Connect with us
Advertisement

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!

Continue Reading

Columns

Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

A case can be made, General Atiku, that history’s most infamous Roman is Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who condemned Jesus, the  “Son of God”, to the most cruel, most barbaric,  and most excruciating of deaths – crucifixion –  and cowardly at that as the gospels attest for us.  

Yet the exact circumstances under which the crucifixion took place and what followed thereafter far from jells with what is familiarly known. The fact of the matter was that there was a lot of political wheeling and dealing and boldfaced corruption on the part both of the Jewish authorities and the Roman establishment in the person of Pontius Pilate.  In this piece, we attempt, General, to present a fuller photo of Pilate as the centre of the whole machination.

Pilate’s historicity, General, is not in doubt. In 1961, an Italian archeologist unearthed a limestone block at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which as of 6 AD was the Roman seat of government as well as the military headquarters.  The block bore the inscription, “Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated this Temple to the divine Augusti” (that is, then Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his wife Livia).

Pilate also gets varying degrees of mention in the works of Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD); the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and chronicler Philo of Alexandria (25 BC to 50 AD); and the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD).

Although his year of death (37 AD) is documented, his year of birth is a matter of conjecture, General. He came from the Pontii tribe (hence the name Pontius), a tough, warlike people. The Pontii tribe was of the equestrian class, the second-tier in the Roman caste system. Originally, the equestrians were those Romans with ample pocket power to bribe their way to knightly ranks in the Roman army. Pilate was born to Marcus Pontius, who had distinguished himself as a general in Rome’s military campaigns.

Following one of his particularly sterling military exploits, Marcus was awarded with the Pilum (javelin), a Roman decoration of honour for heroic military service.  To commemorate this medal of valour, the family took the name Pilati, rendered Pilate in English and Pilatus in Latin.

The son, Lucius Pontius Pilate, also distinguished himself as a soldier in the German campaigns of Germanicus, a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. Thanks to his scintillating military profile coupled with   strategic connections in the hierarchies of the Roman government, Pilate was able to wend his way into the heart of Claudia, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and ruler from 27 BC to 14 AD.

Claudia’s mother was Julia the Elder, who was also the biological mother of the apostles John and James. When Claudia was about 13 years of age, Julia sent her to Rome to be reared in the courts of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, to whom Julia was once married from 11 BC to 6 BC.

Although Tiberius was not the biological father of Claudius, General, he gladly acquiesced to being her foster father in deference to the memory of her late grandfather Caesar Augustus.
Pilate arrived in Rome when Claudia was sixteen years of age. In AD 26, the two tied the knot. Needless to say, it was a marriage based not on love as such but on political opportunism.

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

The high-placed connection who facilitated Pontius Pilate’s smooth landing into the inner sanctums of Rome’s royalty and put him on a pedestal that saw him take pride of place in the cosmic gallery of rogues was Aelius Sejanus. Like Pilate, Sejanus came from the subordinate equestrian class, who would never be eligible for a seat in the Senate, the legislative council of ancient Rome.

Sejanus, however, had over time become Emperor Tiberius’ most trusted lieutenant and to the point where he was the de facto prime minister.  He had been commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Special Forces unit created by Augustus Caesar as a personal security force, which developed under Sejanus’ command into the most significant presence in Rome.

In AD 26, the emperor was not even based in Rome: he had confined himself to the 10.4 km2 island of Capri, about 264 km from Rome, and left control of Rome and the government of the Roman Empire to Sejanus. It was Sejanus who recommended the appointment of Pilate as prefect, or governor/procurator of Judea. The appointment was pronounced right on the occasion of Pilate’s nuptials with Claudius.

Philo records that when the bridal party emerged from the temple where the marriage ceremony was celebrated and Pilate started to follow the bride into the imperial litter, Tiberius, who was one of the twelve witnesses required to attend the ceremony, held him back and handed him a document. It was the wedding present – the governorship of far-flung Judea – with orders to proceed at once to Caesarea Maritima to take over the office made vacant by the recall of Valerius Gratus.

