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Nuclear Blitz on Canaan

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   

Nergal and Ninurta unleash seven Atomic Bombs on Sodom, Gomorrah, and Anunnaki spaceport in Sinai Peninsula

Lot, his wife, and  his two virgin daughters were airlifted by the Anunnaki espionage agents of Ninurta and dropped on the outskirts of Sodom as Lot wanted to do some impromptu, last-minute business there.  “The men took hold of his hand and his wife's hand and his two daughters' hands and they brought them out, and put them down outside the city,” Genesis relates.

The Anunnaki then bid Lot to make his way to the Judean mountains once he was done with the business. "Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stop thou anywhere in the plain," they instructed him. “Unto the mountains escape, lest thou perish." Lot’s intention was to go down south as far as the town of Zoar, which was the furthest of the pentropolis.  Getting there on a chariot would certainly take time. So Lot asked the Anunnaki to on his behalf beseech Ninurta to delay pressing the nuclear button for at least a full day.

The emissaries hearkened: they promised him they would do likewise. They knew in their hearts, which they didn’t confide to Lot, that there were still five to six more days before the nuclear weapons were unleashed on the two cities. Hence, Lot had plenty of time to gather as much ground as he needed in his flight.  “And Lot, as instructed, went on to dwell in the mountain." Abraham too was ordered out of the Negev (the arid district bordering on the Sinai) and to find haven near the Mediterranean coast, in the district of the Philistines. He sought refuge there at Gerar.

SODOM AND GOMORRAH’S “SIN” WAS A LIFE OF BLISS

Why did the Anunnaki hawks (Enlil, Ninurta, Nergal, and Inanna-Ishtar) decide to nuke Sodom and Gomorrah? We’re familiar with some of the advanced reasons. According to the Bible, “the cities of the Jordan Plain” (Sodom and Gomorrah) were “wicked”.   They had “forsaken the covenant of the Lord … and they went and served other gods” – DEUTERONOMY 29:22-27. 

But the Bible does not explain who “the Lord” was; what the “covenant of the Lord” was; and who “other gods” were. It is the Sumerian chronicles that fill in the gaps. The “Lord " was Enlil, the Bible’s principal Yahweh. The “other gods” were Marduk and his son Nabu. And the “covenant”   was an age-old one, entered into between the Enlilites and the Enkites and according to which Africa was allotted to the Enkites and Europe and the Middle East/Central Asia to the Enlilites.

Thus the Canaanites (descendents of Canaan, who was an Enkite) were not supposed to inhabit Canaan (which was named after them in that they outnumbered the Shemites (Enlilites) by far) as it was not their covenanted land. However, the Enlilites too were guilty of  flouting the same covenant in that at the  time Marduk and Nabu were making inroads into Canaan, Abraham and his wife were  joint pharaohs of I-Sira-El – northern Egypt. Both the two clans had inter-penetrated each other’s territory.

As for being wicked, the biblical take is not corroborated by extra-biblical accounts.   For example, Josephus observes that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had grown haughty by virtue of their individual riches and collective wealth. “They hated strangers,” he writes. “God was therefore much displeased at them, and determined to punish them for their pride, and to overthrow their city, and to lay waste their country, until there should neither plant nor fruit grow out of it.” Which strangers?

The strangers were not foreigners in general: it were foreigners who were pro-Enlilite. The word “hated” in fact ought to be substituted with “resented” given that Lot, a literal foreigner and an Enlilite for that matter, had lived in pro-Marduk Sodom for 17 years without any problems whatsoever. Like any other proud nation, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah resented Enlilites because they were suspicious of them. But they didn’t mind co-existing with them. 

A number of extra-biblical religious Jewish texts also seem to corroborate the fact that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were filthy rich, the source of their vanity. For example, the Mishnah says the problem with the Sodomites was excessive property: this was their “sin”. In 2015, a team of archaeologists lead by Steve Collins reported their 10-year excavation of Sodom, which was Canaan’s principal city of the day (it is mentioned 45 times in the Bible). They characterise it as an extremely rich trade centre with waterways.

“It was a colossal city,” they write.  The exact site they excavated is described as “consisting of both a lower and upper city. It features Early Bronze Age (3500 – 2350 BCE) evidence for a 5.2 meter thick city wall (built and then re-built stronger following an earthquake) as much as 10 meters in height and made entirely of mud bricks, with associated gates, towers, at least one roadway, and plazas.”

What the biblical writers describe as sin was only so because the Enlilites very much limited the freedoms of their worshippers. On the other hand, Marduk was a liberal who gave his people unfettered freedom of expression and association (like the kind encountered in the US) in the new dispensation of Aries. This is what Enlil frowned upon and denounced as sin.      

NERGAL AND NINURTA SPLIT ROLES

At the time of which we write, Canaan had five major cities. Yet of the five, only two were in the cross-hairs of Enlil – Sodom and Gomorrah. The reason were three-fold. First, they were the largest and the most prosperous. Second, they constituted the nerve centre of Marduk support.  Third, Nabu, Marduk’s heir, was rumoured to be hiding in either of the two cities.  Nergal, who was charged with directly conducting the nuclear attack,   had vowed that he would nuke the entire expanse of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with a view to ensuring that Nabu was no more.

