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Enki is Hero of “Great Calamity”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
Pro-mankind Anunnaki god saves lives as nuclear cloud rages then goes into seven-year hibernation to sleep over the abominable event

Both the upheavalling of Sodom and Gomorrah (by Nergal, Enki’s second-born son at the orders of Jehovah-Enlil) and the ravages of the “Evil Wind” in Sumer took place in 2024 BC.  The fateful year was the sixth of Sumer-Akkad ruler Ibbi-Sin, making him an ill-fated king in the greater scheme of things. Although practically all of Sumer was affected by the Evil Wind, the radioactive cloud that emanated from the nuclear bomb blitz on the five cities of Canaan’s Jordan plain, Ur and Uruk bore the harshest brunt.

Says the Uruk Lament text: “When the Evil Storm passed over, the people were piled up in heaps …  a  hush settled over Uruk like a cloak … The loyal citizens of Uruk were seized with terror … Mob panic was brought about in Uruk  … Its good sense was distorted." But it is Ur which is the most documented in the context of the Evil Wind in that it was the seat of the great god Nannar-Sin. The Lamentation Over the Destruction of Ur, a long poem of some 440 verses, is particularly graphic in its portrayal of the woes of the Cloud of Death.

“The city into ruins was made, the people groan … Its people, not potsherds, filled its ravines … In its lofty gates, where they were wont to promenade, dead bodies lay about … Where the festivities of the land took place, the people lay in heaps … The young were lying in their mothers' laps like fish carried out of the waters … The house has become a house of tears … The storm crushed the land, wiped out everything; it roared like a great wind over the land … The cultivated fields are not hoed, no seeds are implanted in the soil, no songs resound in the fields.”

Whereas in the past people would hasten to Sin’s temple-house to seek solace in times of hardship and distress, that simply was no longer the case: practically all the gods were nowhere to be seen. “Thus all its gods evacuated Ur. They kept away from it. They hid in the mountains. They escaped to the distant plains … Ur and its temples have been given over to the wind … The counsel of the land was dissipated … The song has been turned into weeping … Ur has been given over to tears.” Left in chaos, leaderless, and helpless, and as they gasped under a fog of nuclear “poison”, the people of Ur broke into the gods’ abode, temples, and shrines and angrily smashed their contents. “Why did the gods' benevolent eye look away?” they asked as they wailed and gnashed their teeth in anguish. “Who caused such worry and lamentation?"

Productive work came to a total standstill. “In the city's fields, there is no grain, gone is the fieldworker … The palm groves and vineyards, with honey and wine abounded, now bring forth mountain thorns.” Convinced that death was certain, that this was the apocalyptic end of the world, people no longer attached an abiding value to wealth of any guise. “Precious metals and stones, lapis lazuli, have been scattered about …”

In the countryside, both wild and domesticated animals were in dire straits. “On the steppe, cattle large and small become scarce, all living creatures come to an end." The domesticated animals, too, were left to their own devices.  "The sheepfolds have been delivered to the wind … The hum of the turning churn resounds not in the sheepfold …  The stalls provide not fat … In the storehouses that abounded in the land, fires were kindled …

The ox in its stable has not been attended, gone is its herdsman … The sheep in its fold has not been attended, gone is its shepherd boy … In the rivers of the city dust has gathered … Into fox dens they have become …”      Meanwhile, the “holy” city-state of Nippur was equally reeling. "On that day, on that single day: on that night, on that single night … the storm, in a flash of lightning created, the people of Nippur were left prostrate."

NANNAR-SIN TAKEN ILL, NINURTA’S WIFE IS NO MORE

Seized by fear and confusion, the gods were just as frenetic in their panic as their Earthling subjects. It was “each man for himself”: using sky vehicles or sea-borne vessels, they ventured  as far away from the vicinities of the Evil Wind as possible. The term “abandonment” features repeatedly in the lamentation texts. Nannar-Sin and his spouse Ningal abandoned Ur. Enlil, “the wild bull”, and his wife Ningal abandoned their temple-abode, the Ekur, at Nippur. Ninmah abandoned her city Issin.

Inanna, “the queen of Uruk”, abandoned her cult city. Ninurta forsook his Lagash-based temple, the Eninnu.    Evacuating from Issin, Ninmah “wept in bitter tears” as she jetted off. Nanshe, Enki’s smartest and soulful daughter, was inconsolable: as she departed, she cried over “my devastated city" as "her beloved dwelling place was given over to (the Evil Wind) misfortune".

But it is the equally recurrent phrase “gone by the wind” that is the more telling.  “Enlil has abandoned his temple … he was gone by the wind. Ninlil from her temple was gone by the wind. Nannar has abandoned Ur … his sheepfolds were gone by the wind”, and so on and so forth.  What was this “wind” that forced the gods to turn tail? It was the Evil Wind, the radioactive cloud that was precipitated by the nuclear blasts in Canaan.  

However, the haste with which the gods departed their respective cities was not uniform. At least three gods procrastinated, with the result that one god was taken gravely ill and another actually met her fate. These were Nannar-Sin and Bau, Ninurta’s wife, respectively.   
When Enki announced to fellow gods by way of radio communication that a death-carrying storm was on its way to Sumer, Sin and Ningal opted to stay put in their cult city Ur.

