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Lot’s Wife Turns to Vapour!

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

    

She was one of more than a million Earthlings who perished in the seven-bomb nuclear onslaught

When Colonel Paul Tibbets, the US Air force pilot dropped the atom bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, his immediate remark, which became a folklore phrase, was “My God, what we have done?”. Tibbets so remarked because he thought Japan had vanished from the face of Earth and everything and everybody there had been vapourised.

Nergal and Ninurta were not half as horrified by their gory act as Colonel Tibetts was. For Ninurta, the deed had been accomplished. “It is done”, was his excited, fiendish cry. As for Nergal, he had dealt a telling lesson to Marduk, to Nabu: his obsessive itch for vengeance was fully satiated. The two exulted at the ruinage and bloodbath they had brought about. The Sumerian records say they were actually “puzzled” at their evil handiwork, the scale of destruction they had wrought.  It was all too good to be true.  

The two had obliterated the spaceport; upheavalled  Sodom and Gomorrah (that is, uprooted the  two cities so that they were buried so deep under the ground it was like they never existed at all); and not only “killed” what we now call the Dead Sea in the sense that  it no longer supported life but also geophysically reformatted it!  

“The Earth shook and crumbled, the heavens (the sky) after the brilliance were darkened,” the Sumerian records relate. The “brilliance” was what we would today call a mushroom cloud, which arose in a brilliant flash. “On that day,” say the lamentation texts, “heaven was crushed and the earth was smitten, its face obliterated by the maelstrom. The skies were darkened and covered as with a shadow, a dense cloud that brings gloom.” The year was 2024 BC.    

NINURTA’S SIGNATURE STILL VISIBLE IN SINAI PENINSULA

Ninurta’s two-bomb blitz focused on the spaceport, “the place from which Great Ones (the Anunnaki) ascends”, and its mountainous vicinity, along with the adjoining plain that served for landing and take-off.  The latter would be dubbed “Place of No Pity” after the nuclear holocaust. Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “The lamentation texts identified the site of the awesome blasts as ‘in the west’, near ‘the breast of the sea’ – a  graphic description of the curving Mediterranean coast at the Sinai peninsula – from a plain ‘in the midst of the mountains’, a plain that became a ‘Place of No Pity’. It was a place that served before as the Place of Launching, the place from which the gods ascended toward Anu.”  

In one of the lamentation texts, the spaceport, which was a subterranean facility burrowed under Mount Mashu, is referred to as the “Mount of Howling Tunnels”, that is, a mountain containing tunnels that made a howling noise. This is in very apt reference to the spaceport as it had underground chambers and the landing and departing “celestial boats” (spaceships) made penetrating sounds that reached near and far.

     When Ninurta, “he who scorches with fire” (Ishum the Scorcher) as he came to be known, was done  with his two-bomb strike abomination, “of all the forests that the plain had surrounded, not a tree stem was  left standing”. There was absolutely no vegetation in the surrounding plain. “In the mountains he caused starvation, their animals he made perish  …  As with fire he scorched the animals, burned its (Mount Mashu) grains (that grew on the slopes) to become as dust.”

The fission bombs Ninurta let loose on the Sinai Peninsula exactly 4042 thousand year ago left a permanent mark there.  This is a scar so vast it can even be seen from space as satellite photographs have showcased. And not only that:  the scar is strewn, to this day, with crushed, burnt, and blackened rocks which contain a highly unusual ratio of isotope uranium-235 – evidence that once upon a time, it was exposed to sudden immense heat of nuclear origin as Uranium 235 is a necessary input into the making of nuclear bombs.  The black colour of the stones is also a curious phenomenon given that black is not a natural colour in that setting. Scientists are hard-pressed to venture a reason as to the scar and the atypical colour of the stones.

Let us once again listen to Zechariah Sitchin: “As one stands in this great plain in the Sinai Peninsula, one can see in the distance the mountains that surround the plain and give it its oval shape. The limestone mountains loom white on the horizon; but where the great central plain adjoins the immense scar in the Sinai, the hue of the plain — black— stands out in sharp contrast to the surrounding whiteness. Black is not a natural hue in the Sinai Peninsula. Yet here, in the central plain northeast of the enigmatic giant scar, the soil's colour has a black hue. It is caused by millions upon millions of bits and pieces of blackened rock, strewn as by a giant hand over the whole area.

“There has been no explanation for the colossal scar in the face of the Sinai peninsula since it was observed from the skies and photographed by NASA satellites. There has been no explanation for the blackened bits and pieces of rock strewn over the area in the central plain. No explanation – unless one reads the verses of the ancient texts and accepts our conclusion that in the days of Abraham, Nergal and Ninurta wiped out the spaceport that was there with nuclear weapons: ‘That which was raised towards Anu to launch they caused to wither, its face they made fade away, its place they made desolate’."