Pilate was notified by Sejanus that a ship was in fact waiting upon him to transport him to Palestine right away. The only disadvantageous aspect about the assignment was that Pilate was to leave the shores of Rome alone, without the pleasure of spending a first night in the arms of his newly wedded wife: by imperial decree, the wives of governors were not allowed to accompany them in their jurisdictions. Pilate, however, was a royal by marriage and so this prohibition was waived. By special permission granted by His Imperial Majesty Tiberius Caesar, Claudia soon joined her husband in Judea. The wily Pilate had calculated well when he married into royalty.

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

The Judean perch was not prestigious though, General. The prefects of Judea were not of high social status. At least one – Felix, referenced by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles – was an ex-slave, which says a great deal on the low regard in which the province was held by Rome.

Pilate was only secondarily sent to Judea on account of having married into royalty: his posting to the volatile province stemmed, primarily, from his being of a inferior social pedigree. Be that as it may, Pilate relished the posting in that it gave him the chance to exercise power, absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and in Pilate was the archetypal example, General.

Pilate’s brief was simple: to collect taxes, maintain law and order, maintain infrastructure, and keep the population subdued. Although he was born lowly, he positively had the power of life and death over his Jewish subjects. Let us, General, listen to Josephus in his allusion to Coponius, Judea’s first Roman governor and who like Pilate was from the same subservient social class: “And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.”

Pilate, General, was callous to a point of being sadistic. He was scarcely the scrupling judge with the rare soft spot that we encounter in the gospels. Philo charges him with “corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, endless and intolerable cruelties”.

He further declares him to be a “savage, inflexible, and arbitrary ruler” who was of a “stubborn and harsh quality” and “could not bring himself to do anything that might cause pleasure to the Jews”. The essentially humane character of the Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels may not be wholly fictitious but is highly embellished, General.

Why did Pilate have such a pathological hatred of the Jews, General? Sejanus had more to do with it than the spontaneous leanings of his own nature. According to Philo, Sejanus hated the Jews like the plague and wished “to do away with the nation” – to exterminate it. In AD 19, for instance, he forced the Jews in Rome to burn their religious vestments and expelled them from the city without much ado.

For as long as Sejanus was in power, General, Pilate could do pretty much as he pleased. He didn’t have to worry about compromising reportage reaching the emperor as everything went through the implacably anti-Jewish Sejanus. Sejanus was unrivalled in power: golden statues of the general were being put up in Rome, the Senate had voted his birthday a public holiday, public prayers were offered on behalf of Tiberius and Sejanus, and in AD 31 Sejanus was named as Consul jointly with Tiberius.

The Judea posting also gave Pilate a golden opportunity to make money – lots of it. The governors of the Roman provinces were invariably rapacious, greedy, and incompetent: this we learn not only from Jewish historians of the day but from contemporary Roman writers as well such as Tacitus and Juvenal.

As long as the money skimmed from the provinces was not overly excessive, governors were allowed a free hand. It is said of Emperor Tiberius that, “Once he ordered a governor to reverse a steep rise in taxes saying, ‘I want my sheep shorn, not skinned’!” For those governors, such as Pilate, who had support from the very acmes of Roman power, General, they were practically a law unto themselves.

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

Pontius Pilate, General, was untrained in political office. Furthermore, he was a sycophant to the core who was prepared to go to any length in a bid to curry favour with and prove his loyalty to the powers that be in Rome.    Both these attributes gave rise to a series of blunders that brought him the intense hatred of the Jews.

The first abomination he committed in the eyes of the Jews, General, was to set up a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, which he called the Tiberieum, making him the only known Roman official to have built a temple to a living emperor.  True, Roman emperors were worshipped, but Tiberius was the one exception. According to the Roman scholar and historian Suetonius, Tiberius did not allow the consecration of temples to himself. Pilate’s act therefore, General, was an overkill: it was not appreciated at all.

Throughout his tenure, General, Pilate had a series of run-ins with the Jews, some of which entailed a lot of bloodshed and one of which sparked an insurrection that paved the way to Calvary. Then it all began to unravel, General. On October 18 AD 31, his patron Sejanus was summoned to the office of Emperor Tiberius and an angry denunciation was read out to him. It is not clear, General, what caused Sejanus’ fall from the emperor’s good graces but circumstantial evidence points to the perceived threat to the emperor’s power.

