Benson C Saili THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER Nergal’s, Jehovah-instigated nefarious proposition endorsed by Council of Gods
The Council of the Gods, the Anunnaki ruling pantheon, met in Nippur. It constituted Enlil, Enki, Ninurta, Nannar-Sin, Nergal, Ishkur–Adad, Utu-Shamash, and Inanna-Ishtar. It was clearly padded with Enlilites as only two Enkites – Enki and Nergal – were invited. Another outspoken peacenik, Ninmah, was deliberately kept away. Nergal strictly speaking was an Enlite as he almost always sided with them.
“By his (Marduk) appeal for their (all other Anunnaki gods) submission, the Anunnaki gods were disturbed and alarmed,” say the Sumerian records. “To a great assembly, counsel to take, Enlil them all summoned. All the Anunnaki leaders in Nibru-ki (Nippur) gathered.” The principal subject of the impromptu, ad hoc meeting, Marduk, was also invited but he declined, insisting that as the planet’s head honcho now, it was his summoning of them they ought to heed, and not the other way round.
His son Nabu, who wasn’t a full-god being the son of an Earthling mother, the late Tsaparnit I, was not invited too. Instead, in the week before the proceedings commenced, a summons for Nabu to appear before the Council as a defendant was issued by Enlil, with Nergal and Ninurta assigned to deliver it.
Ninurta and Nergal straightaway detailed men to comb every inch of Borsippa, Nabu’s Sumerian base, but to no avail: they later reported that he was not there but was playing hide and seek somewhere in Canaan and the Mediterranean islands. Then when the meeting was hardly underway, Nabu sprang a surprise: he pitched all of a sudden at the rendezvous and announced that he was ready to defend himself and his beloved father. “Before the gods, the son of his father came,” the Sumerian archives say.
The meeting droned on for twenty-four hours. “Meeting in Council, the leading Anunnaki debated what to do, discussing the alternatives a day and a night, without ceasing," the Sumerian records inform us. “In the council of the great gods, accusations were rampant, recriminations filled the chamber.” Zechariah Sitchin also relates thus: “The die was cast. Of the various extant sources dealing with the fateful chain of events, the principal and most intact one is the Erra Epos.
It describes in great detail the discussions, the arguments for and against, the fears for the future if Marduk and his followers should control the spaceport and its auxiliary facilities. Details are added by the Khedorlaomer Texts and inscriptions on various tablets, such as those in the Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts.”
ENKI, NERGAL IN SLANGING MATCH
The first to be quizzed though was not Nabu: it was Ninurta, who hierarchically was Enlil’s de facto deputy on the side of the Enlilites being his firstborn. Ninurta was asked why he had allowed the Elamites, the mercenary warriors from Africa he himself had trained, to run rampage in Sumer and cause untold carnage and destruction whilst Enlil was away. This was a serious dereliction of duty since he was expected to take charge of Earthly affairs during his father’s absence.
Defending himself, Ninurta attributed all the evils that had taken place in Sumer during his absence (he had been in Peru, in South America, all the while) to Marduk and Nabu for their unbridled ambition. “They are very rash and self-seeking people,” Ninurta charged. “They want to rule the world when it is not their time to do so.” Nannar-Sin and his son Utu-Shamash, both of whom spoke after Ninurta, heaped all blame on Nabu in particular. “All this Nabu has caused to happen,” Shamash said.
“It is he who has been his father’s instrument of the mayhem witnessed in Sumer.” Standing up, and quivering with rage, Nabu posited before the pantheon what his father called the Celestial Oracle argument, meaning testimony in his favour not by an oracle priest but the signs of heaven itself. Paraphrased, this is what Nabu said: “With the passage of time – with the crucial shift of the precessional clock (zodiacal time) by one degree (equivalent to 72 years) – the Age of the Bull, the zodiacal age of Enlil, is coming to an end, and the Age of the Ram, Marduk’s Age, is looming in the heavens. Ninurta can see it coming at his Eninnu temple in Lagash. Ningishzidda can confirm it from all the stone circles that he has erected elsewhere on Earth. And the people know it too.”
