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The Truth About Jacob and Esau

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

They were not twins but siblings with different mothers

Not long after the birth of Ishmael and long before Isaac was born, Jehovah-Enlil, now strictly the principal god of the Jews,   issued a decree to Abraham to the effect that he should institute the rite of circumcision. The following is what Enlil said as per GENESIS 17:10-14:
“This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.  You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.  

Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring. Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.  Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Circumcision, so said Enlil, was to be the mark of a covenant between he and the Jewish people. It would be the fundamental sign that the Jews were Enlil’s chosen people. Any Jew who was not circumcised was automatically excluded from the fold of “God’s People”. The fact that Enlil chose to covenant in this manner meant circumcision was a novelty: it was the very first time mankind would be subjected to this form of genital mutilation and that made it special.

In due course, other nations, such as the Egyptians, would practice circumcision too but in their case it would be optional rather than mandatory and for hygienic purposes only, conducted at puberty and not during infancy as is typically the practice among some Bantu cultures today. Why did Enlil choose circumcision as the basis of his apotheotic compact with the Jews?  And why did he demand that it be administered at the time when one was literally fresh from their mother’s womb?

RAISON DE TRE FOR THE INSTITUTION OF CIRCUMCISION

First, we know by now that the Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods, who were Aliens to this planet, differed from us in several respects. One of these was that unlike us, they were born with a penis without a foreskin – already circumcised by nature! The Anunnaki “created” us by blending their own genes with that of Homo Erectus, our hominid (ape-like) ancestor everybody who has been to high school is familiar with.  It is from Homo Erectus we inherited a sheath that “clothes” the whole penis when it is in a flaccid state.

It is probable that had Homo Erectus been allowed to run his evolutionary course in full, his foreskin would have permanently retracted to permanently expose the glans penis (penis tip) since a foreskin was a natural safeguard against injury to the glans penis as Homo Erectus moved through dense, tall grass, which could be prickly,  in an erect and therefore very susceptible posture   

 A case can be made, therefore, that Enlil’s imposition of circumcision on his chosen people was meant to make them look like their god down under! He desired that as his elite sheep, the Jews should have something much more intimate in common with him. Second, CIRCUMCISION WAS LIKELY A PURELY SYMBOLIC GESTURE THAT IDENTIFIED JEWS WITH PLANET EARTH ITSELF. In other words, circumcision was the Mark of Earth that was etched on the body of “God’s Own People”. It was like Enlil was saying to the Jews that, “Blessed are you, for you shall inherit the Earth”. How do we so deduce?

Once again, you need not be reminded that Earth was originally a part of the primordial planet known as Tiamat, which lay between Jupiter and Mars. In the famous “Celestial Battle”of 4 billion years ago, Nibiru, then a new immigrant to the Solar System, smashed into Tiamat and split it into a merry-go-round train of drifting debris we today call the Asteroid Belt and one intact piece which was slung-shot into a new orbit and became our beloved Earth. In figurative terms, we may say Tiamat was circumcised, with the Asteroid Belt being the foreskin that was cleaved off and Earth being the residual appendage.  

A clue to what circumcision symbolised can be gleaned from the original term that is translated “circumcise” in Genesis. This is MUL. When Jews were circumcised, they were “MUL-ED”. It is telling that Earth’s full name in the Sumerian language was “MUL-KI”, meaning “a cleaved off landmass”, or figuratively, a “circumcised celestial body”.  It is a pity that the prefix MUL is frequently ignored in ancient records  so that Earth is, in compound words basically (such as KISIRI, meaning “Mineral Resource Centre”),  simply referred to as KI, or GE in modern spelling, which is GAEA (Eke-Ea) or GAIA in full.

Earth was Enlil’s celestial counterpart, even after Marduk became the new Lord of Earth. Thus by having the Jews circumcised, or “MUL-KED”, Enlil was symbolically vesting the planet in them so to speak. Remember, these are the same people he had dubbed a “Royal Priesthood”. To him, they were a nation of priests fully at his service.
 