As the ancient historian Cassius Dio puts it, “Sejanus was so great a person by reason both of his excessive haughtiness and of his vast power that to put it briefly, he himself seemed to be the emperor and Tiberius a kind of island potentate, inasmuch as the latter spent his time on the island of Capri.”  Sejanus, hitherto the most powerful man in Rome, General, was thrown into a dungeon.

That same evening, he was summarily condemned to death, extracted from his cell, hung, and had his body given over to a crowd that tore it to pieces in a frenzy of manic excitement. His three children were all executed over the following months and his wife, Tiberius’ own daughter, committed suicide.  The people further celebrated his downfall by pulling his statues over.  Meanwhile, General, Tiberius began pursuing all those who could have been involved in the “plots” of Sejanus.

In Judea, Pilate, a Sejanus appointee, must have been badly shaken, General. Were his friends and family under suspicion? Would he be purged like others? Imperial attitudes to the Jewish race seemed to have changed now with the riddance of Sejanus. Tiberius made sure this was the case by appointing a new governor for Syria (who went by the title Legate and to whom Pilate was obligated to report).

The governor, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, arrived in Rome in AD 32. Philo records that Tiberius now “charged his procurators in every place to which they were appointed to speak comfortably to the members of our nation in the different cities, assuring them that the penal measures did not extend to all but only to the guilty who were few, and to disturb none of the established customs but even to regard them as a trust committed to their care, the people as naturally peaceable and the institution as an influence promoting orderly conduct.”

So Pilate, General, had lost his supporters at the top, his new boss was on his doorstep, and there had been a change of policy regarding the very people he was in charge of. Surely, he would have to watch his step. The fact of the matter, however, General, was that he hardly did so.  In November 32 AD, for instance, he provoked a mini-uprising by the Zealots led by Judas Iscariot, Theudas Barabbas, and Simon Zelotes. It was this revolt, General, that culminated in those three “crosses” of Calvary that are indelibly etched on the mind of every Christian.

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

Continue Reading

Columns

Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

Until as recently as the 1980s a career often meant a job for life within a single company or organisation. Phrases such as ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, ‘the glass ceiling’, ‘wage slave’ & ‘the rat race’ were thrown about, the analogies making clear that a career path was a toxic mix of a war of attrition, indentured drudgery and a Sisyphean treadmill.

In all cases you fought, grafted or plodded on till you reached retirement age, at which point you could expect a small leaving party, the promise of a pension and, oddly, a gift of either a clock or watch. The irony of being rewarded with a timepiece on the very day you could expect to no longer be a workday prisoner was apparently lost on management – the hands of time were destined to follow you to the grave!

Retirement was the goal at the end of the long, corporate journey, time on your hands – verifiable by your gifted time keeping device – to spend time working in the garden, playing with the grandchildren, enjoying a holiday or two and generally killing time till time killed you.

For some, retirement could be literally short-lived. The retirement age, and accompanying pension, was predicated on the old adage of three scores years and ten being the average life expectancy of man. As the twentieth century progressed and healthcare became more sophisticated, that former mean average was extended but that in itself then brought with it the double-edged sword of dementia. The longer people lived, the more widespread dementia became – one more life lottery which some won, some lost and doctors were seemingly unable to predict who would succumb and who would survive.

However, much research has been carried out on the causes of this crippling and cruel disease and the latest findings indicate that one of its root causes may lie in the former workplace – what your job entailed and how stimulating or otherwise it was. It transpires that having an interesting job in your forties could lessen the risk of getting dementia in old age, the mental stimulation possibly staving off the onslaught of the condition by around 18 months.

Academics examined more than 100,000 participants and tracked them for nearly two decades. They spotted a third fewer cases of dementia among people who had engaging jobs which involved demanding tasks and more control — such as government officers, directors, physicians, dentists and solicitors, compared to adults in ‘passive’ roles — such as supermarket cashiers, vehicle drivers and machine operators. And those who found their own work interesting also had lower levels of proteins in their blood that have been linked with dementia.