They vowed that they just could not abandon their people, their Earthling subjects. Instead, they appealed to Enlil to do his magic and either tame or divert the Evil Wind. Enlil told the couple they were out of their mind:  neither he nor the all-knowing Enki was capable of averting the looming disaster. The Evil Wind advanced not at the pace of a whirlwind but rather slowly, which made Nannar and Ningal somewhat complacent.  “Of that day I still tremble,” Ningal personally stated in a lamentation text she penned herself, “but of that day’s foul smell we did not flee.

As doomsday came,  a bitter lament was raised in Ur, but of its foulness we did not flee.” By the time the couple decided to stash themselves in a “termite house” (an underground chamber in their ziggurat), the damage was already done. Sin was already affected and was so acutely ill the couple finally capitulated: early the following morning, “when the storm was carried off from the city”,  they took off from Ur. Sin did eventually recover but he required round-the-clock  attention from the Anunnaki’s best physicians, who included Ninmah and Ningishzidda.

As the couple overflew Ur on their way out, Ningal wept at the gut-wrenching spectacle below her. "The people, like potsherds, filled the city's streets. In its lofty gates,  dead bodies were lying about. In its boulevards, where the feasts were celebrated, scattered they lay. In all of its streets, dead bodies were lying about. In its places where the land's festivities took place, the people lay in heaps.  The dead were not brought to burial: like fat placed in the sun, of themselves melted away.”

Ur and its temples had been “delivered to the Wind”. Bau, sadly, was not as fortunate as Sin. Trained as  a doctor, Bau had an abiding attachment with the people of Lagash,  who had a mutual affection for her and addressed her as “Mother Bau”.  She too was adamant that she was going to stay put in Lagash: she just could not leave “my people” to their own devices like her husband Ninurta, who was busy levelling the Sinai Peninsula with nuclear bombs, had. “On that day,” say the Lamentation texts,  “the storm caught up with the Lady Bau; as if she was a mortal, the storm caught up with her.” Days later, she was deceased from the effects of the Evil Wind. She was one of very few Anunnaki royals to die on planet Earth.  

ENKI CARRIES THE DAY AS EVIL WIND LASHES OUT

 Just as Sin, Ningal, and Bau were concerned about the fate of their Earthling subjects in the face of the dreaded Evil Wind, Enki and Marduk were too. Babylon, Marduk’s Sumerian base, happened to be just on the edge of the Evil Wind’s wide sweep. As the Evil Wind loomed large over Sumer, Marduk sent an urgent message to his father Enki as to what he and his people should do to keep its effects at the barest minimum since it was unavoidable.

Enki’s response was that the people of Babylon should head north and as they did so under no circumstances should they turn back or  look backwards lest they inhale the full force of the Evil Wind. In the event that the Evil Wind caught up with them in their onward march, they should seek shelter underground. “Get them into a chamber below the earth, into a darkness.”  Enki proceeded to advise that once the Evil Wind had run its course and the people returned to the city or resurfaced, they were not to eat any food grown from the soil or drink any beverage for a spell as these may have been “touched by the ghost” as the radioactive wind was dubbed.

Of the Anunnaki pantheon, only Enki and Marduk at the end of the day did not depart Sumer to escape the Evil Wind. And they got away with that for they had taken sufficient and timely precaution.  “The Lord of Eridu stayed outside his city.” He “took cover some distance away from the wind's path, yet close enough to be able to return to the city after the cloud had passed”. Quite a number of Eridu’s citizens hovered around Enki, “camping in the fields at a safe distance as they watched – for a day and a half – the storm ‘put its hand on Eridu’.”

But despite Enki’s spirited efforts to alert his people about the approaching poisonous storm, laggards did abound and therefore Eridu too had casualties. “After the evil-bearing storm went out of the city, sweeping across the countryside, Enki surveyed Eridu. He found a city smothered with silence … its residents stacked up in heaps … For the fate of his city, he wept with bitter tears.”  The survivors fell at his feet and wondered aloud why a city that was presided over by the mighty Enki had been “cursed, made like an alien territory!"

Using his scientific paraphernalia, Enki calculated that although the Evil Wind had dissipated, the city still was unsafe. As such, he led "those who have been displaced from Eridu to the desert, towards an inimical land,”   where he used his scientific knowledge to provide food (manna, the edible form of Ormus) and safe water.

SUMERIAN EVIL WIND HAS BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY BORNE OUT!

The advent of the Evil Wind practically marked the abrupt collapse of the Sumerian civilisation about 4000 years ago. Curious as to why Sumer and Akkad collapsed at such a time virtually in the twinkling of an eye just after the 3rd millennium BC wound to a close, archaeologists, geologists, and climatologists have in recent times teamed together to get to the bottom of the matter. They used radiological and chemical analysis analysis of dust layers of the Middle East of that period, more so of the Gulf of Oman. 