THE MARVEL OF THE EIGHTH DAY FACTOR!

In our day, circumcision for a non-Jew is done purely for hygiene purposes. Did you know that every male member of the British royal family undergoes circumcision performed by a Jewish mohel (a Jew who administers the rite of circumcision)? It is common knowledge that Prince Charles was circumcised by Rabbi Jacob Snowman, then the official mohel of London’s Jewish community. One authority on the subject puts the desirability of circumcision in perspective thus:

“In every part of the body, the skin is flush with the layers below it, thus shielding against the intrusion of various types of bacteria. Only with regards to the foreskin, however, does the opposite apply – it actually engenders a significant increase in disease-causing bacteria, spores, and fungus. The skin of the foreskin is not securely flush with the corona, and the small gap near the head of the male member allows various infectious agents to enter the empty space. This warm, dark and moist area is highly susceptible to the cultivation of germs and infectious disease. Removal of the foreskin allows the area to be maintained in a hygienic and safe manner.”

But it is the insistence on the part of Enlil that the circumcision be performed on the 8th day of the baby’s birth we find intriguing. This edict by the God of the Jews turns out to be physiologically spot-on. The Anunnaki were no dunderheads folks: they were very well-grounded medically. A Professor of Pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem had this to say in an article titled PROBLEMS WITH BLOOD CLOTTING AND BLEEDING IN NEWBORNS:

“In the first days after birth, the liver is not yet developed enough to survive any surgical operations, which could cause massive bleeding and lead to the death of the newborn, whose body simply does not have the ability to stop the blood flow on its own. Physiologically, until the eighth day, the liver slowly develops, until on the eighth day itself, when it is mature enough to fulfill its role to create the clots necessary to stop bleeding.”

Blood clotting is dependent on three substances, namely platelets, prothrombin, and Vitamin K.  The first two are produced by the liver, whereas Vitamin K is produced in the intestinal tract. On the 8th day, all three are at their peak. It is the only time in the life of a human being that the three are 110 percent of their normal levels. Post- the 8th day, they plummet to 100 percent or below and will never go beyond the 100 percent ceiling at any other stage of one’s life.

What that means is that the 8th DAY IS THE PERFECT DAY TO PERFORM A CIRCUMCISION AS BLOOD CLOTTING SUBSTANCES, WHICH FACILITATE HEALING, ARE AT THEIR MAXIMUM EVER. Prior to the 8th day, a small cut to any part of the baby’s body could entail serious damage to the internal organs, especially the brain, and therefore may be life-threatening. The 8th day is the earliest and safest day medically for circumcision to take place.  

BASEBORN ISAAC SUCCEEDS ABE AS HYKSO PHARAOH

If Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son was born in 2046 BC, as seems plausible, it meant Abraham, who was born in 2123 BC, was 77 years old at the time. It was unusual for dynastic men to wait for so long before they sire a heir. They were actually expected to have a heir by age 30 or by 40 if they were late. Even in our day, Prince Charles had William at age 34 and William himself had Prince George at age 31.  

But human beings are not robots: once in a while, they do break with tradition for one reason or the other. For example, Zechariah had John the Baptist when he was “advancing in age”, which in those days could mean he was 40 years and above. Joseph, who was born in 44 BC, had Jesus at age 51 years of age in 7 BC. Both had valid reasons for procreating unusually belatedly. Zechariah was too busy with his ecclesiastical duties as the Zadokite priest at the Qumran temple.

Joseph had at age 30 been commissioned by Qumran’s Essene community to market the Davidic bloodline to the Diaspora Jews in Rome and Alexandria. This was in order to assure them that the bloodline was alive and kicking and so they should not tire in lending it material support for the eventual takeover of Palestine from the usurpist Romans.  It was not until 8 BC that the Essene community demanded that both Joseph and Zechariah produce heirs so as to perpetuate the Davidic (royal) and Zadokite (priestly)  lines in light of their age.