The study was carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Helsinki and Johns Hopkins University studying the cognitive stimulation and dementia risk in 107,896 volunteers, who were regularly quizzed about their job.  The volunteers — who had an average age of around 45 — were tracked for between 14 and 40 years.  Jobs were classed as cognitively stimulating if they included demanding tasks and came with high job control. Non-stimulating ‘passive’ occupations included those with low demands and little decision-making power.

4.8 cases of dementia per 10,000 person years occurred among those with interesting careers, equating to 0.8 per cent of the group. In contrast, there were 7.3 cases per 10,000 person years among those with repetitive jobs (1.2 per cent). Among people with jobs that were in the middle of these two categories, there were 6.8 cases per 10,000 person years (1.12 per cent).

The link between how interesting a person’s work was and rates of dementia did not change for different genders or ages.Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, from UCL, said: ‘Our findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of mental stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had experienced low mental stimulation. This suggests the average delay in disease onset is about one and half years, but there is probably considerable variation in the effect between people.’

The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, also looked at protein levels in the blood among another group of volunteers. These proteins are thought to stop the brain forming new connections, increasing the risk of dementia. People with interesting jobs had lower levels of three proteins considered to be tell-tale signs of the condition.

Scientists said it provided ‘possible clues’ for the underlying biological mechanisms at play. The researchers noted the study was only observational, meaning it cannot establish cause and that other factors could be at play. However, they insisted it was large and well-designed, so the findings can be applied to different populations.

To me, there is a further implication in that it might be fair to expect that those in professions such as law, medicine and science might reasonably be expected to have a higher IQ than those in blue collar roles. This could indicate that mental capacity also plays a part in dementia onset but that’s a personal conclusion and not one reached by the study.

And for those stuck in dull jobs through force of circumstance, all is not lost since in today’s work culture, the stimulating side-hustle is fast becoming the norm as work becomes not just a means of financial survival but a life-enhancing opportunity , just as in the old adage of ‘Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work another day in your life’!

Dementia is a global concern but ironically it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age and is the second biggest killer in the UK behind heart disease, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. So here’s a serious suggestion to save you from an early grave and loss of competencies – work hard, play hard and where possible, combine the two!

Continue Reading

Columns

The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

The gospels which were excluded from the official canon, the New Testament, at the Council of Nicaea are known as the Apocrypha. One of these Apocryphal works, General Atiku, is the gospel of Phillip.  In this gospel, the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is openly discussed thus:

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.  The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said unto him, why do you love her more than all of us? The Saviour answered and said to them, why do   I not love you like her? … Great is the mystery of marriage, for without it the world would never have existed. Now, the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.”

It is clear from the above statement, General, that Jesus held marriage in high regard because he himself was part and parcel of it.  The disciples (that is, most of them) were offended not because he and Mary were an item but because they simply did not approve of her as she was a Gentile and a commoner.

Otherwise, the kissing was not offensive at all: it was a customary expression of mutual affection between the sacred bride and groom. This we gather from the prototypically romantic Old Testament text known as The Song of Solomon, which opens with the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”  As the Davidic groom, Jesus was therefore entitled to kiss Mary Magdalene as his bride.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

In September AD 30, General Atiku, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had their First Marriage ceremony. Jesus had turned 36 in that year, the appropriate marriage age for a Davidic heir, and September was the holiest month in the Jewish calendar.  Having been born irregularly himself (in the wrong month of the year because of his father Joseph’s intransigence), Jesus was determined that he himself follow the law to the letter so that his child would not suffer the same indignities as he did. The First Marriage is captured in LUKE 7:35-50.

The marriage took place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. This, General, was another name for Simon Zelotes, the stepfather of Mary Magdalene. Although Mary Magdalene is not directly named, she is described as a “sinner”. This was another term for Gentiles, as in the eyes of the Jewish God, they were unregenerate and therefore hopeless sinners.  Mary Magdalene, whose mother Helena-Salome was of Syrian origin (Syro-Phoenicia to be specific), was a Gentile.

On the occasion, Mary Magdalene performed three acts on Jesus as set out in LUKE 7:38. She wept; kissed his feet; and anointed him with ointment. This is what a bride was supposed to do to her groom as clearly evinced in The Song of Solomon, a series of love poems concerning a spouse and her husband the King.