Their rather interesting findings were reported in n the scientific journal Geology in its April 2000 issue and in another scientific journal Science in its issue of 27 April 2001. The scientists concluded that “an unusual climate change in the areas adjoining the Dead Sea gave rise to dust storms and that the dust – an unusual ‘atmospheric mineral dust’ – was carried by the prevailing winds over southern Mesopotamia all the way beyond the Persian Gulf”. 

This was the very course of Sumer’s Evil Wind! The scientists attributed the unusual “fallout dust” to an “uncommon dramatic event that occurred near 4025 years before the present”. 4025 years prior calculated from 2024 BC gives us the year 2025 BC – barely different from 2024 BC, the year of the Sodom and Gomorrah atomic blasts!

Similarly, Science reported that  based on “evidence from Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria”, the  “widespread abandonment of the alluvial plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was due to dust storms commencing 4025 years before the present.  Again, this is precisely 2024 BC. The scientists did not explain or name the force that gave rise to the “dust storms” but the Sumerian records do: it was Nergal’s atomic blitz on the five “sinning cities” of Canaan. The Sumerian chronicles are not only legit folks: they are scientifically attested.   

ENKI IN SEVEN-YEAR HIBERNATION

Yet of the entire Anunnaki top brass, it was Enki who was the most psychologically affected by what he called the “Great Calamity” – the nuclear blasts and the resultant Evil Wind, both of which laid waste to millions of lives. Enki was so downcast and so upset that he decided to withdraw from all interaction with the broader society, gods and Earthlings alike, and become a recluse for seven years. The place he chose to sequester himself was an island on the River Nile in Egypt.

Throughout the entire seven years, he was never seen by a single living being. He concentrated wholly on pondering the total depravity of his fellow gods. He just couldn’t bring himself to understand how beings who were supposed to be at the pinnacle of creation could be so unconscionably evil and baser than the lowest forms of life.   

ENKI DECIDES TO DOCUMENT STORY OF GREAT CALAMITY

At the conclusion of the seven years and    precisely on February 17, 2017 BC,   Enki decided to resume contact with the world and there and then sent for a renowned scribe known as Endubasar, who was a directly descendant of his son Adapa and was based at Eridu.
“In the seventh year after the Great Calamity, in the second month, on the seventeenth day, I was summoned by my master the Lord Enki, great god, benevolent fashioner of Mankind, omnipotent and merciful,” Endubasar, who introduces himself as the master scribe of Eridu city, writes in a Sumerian tablet.  “I was among the remnants of Eridu who had escaped to the arid steppe (that is, seven years before) just as the Evil Wind was nearing the city.”

Endubasar had set out alone to gather twigs for firewood when a flying saucer suddenly swopped down on him.  “I looked up and lo and behold, a Whirlwind (UFO) came out of the south. There was a reddish brilliance (fiery hue) about it and it made no sound. And as it reached the ground, four straight feet spread out from its belly and the brilliance disappeared.” Cognizant of the fact that he had been visited by the gods – the Anunnaki – Endubasar straightaway took a devotional posture.

“I threw myself to the ground and prostrated myself, for I knew that it was a divine vision. And when I lifted my eyes, there were two divine emissaries (an Anunnaki deputation with a special message, called “angels” in the Bible) standing near me. And they had the faces of men, and their garments (airman’s uniform) were sparkling like burnished brass.”

What the two Anunnaki messengers  said to Endubasar was most unexpected. “And they called me by name and spoke to me, saying: you are summoned by the great god, the Lord Enki. Fear not, for you are blessed. And we are here to take you aloft, and carry you unto his retreat in the Land of Magan (Egypt), on the island (Abu Island) amidst the River of Magan (River Nile), where the sluices are.”

ENDUBASAR BEFORE THE GREAT GOD

It was the first time Endubasar had ridden in a sky vehicle and he was naturally overwhelmed by the occasion. But it was the grandeur of the great god’s courts and his sort of mystical presence that had Endubasar pass out from the shock of disbelief. “They let me down on the island at the gateway of the great god's abode. And the moment they let go of my hands, a brilliance as I had never seen before engulfed and overwhelmed me, and I collapsed on the ground as though voided of the spirit of life.

My life senses returned to me, as if awakened from the deepest sleep, by the sound of the calling of my name. I was in some kind of an enclosure. It was dark but there was also an aura. Then my name was called again, by the deepest of voices (that is, through the studio-like acoustics of a loud speaker). And although I could hear it, I could not tell whence the voice came, nor could I see whoever it was that spoke. And I said, here I am.”

For a while, there was pin-drop silence. Then the still invisible Enki spoke again. “Endubasar, offspring of Adapa, I have chosen you to be my scribe, that you write down my words on the tablets.” Things then proceeded at the press of a button. “And all at once, there appeared a glowing in one part of the enclosure. And I saw a place arranged like a scribal workplace: a scribe's table and a scribe's stool, and there were finely shaped stones upon the table. But I saw no clay tablets nor containers of wet clay. And there lay upon the table only one stylus, and it glistened in the glowing as no reed stylus ever did.”

NEXT WEEK:  NEW DAWN FOR ENKITES!

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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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