In the case of Abraham, he was not in a hurry to produce a heir. Firstly, he did adopt Lot following the death of Haran, his older brother and Lot’s father, circa 2099 BC. So for as long as Lot was alive, Abraham was not without heirs. Second, it is probable that Abraham did have daughters before he had Ishmael. He was therefore quite busy under the sheets. Then in 2046 BC, he had Ishmael by his new Egyptian wife Hagar, and in 2045 Isaac arrived too. But Isaac as we have explained was not his biological son: he was the son of the black Pharaoh Mentuhotep I of southern Egypt, who had hitched Sarah when Abraham strategically introduced her as his sister and not his wife. 

Isaac therefore was what we would today call a coloured since Sarah, a Hykso-Hebrew, was white skinned. Indeed, the Talmud, which the Jews regard as only second in religious  authority after the Old Testament, states it categorically that the nobility poured scorn on Abraham when at a special banquet he introduced Isaac as his son.  Certainly, the fact that Isaac was not Abraham’s son was public knowledge.

There’s yet another strong clue that Isaac was of a stigmatic birth. Genesis relates that Sarah had Hagar and her son Ishmael banished from the royal palace when she saw Ishmael “mocking Isaac”. Of course the mocking must have been something really outrageous for Sarah to resort to such a measure. Ishmael must have been told by her mother that Isaac was not her real brother as he was somebody else’s son and not Abraham’s. With typical childish mischief, Ishmael took to deriding Isaac over the matter and when Sarah overhead him, she was incandescent with rage. Hell must have broken loose at the palace in northern Egypt.    

Sarah was irate because the bigamous marriage with Mentuhotep that gave rise to Isaac was not of her own desire: it was all part of a noble plan for Abraham to seize the throne of Egypt as a whole and of which Sarah was like any obedient spouse heedful.  So to suggest that Isaac was the product of infidelity on her part was grossly unfair. Abraham indeed did synpathise and side with his wife over the Ishmael profanity considering that Hagar and her son never returned to the palace after that. They did not  become the destitutes Genesis portrays them as though: Hagar was a scion of the Egyptian nobility and there was simply no way she could end up living a rootless, vagrant  life.  

It  was Isaac who succeeded Abraham as Pharaoh Mehibire II though exactly when that happened we cannot be sure. Abraham died in 1948 BC, aged 175 years, but by that time, he had long abdicated as Pharaoh. Isaac was 97  in 1948 BC. Note that the patriarchs lived much longer than commoners largely because they partook of Ormus and that they had a significant proportion of Anunnaki blood in them.  They therefore aged very slowly.        

JACOB IS CROWNED AS HYKSO PHARAOH

Long before Isaac became Pharaoh, he had married an Egyptian wife (most likely a cousin on the mother’s side), just as his father Abraham had married Hagar. But a Hykso Pharaoh was under obligation to wed a fellow Hebrew spouse by whom to raise heirs. This was typically a half-sister. In the case of Isaac, it should have been a daughter of Hagar or Keturah, the latter of whom was Abraham’s third wife. Since Hagar was ejected from the palace, she was deprived of the chance of having another child with Abraham. Even if she had, her daughter would not have qualified as she would have been an Egyptian on her mother’s side. Remember, heirs arose through the mother, not the father. As for Keturah, she only had sons with Abraham, six in all.

With his son’s options being so limited, Abraham arranged for Isaac to marry Rebecca. Rebecca was a pure Hebrew: in her veins flowed the blood of  Abraham’s older brother Haran (her great-uncle); Abraham’s younger brother Nahor (her grandfather);  Haran’s daughter Milcah (her grandmother); and Nahor and Milcah’s son Betheul (her father). Rebecca lived at Harran, then the domicile town of the Abrahamic clan: indeed, the annals of the Assyrian kings, describing their conquests and domains in the Harran area, identify by name a city named after  Nahor and another one named after Laban, a brother of Rebecca.