Of the three rites, perhaps it is the weeping that require elucidation, General. This was at once symbolic and sentimental.  The First Marriage was simply a ceremony: the moment the ceremony was over, the husband and wife separated, that is, they lived apart until the month of December, when they came together under one roof.  This was in accord with Essene stipulations for dynastic marriages, that is, those of the Davidic Messiah and the priestly Messiah.

Prior to the First Marriage, the bride was known as an Almah, meaning a betrothed Virgin. After the First Marriage ceremony, the Almah was demoted to a Sister. This was because the ensuing three-month separation meant husband and wife would not indulge in sexual activity and so the wife was as good as a sister to her husband. The imagery of Sister also being a wife is seen in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:5, where the apostle Paul refers to his wife as Sister. In ACTS 23:16, Paul’s wife is again referred to as his Sister.

Now, when the Almah became a Sister, General, she was metaphorically called a Widow, because she was being separated  from her newly wedded husband. As such, she was expected to symbolically weep on account of this separation. That explains why Mary Magdalene had to weep at her first wedding. It is a pity, General, that most Christians and their clergy miss the real story so wrongly indoctrinated are they.

In December AD 30, Jesus moved in with Mary Magdalene to consummate the marriage. It was hoped that Mary would fall pregnant so that in March the following year, a Second (and final) Marriage ceremony would be held.  Sadly, conception did not take place. According to Essene dynastic procreational rules, the couple had to separate again. They would reunite in December AD 31 for another try at conception.

The reason they separated was because for a dynastic heir, marriage was purely for procreation and not for recreational sex. But even that year, General, Mary did not fall pregnant, necessitating another year-long separation. What that meant was that Mary would be given one more last chance – in December AD 32, by which time Jesus would have been 38.  If she did not conceive this time around, the marriage would come to an end through a legal divorce and Jesus would be free to seek a new spouse.

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

In December 32, Mary Magdalene, General, finally conceived. When Jesus was crucified therefore in April 33 AD, his wife was three months pregnant. By this time, the Second Marriage ceremony, the final one, had already taken place, this being in March. The Second Marriage is cursorily related in MATTHEW 26:6-13; MARK 14:3-9; and JOHN 12:1-8.The John version reads as follows:

“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where was Lazarus, who had died, whom he raised out of the dead; they made, therefore, to him a supper there, and Martha was ministering, and Lazarus was one of those reclining together (at meat) with him; Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.

Therefore said one of his disciples – Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who was about to deliver him up – ‘Therefore was not this ointment sold for three hundred denaries, and given to the poor?’ and he said this, not because he was caring for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and what things were put in he was carrying. Jesus, therefore, said, ‘Suffer her; for the day of my embalming she has kept it, for the poor you have always with yourselves, and me you have not always.’”

This story (also see JOHN 11:1-44) centres on four people primarily, General. They are Jesus; Lazarus; Mary; and Martha. “Mary” was actually Mary Magdalene.  “Martha” was a titular name for her mother, Helena-Salome.  In the Lazarus story, the two ladies are referred to as “sisters”. This denotes conventual sisters, like the Catholics refer to conventual nuns, and not sisters by blood. Helena-Salome actually headed a nunnery. By the same token, the reference to Lazarus as “brother” has a connotation akin to what Pentecostals refer to as “Brother in Christ”.

Thus, the story revolves around Jesus the groom; his bride Mary Magdalene; his father-in-law Simon Zelotes; and his mother-in-law Helena-Salome. This is a family affair folks, which provides strong hints as to the exact relationship between Jesus and Mary. The raising from the dead of a man called Lazarus, sadly, was not a miracle at all:  it was a ceremonial restoration from excommunication back to the Essene governing council, which comprised of Jesus and his so-called 12 disciples.

The “Lazarus” who was thus restored was actually Simon Zelotes, at the time the most “beloved” by Jesus of the entire apostolic band, who had been demoted under circumstances relating to a Zealot uprising against Pontius Pilate.  More will be said on the subject at a later stage.

The anointing of Jesus by Mary with “spikenard”, General, harps back to ancient married rituals as patently demonstrated in The Song of Solomon. This was the second time Mary had anointed Jesus, first at the First Marriage in September AD 30 AD and now at the Second Marriage in March 32 AD. On both occasions, Mary anointed Jesus whilst he sat at table.