It was Nergal, Marduk’s immediate young brother, who stood up to angrily counter Nabu. “The celestial omens are being misread,” he thundered. "Let Shamash – the Sun god – see the signs and inform the people. Let Nannar – the Moon god – at his sign look and impart that to the land." In other words, what Nabu was saying was that Nannar-Sin and Shamash, whose celestial counterparts were the Moon and Sun respectively, were better qualified than everybody else to state whether or not the Age of Aries had dawned. Of course this was balderdash as Zidda, an all-round genius, was actually the most knowledgeable in these things.
In the process of making his case, Nabu affronted Enlil by accusing him of “injustice and of condoning destruction” since he was not an impartial leader but a prejudiced one who put the interests of his clan first and those of Enki last. “There is no justice,” Nabu vented. “Destruction was conceived: Enlil against Babylon caused evil to be planned (in relation to the Tower of Babel incident).” No one had ever spoken so caustically and directly at Enlil, the Bible’s principal Jehovah. On hearing this, what he called a “blasphemy against the Lord of the Command”, Nergal got into a shouting match with Nabu and the two just stopped short of manhandling each other.
At this juncture, Enki, the father and grandfather of the two adversaries, decided to speak up to. His point of order was specially directed at Nergal. Enki scoffed at the futility of Nergal’s histrionics and put it to him that he just could not stop the march of history. “Why do you continue the opposition?” he asked coolly. “Now that Prince Marduk has risen, now that the people for the second time have raised his image, let us Marduk's supremacy accept. What is coming no one can prevent.”
As Enki was talking, Nergal kept interjecting and heckling him rudely. Enki at long last exploded and ordered Nergal to “get out of my presence!”, whereupon Nergal took off in a huff. The meeting there and then broke up as Enlil adjourned the proceedings to allow for tempers to cool.
COUNCIL OF GODS VOTE FOR NUCLEAR ASSAULT
The pantheon reconvened in the evening. Whilst the meeting was in recess, Enlil had secretly approached Nergal and prevailed over him to propose very radical measures against Marduk. “Let us Marduk of the Bond Heaven-Earth (spaceport) deprive,” he pleaded with him. Nergal promised to do likewise for as long as Enlil expressly supported him in the meeting. Enlil said he definitely would.
In the evening meeting, which Nabu declined to attend as he could not stand Nergal showing so blatant and brazen disrespect to his grandfather, Nergal offered to speak first and Enlil granted him the floor. Nergal this time seemed to agree with Enki’s and Nabu’s earlier observation – that there was nothing that could stop Marduk from becoming the new Enlil. But since Marduk’s intention was to empower Earthlings so that they were on an equal footing with the gods in every sphere of their endeavours, he had to be taught a lesson.
Nergal was anxious that once militarily and technologically empowered, Earthlings could rise against the Anunnaki and even expel them both from Earth and the Solar System as a whole. “We have to activate that which with a mantle of radiance is covered and make the evil people perish," he coldly proposed. What Nergal was referring to were the so-called “Awesome Weapons” or “Weapons of Terror”. In our day, we call them nuclear weapons. The “evil people” were the residents of the two Canaanite cities in which Marduk and Nabu had rock star popularity. These were Sodom and Gomorrah.
It was a diabolical idea which Enki vehemently opposed. "The lands would make desolate, the people will make perish,” Enki pointed out. Sin, who was the dove of the Enlilites, and his son Shamash were non-committal: they voted neither for nor against the strike. Enlil, Ninurta, and Inanna were stoutly for the strike. Since it was basically a stalemate, the matter was referred to King Anu on planet Nibiru. That was accordingly done by Enlil using a sophisticated interstellar communication device. “There was constant communication with Anu: Anu to Earth the words was speaking, Earth to Anu the words pronounced.”
King Anu gave his nod to the motion. However, he demanded that Enlil see to one precondition basically. This was that a seven-day notice should be given to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah so they prepare to escape to safety. “Under no circumstances should innocent people be harmed,” insisted “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”. “Mankind must be spared. Only the battlefront combatants, their arsenals, and potentially strategic sites should be targeted.” The latter referred to the spaceport mainly. “The targets must be specifically approved. Igigi gods manning the space platform and the shuttlecraft have to be forewarned.”