Being two generations removed from Isaac, Rebecca was the equivalent of a granddaughter to Isaac age-wise and so was very, very young on her marriage. Now, if we are to take the Genesis line on face value, Isaac had twins with  Rebecca, namely Esau and Jacob. That, sadly, is a manufactured story. ESAU AND JACOB WERE NOT TWINS, NOR WHERE THEY BORN TO THE SAME MOTHER. Esau was the firstborn and he was born to Isaac’s first wife, an Egyptian woman. It was Jacob who was born to Rebecca.  Circumstantial evidence to the effect that Esau was an Egyptian abounds.

First, we know that Esau’s descendants were Edomites, who are Arabs. And who did Esau choose for his first wife? It was Basemath, the daughter of Ishmael, the father of the Arab race. It seems Esau and Ishmael contrived to engender their own race. Second, the way Esau is characterised at birth is a resounding tell-tale. He had red hair and a generally hairy body. THESE CHARACTERISTICS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS APPEARANCE: IT ALL WAS  CODED LANGUAGE THAT HE WAS A PRETENDER TO THE PHARAONIC THRONE OF NORTHERN EGYPT.

The pharaonic seat of northern Egypt was known as  the Red Crown, Djesher-t in Egyptian, a word that connoted red. If Esau had been Isaac and Rebecca’s son, he no doubt would have inherited the Hykso throne after Isaac since he was older than Jacob. Being none of the above, he was obliged to give way to Jacob, who duly qualified in that he was Hebrew having been mothered by the bloodline brood mare in Rebecca.

It is clear, therefore, that the Genesis story of a famished Esau selling his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of tasty stew  is a pathetic and unsophisticated attempt at explaining why Jacob was the one entitled to the Hykso throne. Jacob did not wrest  the inheritance from, or cajole it off Esau: he congenitally merited it.  The Talmud affirms this state of affairs, when it says all Esau inherited from Isaac’s estate were domesticated animals: the kingdom (northern Egypt and potentially all  the lands up to the river Euphrates)  he “gave” to Jacob.  

Jacob was crowned as Pharaoh Yakuber of northern Egypt in 1865 BC, when Isaac died at age 180 years, although he had  been co-regent with his aged father for some time. His coronation was not  without polemics though as Esau’s Egyptian constituency, which was quite formidable, thought Esau had been robbed of the throne. They never recognized Jacob as their pharaoh. In fact, Esau launched a war of words against Jacob in the months leading up to the coronation in a desperate but vain attempt at thwarting his accession.

0Y00akuber was what Jacob was known  to the Egyptians. To the Hyksos, he was called I-Sira-El, or simply Israel, meaning “El’s Shield”or “God’s Rampart”.  This was a name he was given by the Enlilite god Nannar-Sin, who was known as El in Canaan, his main fiefdom after Ur and Haran. Why is it that of all the four Hykso pharaohs to date (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob) only Jacob was designated as  God’s Rampart?0

NEXT WEEK:   END OF HYKSO ERA

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Honesty – a fundamental human characteristic

12th October 2021

“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (the Day of Judgment)”.  These are the words of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).  They paint a picture of the time leading up to the Day of Judgement, when righteous people will be sorrowful due to the lack of honesty around them. 

Influence of materialism

Honesty, like morality, is an in built and essential characteristic of every human but the influence of materialism and the greed and desire for status, position, fame, wealth, etc. have wreaked havoc in human society, to an extent never seen before. In the 21st century, we live in a world where honesty is less valued than ever before and in fact even shunned at times.  We expect people to be honest in their dealings with us yet we ourselves promote deceit and dishonesty through our action and speech on a daily basis.  Many of us even watch and applaud television shows and movies that promote and encourage lying, infidelity and deceitfulness.