    
NERGAL EXTERMINATES A MILLION-ODD LIVES

Of the two Anunnaki bombers, it was Nergal who was the worser devil. First, he dropped not two bombs like Ninurta but five, corresponding to the total number of the Canaanite cities that had “rebelled” against central authority in Sumer. Second, he targeted the human population. In the aftermath of the Ninurta bombings, only animals are said to have perished as all the Igigis and the few pro-Enlilite humans who worked in the Sinai Peninsula had long evacuated before Ninurta did the deed. In the case of Nergal, an unconscionable number of human beings were turned to ash.    

Exactly how many people perished in the Nergal blitz? Neither the Bible nor the Sumerian records give us figures in this regard, not even an estimate of the population of Sodom and Gomorrah. But the one thing we can be sure of is that not everybody died. Even the Atomb bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not vapourise or pulverise the entire population. It is not easy to put a figure on how many people died and survived in the Japanese case since you cannot count ash or vapour. Also, the bombings triggered a great exodus of survivors from the two cities, so that by the time of a post-war census in December 1945, not very many people were left.     

After years of excavating the Sodom and Gomorrah vicinities, archaeologists have turn up a large, ancient cemetery area containing over 1 million graves, along with up to 2 feet of ash. From this, two things can be deduced. First, the “Five Cities of the Plain”, as Sodom, Gomorrah and three other cities of the Jordan plain were called, had a sizeable population. Second, people survived and patiently took time to bury the dead as these were not mass graves but solitary graves. It were these survivors who gave eye-witness accounts of what we read in the Sumerian chronicles.

According to the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by “the Elohim” (the ruling pantheon of the Anunnaki) who rained down “fire and brimstone” on the two cities.  Brimstone is another name for sulfur.  The original Sumerian records, however, do not mention sulfur at all: they attribute the whole disaster to something that sounds like an Atom bomb as we have already related.  So where did the biblical scribes get the idea of sulfur bombs?

Well, to begin with, the area around Sodom and Gomorrah was rich with sulfur. Round balls of almost pure sulfur, mostly golf-ball-sized, have been found embedded in ash near the Dead Sea. The experience of Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents serves up the unmitigated fact that an Atom blast smells like sulfur. One such survivor was Taeko Teramae. When in recent times Teramae was interviewed about his experiences of the nuking of Hiroshima, he said, “I smelt something like sulfur.

It smelt like the volcano, Mt. Aso, and I threw up.” Mount Aso is a still active volcano in Kyushu, Japan, which has erupted intermittently since 1974. The sulfur-rich volcanic eruptions smell like sulfur and so Teramae knew what he was talking about. It is the sulfurous smell and the presence of sulfur balls around the Dead Sea that made the biblical scribes take it for granted that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with a sulfurous conflagration.

The fact of the matter though is that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by the Anunnaki by way of nuclear bombs. Indeed, archaeologists have found melted pottery shards around the Dead Sea whose state compare very well to a substance left on the desert floor near Alamogordo, New Mexico, after the explosion of a test nuclear bomb on July 16 1945. According to the same archaeologists, the pottery shards pointed to evidence of “exposure to very high temperature levels, much higher than what would be expected from heating from a kiln or oven”.

It was the “enraged” Enlil who “conceived the wrath” courtesy of the Sumerian annals. But the actual annihilator was   Nergal. It was he who “burnt up the adversary (the people of the five cities personified by Marduk and Nabu), who obliterated the disobedient land (the five cities), who withered the lives of the Evil Word’s (Nabu, who was a famed demagogue) followers”. Thanks to the lingering effects of the atomic assault, for the next 700 years Sodom and Gomorrah became a practical wasteland as it simply was too dangerous for human habitation. As the highly percipient Enki had predicted, “to desolation” were the cities “overturned”.   

IT WAS NERGAL WHO “KILLED”, EXTENDED THE DEAD SEA

Why does the Dead Sea not support any form of life – the reason it is called the Dead Sea? The tread-of-the-mill reason is that as one of the saltiest lakes in the world, it naturally cannot harbour life forms such as fish, crocodiles, hippos, and other such aquatic animals. But we now can inform you folks that once, the Dead Sea was not a salty lake: it was a fresh water lake which supported animal life.  That aspect we learn from the Sumerian records. It became a salty lake in 2024 BC when the Anunnaki blitzed it with chemical weapons. 

It seemed the Anunnaki used both chemical and nuclear weapons on the cities of the Jordan plain. It is also common knowledge that the Dead Sea, which is surrounded by Israel, Jordan, and Palestine was shorter (it has an elongated, north-south shape) than it appears today.  The southern extremity is a relatively recent extension. What caused the extension?  Once again, it is Nergal’s nuclear onslaught.   