Upon hearing Anu’s affirmation of the nuclear strike, Enki stormed out of the meeting in vain protest. “What was destined to be, your decision cannot undo,” the wise Enki mouthed off as a parting shot. The moment Enki made his exit, Enlil announced that the council would henceforth be known as the Council of War as it was strictly war against Marduk and his people they would now discuss.
The council proposed Nergal and Ninurta, the aptly named God of War, as the joint commanders of the knockout war against Marduk and Nabu. Inanna appealed to fellow members of the War Council to make sure that Enki, Marduk, and Nabu were not made aware of the exact day of the attack. “Cover your lips” she entreated them.
LORD NINURTA CALLS ON GENERAL ABE
The War Council, however, did not entirely heed King Anu’s wishes. They made their own additions and subtractions. For example, an attack against Nabu and his temple Ezida in Borsippa was also penciled in. The only people it decided to alert in advance were the few key, Canaan-based Earthlings who were pro-Enlilite, as well as all the Earthlings and Anunnaki who manned the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula.
Once everything had been scheduled, Ninurta was detailed to fly to Canaan forthwith and evacuate General Abraham, who was presently camped in Hebron, ready to tackle Marduk’s warriors, who had rallied in force again for the final tilt at seizing the spaceport. Setting off for Hebron, Ninurta was accompanied by two other “gods”, that is, fellow Anunnaki. These were actually Mal’akhim, meaning “roving ambassadors”, with considerable discretionary powers as we shall see but described as “angels” in Genesis, which is not exactly far-fetched anyway as in Sumerian angels (An-Gal) meant “Great Ones of the Lord”.
Ninurta and his two companions touched down at Abraham’s encampment in a stealth, silent flying saucer as Abraham did not hear the sky vehicle at all as it swooped down, that’s how sophisticated Anunnaki technology was. “Yahweh (Ninurta) appeared to him (Abraham) among the oaks of Mamre as he was sitting at the opening of the tent when the day was brightly warm. When he lifted up his eyes, behold, he saw three men standing by over against him. As he saw them, he ran from the opening of the tent to meet them and bowed down before them” – GENESIS 18:1-3.
The first thing Abraham, who was now 99 years old (but still physically fit since he had a great deal of Anunnaki blood in him) was to wash the feet of his three VIP guests. That done, he held a banquet for them. Thereafter, the gods invited him into the flying saucer for an aerial survey of Sodom. It was during the flyover that Ninurta made known to the general Enlil’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah using nuclear weapons.
“Because the outcry regarding Sodom and Gomorrah has been great, and the accusations against them being grievous, I decided to come down and verify,” Ninurta said. “If it is as the outcry reaching me, they will be destroyed completely. If not, I wish to know anyway.” Although as a military general Abraham was used to shedding blood, he was not without a heart.
He thought the decision was too extreme since the vast majority of the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah were innocent people who were simply caught up in the euphoria of the Marduk factor. But as far as Ninurta was concerned, there was scarcely any “righteous” people in Sodom and Gomorrah: everybody was a “sinner” and so deserved to die. Enlilites defined a righteous person as one who deferred to Enlilite gods and a sinner as one who deferred to Enkite gods.
Abraham spiritedly argued against his god. He impassionedly implored him to spare the two cities for as long as at least 10 people in there were pro-Enlil but Ninurta just could not budge. As far as he was concerned, the only pro-Enlilite people in the whole of Sodom and Gomorrah were Lot and his family. These were the only ones who were to be evacuated from there. Abraham, his family, and his forces too were to leave Hebron immediately so as to be way clear of the effects of the radiation cloud arising from the nuclear blast that was certain to billow over the entire Canaan.
A dogged Abraham at least managed to convince Ninurta to send a fact-finding team – call it an espionage team for that was what it actually was – to Sodom just in case the people there were not as pro-Marduk as Ninurta supposed they were. Accordingly, a commission to that effect headed by the two Anunnakis who had accompanied Ninurta was dispatched forthwith to Sodom. They were to be hosted by Lot, who lived there.
