans descended on Egypt, seized power, and crowned their own man,   Shesong, as Pharaoh of Egypt.

Having lost Egypt, David decided to take the reins, substantively, of Canaan, but Saul gave him the middle finger, whereupon a ebbing and flowing civil war arose between David and he. It was David who triumphed to become the second Israelite King of Canaan.
Although David is the most revered of Israelite kings, he had a whole host of shortcomings.  One of these was a tendency to promiscuity, having married at least 8 wives and sired at least 19 children.

One upshot of his lecherous ways was that he had Uriah, one of his generals, deliberately abandoned at the battlefront and therefore killed all because there was one secret which he didn’t want the nation to get to know about. This was that he had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and made her pregnant. Worse still, Uriah’s wife was not an ordinary woman: she was a princess. This was Princess Bathsheba, King David’s own daughter. King David, folks, not only had an incestuous relationship with his married daughter but he also tied the knot with her after the tactical elimination of her husband.

HOW DAVID MARRIED HIS OWN DAUGHTER  BATHSHEBA

The story of David having schemed the death of Uriah over the matter of a pregnant Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, is a well-known one. It is related in 2 SAMUEL 11:1-26, 12:15-25. However, the biblical story is heavily doctored: it is not entirely authentic. As biblical scholar Elizabeth Fletcher rightly puts it, “The story of Bathsheba’s seduction as we have it in the Bible was edited by court story-tellers during the reign of her son Solomon, and doubtless influenced by Bathsheba and her son”. It was word that was put out by King Solomon that the scribes ran away with and not the real story.  So what is the true story?

Of David’s 8 official wives, one was known as Maakhah. Maakhah, we learn from the Bible, had a daughter known as Tamar. Her full names were Maakhah-Tamar. It was through one of Maakhah-Tamar’s male descendents, Joseph, that Jesus was born into this world. To history, Maakhah-Tamar is best known as Bathsheba. Bathsheba means “Daughter of Sheba”. What was/who was Sheba?

Sheba has two closely-related connotations. The first has to do with a city, actually a star city in that it housed the most important figure of the day in northern Egypt, King David. The city was Avaris, the capital of northern Egypt. The second has to do with David himself. As indicated above, David’s throne name was   Pashebakaenat. Pashebakaenat can be abbreviated as simply Sheba, meaning “Star”. Thus Bathsheba, it turns out,   was David’s daughter. She was the daughter of the Star (David) of the Star City (Avaris).

What happened was that whilst Bathsheba was married to Uriah, David made her pregnant (whilst Uriah was away on duty) and fearing the enormity of the  scandal if it became public knowledge,  he arranged for Uriah to be killed. After Uriah’s demise, David went on to marry Bathsheba,  his own daughter, secretly and in heed of  the preconditions she imposed on him declared her his seniormost wife. Thus whilst the palace personnel knew about what  had transpired, the body politic  had no idea. Remember, there were no newspapers, radio, or television  those days.  But  news has a way of filtering its way into the public domain; hence a secret doesn’t remain so forever.    

SOLOMOM INHERITS AFTER DAVID AGAINST ALL ODDS

It was by Bathsheba that King David had Solomon, even today reputed as the wisest man who ever lived, and another son of some fame, Absalom. Sometime after  Solomon  had succeeded to the throne, we’re told a certain “Queen of Sheba” paid a visit on him. That is the spin  the scribes  put  on the event. The Queen of Sheba was actually Queen Mother Bath-Sheba. Solomon was visited by his  mother Bathsheba. Josephus  reports that the queen who visited  Solomon  was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia.

An Egyptian Pharaoh,  as King David was, had jurisdiction over Egypt and other territories  up to and including Ethiopia. As King David’s widow, Bathsheba, who was David’s favourite wife, was  a queen. But at the time she visited King Solomon, Bathsheba was no more than Queen Mother as David had passed on.  

According to Josephus, Bathsheba presented Solomon with “twenty talents of gold, and an immense quantity of spices and precious stones”. That was simply a mother showing affection toward his son, who didn’t need such a lavish gift anyway as he was already the richest man in the whole wide world. The Bible also informs us that Bathsheba as a teenager was raped by his half-brother Amnon and that when the rape was reported to David, he did nothing.

Again that is totally false: Amnon  did not rape Bathsheba. It explains  why David didn’t act against  him. Amnon, who was  David’s eldest son and therefore heir apparent, wanted to marry Bathsheba with a view to inherit the Davidic throne hassle-free since for one succeed to a throne, he should have been married to  a half-sister. So Amnion kept pestering Bathsheba and Bathsheba seemingly was interested. However,  Amnon’s designs on  Bathsheba troubled  Absalom, as a result of which he had Amnon murdered. It was not about immorality: it all was politics. Amnon was too ambitious for Absalom’s liking.   
 


At some stage, Absalom rebelled against King David, incensed that David had anointed Solomon, who was at once his son and grandson, to take over from him upon his death. Absalom was killed in the uprising by King David’s general Joab.    Adonija, David’s surviving eldest son, then had a tilt at the throne too but he lacked the crucial endorsement Solomon received from the prophet Nathan, high priest Zadok, and head of King David’s Secret Service Benaiah. That  was how Solomon became King at the expense of  David’s other sons who were older than him.

NEXT WEEK:  ENLILITE INTRIGUE AGAINST MARDUK AND HIS SON NABU

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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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