Traces of radiation have been found around the Dead Sea.  Writes Sitchin: “Leading archaeologists, such as W. F. Albright and P. Harland, discovered that settlements in the mountains around the region were abruptly abandoned in the 21st century BC and were not reoccupied for several centuries thereafter. And to this very day, the water of springs surrounding the Dead Sea has been found to be contaminated with radioactivity, enough to induce sterility and allied afflictions in any animals and humans that absorbed it over a number of years.”

As for a further elongation of the Dead Sea, this is what Sitchin informs us: “The upheaval of the cities in the plain of the Dead Sea caused the southern shore of the sea to collapse, leading to a flooding of the once fertile area and its appearance, to this day, as an appendage separated from the sea by a barrier called El-Lissan (‘The Tongue’).”

But there is more. Scientists  have observed that the Dead Sea fell abruptly by 100 metres in the 21st century BC. Sadly, they are  unable to explain why. Furthermore, there are very curious ruins at the bottom of the Dead Sea which the powers-that-be prevent aquatic archeologist from investigating. Zechariah Sitchin: “Attempts by Israeli archaeologists to explore the seabed there have revealed the existence of enigmatic underwater ruins, but the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in whose half of the Dead Sea the ruins are, put a stop to further exploration.”  

If the scientists do not have an idea of exactly what happened to the Dead Sea in the 21st century BC and only have a vague notion  of why  it does not support life, we advise that they consult the Sumerian chronicles.  One such text, the Erra Epos, has this to say about Nergal’s atomic assault: “He dug through the (Dead) sea, its wholeness he divided. That which lives in it, even the crocodiles, he made wither.”

It was Nergal’s atomic and chemical blitz that occasioned a cessation of plant and animal life in the Dead Sea,  that caused it to extend southwards, and that accounts for those traces of radiation. Yet the number one reason the Dead Sea  was so ruined by Nergal was that it was  extremely rich with Ormus – the monoatomic white powder of gold which when  ingested either directly or through food grown in  Ormus-rich soil perfects bodily  health, boosts longevity,  and enables a penetrating understanding of spiritual and metaphysical subjects.

Marduk   had made the knowledge and use of Ormus available to all the Canaanites, the reason they became so prosperous and flourished in personal health. Poisoning the Dead Sea with chemical and nuclear bombs was intended to keep away humans from accessing the Ormus.

MATERIALISTIC LOT’S WIFE DISCARNATED IN NUCLEAR MAYHEM

Of the five “sinning cities” targeted by Nergal,  only one was spared. This was Zoar way south of Gomorrah. Zoar was not bombed because it was in that city Lot had sought refuge, in the surrounding wilderness. In Zoar, Lot was    with his two virgin daughters but minus his wife. His wife had returned to Sodom at some stage along the way to Zoar. She did so because she was hopeful she would survive whatever calamity would befall Sodom.

A multimillionaire by the standards of the day, Lot had departed Sodom  on the spur of the moment and had left all his riches there practically  intact. His wife still longed for those riches and decided against  the spirited dissuasion of her husband and her two daughters to return and take charge of the wealth damn the consequences. It was a costly mistake: when Nergal’s bombs rained down, she too was vapourised.

The Bible says she was turned to a pillar of salt (simply by looking back, which is absolute rubbish). But that is not the appropriate translation. The word translated salt is Nimur. Nimur denoted both salt and vapour and the biblical scribes chose salt because at their knowledge level, they just could not conceive of a nuclear bomb and how it could turn a human  being to vapour.  The term vapour occurs countless times in the Sumerian records in relation to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. “All that lived there to vapour  were turned,” says one such text.

Zechariah Sitchin explains the mistaken salt connotation thus:  “In a paper presented to the American Oriental Society in 1918 and in a follow-up article in Beitrage zur Assyriologie, Paul Haupt had shown conclusively that because the early sources of salt in Sumer were swamps near the Persian Gulf, the Sumerian term Nimur branched off to mean both salt and vapor. Because the Dead Sea has been called, in Hebrew, the Salt Sea,  the biblical Hebrew narrator probably misinterpreted the Sumerian term and wrote ‘pillar of salt’ when in fact Lot's wife became a ‘pillar of vapor’.”

The ancients in fact characterised a translated (that is, dead)  person as having turned to vapour.  “It is noteworthy,” writes Sitchin, “that in Ugaritic texts, such as the Canaanite tale of Aqhat (with its many similarities to the tales of Abraham) the death of a mortal by the hand of a god was described as the ‘escape of his soul as vapour, like smoke from his nostrils’. Indeed, in the Erra Epos,  which was the Sumerian record of the nuclear upheaval, the death of the people was described by the god thus: ‘The people I will make vanish, their souls shall turn to vapour’.” It was the misfortune of Lot's wife to be among those who were "turned to vapour". She apparently valued material possessions much more than her own life.  This Earth, My Brother …

NEXT WEEK:  THE NUCLEAR WOES OF SUMER

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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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