DIE IS CAST AS LOT IS EVACUATED
In the Bible, there’s a litany of falsehoods in relation to what transpired with Ninurta’s spies when they got to Sodom. This is not surprising in that the Bible is essentially an Enlilite document. Genesis for one was authored by the Levites, who Enlil had appointed as his scribes. The Bible says when the “angels”, the espionage emissaries of Ninurta, were at Lot’s place, where they intended to spend a night, the men of Sodom swarmed in on the compound and asked that they have sex with them. In other words, the men were homosexuals as Sodom was reportedly said to be riddled with homosexuality.
“As the two stayed in Lot's house,” Genesis says, "the people of the city, the people of Sodom, young and old, closed in on the house; and they called out unto Lot: 'Where are the men who had come to thee tonight? Bring them out to us so that we may know them’.” To “know them” is a euphemism for having sex with them. But that is a pure lie: yes the Bible lies, sorry “Brothers and Sisters”. Sodom is what gives us the word sodomy, meaning homosexuality. However, the Sumerian records, from which the Levites researched and which predated the Bible by at least 2000 years, make no such scurrilous claims about Sodom and Gomorrah.
The people who descended on Lot’s place where what we today would call intelligence agents, who of course were pro-Marduk. Marduk’s spooks knew that Lot was a die-hard Enlilite and so they kept tabs on him round the clock. Hence when they saw white-skinned men travelling in a UFO arrive at his place, they knew who they were – they were Anunnaki Enlilites. Rightly, therefore, they decided to interrogate them.
The Anunnaki team, however, feared that indeed as spies, they would be detained if they simply gave in and so they opted to resist. They had on them very sophisticated, hand-held laser beam weapons which they directed at Marduk’s intelligence agents and rendered them blind. “And when the people persisted, even attempting to break down the door to Lot's house, the angels smote the people at the door, young and old, with a blindness, and they gave up finding the door."
Ninurta’s spies did not need further evidence: Marduk had literally captured Sodom. The programme changed there and then: they had to return to Hebron and report their findings to Ninurta. “Lot, pack up what you can,” they said. “We’re taking you out of the city right away – you and your immediate family as well as your relatives who are resident in this city. For we’re about to destroy it.”
Lot, who was so much in love with the rich and prosperous city, hesitated. His son-in-laws, who were his only other relations in Sodom, outrightly refused, saying there was no way they were going to leave such a paradise as Sodom, whose prosperity and individual wellbeing of its citizens had been greatly enhanced by the use of Ormus, which Marduk had mainstreamed there. The Anunnaki therefore grabbed hold of Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters and hurriedly commandeered them into the UFO. There simply was no time to waste.
NEXT WEEK: “FIRE AND BRIMSTONE” REIGNS ON “SINNING CITIES”
Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph
To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua (Jesus in Greek) III.
Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC. He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.
Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.
Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.
Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary. Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.
Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans. Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.
JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”
Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.
The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches. Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.
The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee. In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.
According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.
At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.
According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).
The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.
Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.
Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.
A BINDING ENGAGEMENT
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.
Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.
Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan. This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June. From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.
Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.
For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”. In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.
Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.
That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.
The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.
Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah. There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.
The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.
They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.” The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.
This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.
The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.
Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:
In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.
When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.
When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.
The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.
Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.
I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.
The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.
The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.
Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.
There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.
In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.
In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!
How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod
If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees. Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.
Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.
In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy. The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.
The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.
Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees. The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.
How did the Essene movement come about, General? The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran, about 40 km from Jerusalem.
Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.
The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue … Since [they are] despisers of wealth – their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”
In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of Palestine in 63 BC, he sought the opinion of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In 142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic King.
In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.
JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD
About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.
He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem. The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.
It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the Diaspora Essenes.
He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.
Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.
When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.
His father, Antipater, had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a mere figurehead king. When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee. Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.
As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.
There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.
The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.
Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.
When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.
FALLOUT WITH ESSENES
Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.
In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known. Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.
In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.
The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.
THE SAGA OF JOSEPH
The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.
The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.
To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.
In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule. Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.
Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.
In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.