“The Mesopotamian (Sumerian) cities I won’t touch,” he said. “The coastal towns (those along the Mediterranean seaboard) I will live alone. I shall annihilate the son (Nabu), and let the father (Marduk) bury him. Then I shall kill the father, and let no one bury him. The lands they (Marduk and Nabu) covet will vanish, the sinning cities (Sodom and Gomorrah) I will upheaval! To the place of the gods, access he shall not have: the place from where the Great Ones ascend (spaceport) I shall upheaval” This was despite Ninurta’s protestation to his partner in the unfolding crime that, “Valiant Nergal, will you the righteous destroy with the unrighteous?

Will you destroy those who have against you sinned together with those who against you have not sinned?” It was ironic that an Enkite, a clan known for its tender-heartedness and an abiding affinity for mankind, seemed crueler than an Enlilite, a clan known for its cold heartedness and harshness toward mankind

It is also significant that Josephus had to make mention of the fact that the nuclear strike was necessary so that nothing grew from the soil of Sodom and Gomorrah. Why was that important?  Well, Marduk had mainstreamed the use of Ormus, or monoatomic gold dust, in Canaan.  Thus Canaanite soil  was by then very  rich in gold dust thanks to irrigation with Ormus-rich Dead Sea water), which in turn made the plants growing in it  rich in gold dust too. So in order for the land to be permanently rid of the Ormus richness, it had to be nuked since a nuclear bomb is capable of denaturing the land completely, at least for hundreds of years. 

The first target of the nuclear strike was the spaceport. This was in order to ensure Marduk’s forces did not have prompt access to it. Apparently, being the Enlilites’ most strategic place on the planet, the spaceport always had anti-ballistic missiles primed. However, Nergal was concerned that if the spaceport was struck first, it would make the likes of Nabu flee Sodom or Gomorrah in the nick of time. It was in deference to this concern that Ninurta decided to enter the lists. The attacks would be made almost simultaneously.

Ninurta would target the spaceport and Nergal the “sinning cities”. Of the two, it was Nergal who relished the resultant bloodbath. “The people I will make vanish, their souls shall turn to vapour,” he boasted sadistically and this was the son of the benevolent Enki. But was Nabu actually holed up somewhere in the sinning cities?  Unbeknownst to Nergal and Ninurta, Nabu was nowhere near Sodom and Gomorrah at that juncture.  “While the two argued, Nabu was not sitting still,” say the Sumerian chronicles. 

“From his temple (in Borsippa, Sumer), to marshal all his cities he set his step, toward the Great Sea (Mediterranean) he set his course.  The Great Sea he entered, sat upon a throne that was not his.”  Nabu was not only converting the western cities:  he was taking over the Mediterranean islands and setting himself up as their ruler, convinced in his heart of hearts  that it was just a matter of time before his father Marduk was enthroned as the God of Earth!

GIBIL TIPS MARDUK ON IMMINENT DISASTER

Nergal was so eager to detonate the bomb that even before Ninurta had reported to him regarding the findings of his spies during the visitation on Lot, he had already left for Africa to commence on the process of activating the bombs. The nuclear bombs were kept somewhere in Africa in an underground bunker in the territory of Gibil, Enki’s third son.

The Enlilites were so secretive that not even Gibil was aware a site in his domain had been used to stash weapons of mass destruction. The Sumerian records say the bombs were seven in total but there must have been many more: seven was simply the number that was requisitioned to Nergal. The moment Gibil got wind of the catastrophe   what was looming over Canaan, he immediately contacted Marduk in Babylon and asked him to rush forth pronto. 

The Anunnaki had blindingly fast flying saucers and so it took Marduk only a few hours to pitch. Gibil then sat him down and told him  Nergal and Ninurta were putting finishing  touches to a scheme to nuke Sodom, Gomorrah and  the spaceport. “The wickedness of those seven (atom bombs) against thee is being laid," Gibil informed his brother. When Marduk asked him where the weapons were kept so he could foil  the machinations of Nergal and Ninurta, Gibil said he didn’t know exactly but they were kept in an underground facility somewhere  on his territory. 

“Those seven, in the mountain they abide. In a cavity inside the earth they dwell. From there, with a brilliance they will rush forth. From earth to heaven, clad with terror.” An alarmed Marduk, who was hearing this for the  first time, grew frantic: he decided to go and see his all-knowing father Enki as there was a chance he knew where the bombs were hidden.  "To his father Enki's house he Marduk entered," the Sumerian records say.

It was night time when Marduk touched down at Eridu and an  aging  Enki was reclining on a couch right in  his bed chamber.  "My father," Marduk said, "Gibil this word hath spoken to me: of the coming of the seven [weapons] he has found out."  Marduk proceeded to beseech his father to help him find the abominable underground arsenal where the bombs were kept. "Their place to search out, do hasten thou!" Sadly,  not even the phenomenally  brilliant Enki had an idea, not even a viable guess. 