In SONG OF SOLOMON 1:12, the bride says, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”.  The anointing in the gospels was therefore an allusion to the ancient rite whereby a royal bride prepared her groom’s table. Only as the wife of Jesus and as a priestess in her own right could Mary Magdalene have anointed both the feet and head of Jesus.

The anointing in effect had two purposes: first, to seal the marriage, and second, to officially announce to the Jewish nation that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah (and not his younger brother James, who had been so promoted by John the Baptist).  It all harped back to the tradition in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where Kings or Pharaohs were anointed for office (in their case with crocodile fat) by their half-sister brides.

The King’s bride actually kept the anointment substance for use for one more time – when the King died. You can now understand, General, why Jesus said “the day of my embalming she has kept it” in reference to his anointing by Mary Magdalene and why the first person to feature at the tomb of Jesus was none other than Mary Magdalene!

Three passages in the Lazarus story     (in JOHN11: 1-44) are particularly telling.  They are Verses 20, 28, and 29. They read as follows: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house … After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. ‘The Master is here,’ she told her, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him.”  The reason Mary (Magdalene) first kept her place before proceeding to meet Jesus, General, is not supplied in the Johannine gospel.

However, the Apocryphal document which has come to be known as The Secret Gospel of Mark sheds more light, General.  It explains that on the first occasion, Mary did come out to meet Jesus along with her mother Martha (Helena-Salome) but upon being rebuked by the disciples of Jesus, she repaired back to the house. Why was she lashed out at, General? Because according to the Essene matrimonial code, she was not permitted to come out of her own accord and greet her husband: she was to wait until he had given her express permission to emerge.

There is yet another element in the conduct of Mary Magdalene that has parallels with Solomon’s queen, General. In the back-and-forth romantic dialogue between the couple, the queen is referred to as a “Shulamite” (SONG OF SOLOMON 6:13). The Shulamites were from the Syrian border town of  Solam and we have already seen that Mary’s first foster father, Syro the Jairus, was a Syrian, as was her mother Helena-Salome.

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

The marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene was vehemently opposed by most of his so-called disciples. The most vociferous on this position, General, was Judas Iscariot. The writer of the John gospel characterises Judas as a “thief” who used to pilfer alms money but that is a smear.  The gospels were written post-eventual and therefore Judas’ name was already in ignominy.

His detractors therefore had a field day at sullying his character. Yet prior to the betrayal, Judas Iscariot, General, was one of the most respected figures among the Essene community. At the time of Jesus’ marriage, Judas was the second-highest ranking Essene after Simon Zelotes (that is the meaning of “Judas of Simon” in the passage quoted above, meaning “Judas the deputy of Simon”): Jesus was third, although politically he was the seniormost.

Judas opposed the marriage on grounds, primarily, that Mary Magdalene was not only a Gentile but a commoner. Judas had the right to pronounce on Jesus’ marriage because it was he who was in charge of the Essene’s order of Dan, to which Mary Magdalene belonged prior to her marriage to Jesus and therefore had the right whether to release her for marriage or retain her in the convent. Judas would rather the spikenard (the most expensive fragrance of the day, the reason it was only used by queens) was sold and the money generated donated to the Essene kitty (“the poor” was another name for Essenes: when Jesus in the Beatitudes said “blessed are the poor”, he was not referring to you and me: he meant the Essenes).

Sadly General, as high-standing as he was, Judas had no right of veto over the marriage of a Davidic heir: only Simon Zelotes had by virtue of his position as the Essene’s Pope. Simon Zelotes was Mary Magdalene’s step-father and there was no way he was going to stand in the way of the marriage of his own daughter. Moreover, Jesus had already begun to fancy himself as Priest-King.

As far as he was concerned therefore, he was at once the Davidic Messiah and the Priestly Messiah – the Melchizedek. Thus even if Simon Zelotes had perchance objected to the marriage, Jesus would have gone ahead with it anyway. It was Jesus’ highly unpopular appropriated role as the Melchizedek, General, that set him on the path to Calvary.

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!