IT WAS TIBBETS AND SWEENEY, ENOLA GAY AND BOCKSCAR

Somehow – it is not specified how – Marduk managed to get in touch with Nergal and demanded to know exactly what he and the Enlilites were up to. Nergal neither denied nor confirmed the nuclear scheme; instead, he demanded that Marduk at once leave Babylon and renounce his claim to Enlilship immediately. But to Marduk, that simply was inconceivable: as far as he was concerned, nothing in the universe could stand in the way of his ascendancy to the Lordship of Earth.

Arriving in Africa at the WMD site, Ninurta found that an all-too-eager Nergal had already “primed the seven awesome weapons with their poisons (nuclear warheads)”.   Nergal was even pacing up and down, muttering to himself that, “I’ll squash Nabu like a caged bird”. Nergal was firmly of the belief that Nabu was right in Sodom or Gomorrah and was busy converting people to his cause. 

The first thing the two did was to send radio messages to all the Enlilite gods that by daybreak the following morning, they should all be out  of Canaan. This message was primarily aimed at Nannar-Sin, Utu-Shamash, and Ninmah. Sin had a home in Canaan; Ninmah had a luxurious pad atop a mountain not far from the spaceport; and Shamash as spaceport commander was regularly found there too.

Next, they sent word to Tilmun, the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula, that all the Anunnaki who worked there should have deserted it by daybreak the following morning.  “The two (Nergal and Ninurta), incited to commit the evil, made its guardians (the spaceport Anunnaki) stand aside,” say the Sumerian records. “The  gods  of that place (Shamash and Ninmah) abandoned it: its protectors went up to the heights of heaven (Mars or Earth’s orbit).” By day end,  the duo had received the all-clear message.

It was game, set, and match. Early the following morning, a long while before dawn, Nergal and Ninurta climbed into their bomb-bearing fighter craft Ninurta and jetted off. “Behind him Nergal followed,” the Sumerian annals relate.  If Nergal was  Lt. Colonel Paul Tibbets, who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945, and Ninurta  was Major-General Charles Sweeney, who dropped his on Nagasaki, then Nergal’s craft was the infamous  Enola Gay and Ninurta’s was the Bockscar.

As per the agreed sequence of assaults, the first target was the spaceport,  “its command complex hidden in the Mount Most Supreme (Mount Mashu), its landing fields spread in the adjoining great plain”. The two bombers followed each other before they split ways. “To Mount Mashu Ninurta departed, behind him Nergal followed. The Mount and the plain, in the heart of the Fourth Region, Ninurta from the skies surveyed.”

As the two parted company, Ninurta radioed Nergal to bolster up his spirits in case they were  now flagging. Then with a “squeezing in his heart”, Ninurta zeroed in on Mount Mashu. Meanwhile, following the aviation path what was known as the King’s Highway, Nergal set course for Sodom.  “To the verdant valleys of the five cities he flew.”

ATOM BOMBS RAIN ON CANAAN AND SINAI PENINSULA

The offensive pace was set  not by Nergal but by Ninurta. Equipped with only two bombs, he made two strikes within minutes of  each other.  “Then the first terror weapon from the skies Ninurta let loose. The top of Mount Mashu with a flash it sliced off, the mount's innards in an instant it melted. That which was raised toward Anu to launch was caused to wither, its face was made to fade away, its place was made desolate.”

The second strike was aimed at the vicinities of the spaceport. “Above the Place of the Celestial Chariots spaceport),  the second weapon he unleashed. With a brilliance of seven suns the plain's rocks into a gushing wound were made …   The Spaceport was obliterated, the mount within which its controls were hidden smashed, the plain that served its runways obliterated.” Having accomplished his macabre deed, Ninurta then   raised his hand as he sat in his one-man cockpit and shouted, “It is done!”

It was now Nergal’s turn, which came just within seconds of the Ninurta deviltry as per their synchronized timings.  “Over the five cities, one after the other, Nergal upon each from the skies a terror weapon sent,” the Sumerian records inform  us. “Emulating Ninurta, the cities he finished off, to desolation he overturned them.” Only  hours later, as the first rays of the morning sun appeared, General Abraham was stupefied by what he saw when  he emerged from a slumber which never was. 

"And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood facing Yahweh, and he looked in the direction of Sodom and Gomorrah and    the region of the Plain; and he beheld there smoke rising from the earth as the smoke of a furnace." The work of Erra the Annihilator (as Nergal came to be know henceforth) and Ishum the Scorcher (as Ninurta came to be known from that  dark day onwards) was hard to process. But the blame ultimately  lay neither on Nergal nor Ninurta.

It was on the “god” who had okayed the perpetration of this unconscionable evil, the god who   “sat enthroned in loftiness” , who was “consumed with anger” at the Enkite gods whose only sin was to persist in their rightful claim to rule the planet.  This god was Enlil. In the Bible, he’s known as Jehovah, the god Christians worship day and night for his “loving kindness”, for his “tender mercies”.  This Earth, My Brother …   

NEXT WEEK:  THE NUCLEAR AFTERMATH

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A “Virgin” Conceives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

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

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

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

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

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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