Desire for worldly gain

In the corporate world, ‘deceitful’ statements and figures are announced and pronounced to lure investors, glamorous yet deceitful adverts to attract customers, etc. have all become the norm and honesty goes out of the window. Even in the media industry, honesty seems to be waning very rapidly. Let alone the due regard of one’s conscience but without a second thought or due consideration of the rights of the others, stories are churned out with so-called “sensational” add-ons, etc. simply for the sake of being the “first” to break the news or for the sake of having the “best” story or maybe even for the sake of just having increased an readership or viewership.

Thoughtless individual behaviour

Without thinking, we indirectly teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable.  When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, this is a lesson in deceit.  When we answer the cellphone and say that we are busy in a meeting yet we very much relaxed and free, or we say we are out of town yet we are at home, etc. we are being blatantly dishonest. When we refuse to settle our debts and dues making all sorts of pretences, we are actually lying.  We admonish and reprimand our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers.  Whether we tell lies, or whether we allow our children to live in a world surrounded by deceit, the lesson is learned and the honesty begins to disappear from the hearts of people – in particular the next generation.

Integrity and reliability

We must understand that honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thought, words, actions and relationships.  It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness, it denotes integrity or moral soundness.  Belief in God Almighty commands truthfulness and forbids lying.  In the Holy Quran, God Almighty commands that humans be honest: “O you who believe!  Be conscious of God Almighty, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Ch  9 : v 119). A renowned Holy Quran scholar explained the meaning of this verse.  He said, “Being truthful and adhering to truthfulness, means you will be among the people of the truth (by speaking and behaving in a truthful manner) and be saved from calamity and that is what will really make a way out for you from your problems (in the long run)”.

Honesty and truthfulness go hand in hand

A true Believer, one who is truly submitted to God, has many characteristics by which he/she can be identified.  The most obvious of these noble characteristics are honesty of character and truthfulness of speech.  Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was a perfect example of honesty.  The records of history clear show that even before he was bestowed Prophet hood by The Almighty, he had earned the titles of “As Saadiq” (the truthful) and “Al Ameen” (the trustworthy one), within the community. They had full trust in his honesty and integrity to such a degree that they would accept anything he said. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), once gathered all the people of Makkah at the base of Mount Safa and asked them, “O people of Makkah!  If I say to you that an army is advancing on you from behind the mountains, will you believe me?”  All said in one voice, “Yes, because we have never heard you telling a lie.”  All the people, without exception, swore to his truthfulness and honesty because he had lived an unblemished and extremely upright life among them up to that point in time – for forty years.

Honesty in a comprehensive manner

This honesty, an essential ingredient of the human character, includes being truthful towards God by worshipping Him sincerely; being truthful to oneself, by adhering to God’s laws; and being truthful with others by speaking the truth and being honest in all dealings, such as buying, selling, social interaction, marriage,etc.  There should be no deceiving, cheating, falsifying or withholding of information, thus a person should be the same on the inside as he/she is on the outside.

Prophetic teachings

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) informed us of the great benefits of living in an honest and truthful way and warned us of the dangers inherent in dishonesty and falsehood.  He said: “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise.  In addition, a person keeps on telling the truth until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very truthful person.  And falsehood leads to wickedness (and evil-doing), and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire. In addition, and a person keeps on telling lies until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very great liar”.

For those who wish to be among the truthful, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has left us with these words of guidance, “Let he who believes in God and the Last Day either speak good or (otherwise) remain silent”.

A successful, vibrant society is based upon honesty and justice, and is intolerant of dishonesty in all its various forms.  The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) exhorted the faithful to be scrupulously honest in all their social dealings, business transactions, etc. at all times.

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A Sham of a Trial

12th October 2021

Verdict a foregone conclusion as Pilate is bought

Although the interrogation of  Jesus in a joint hearing by Annas and Caiaphas was not a trial, General Atiku, it was more or less conducted along the lines of a trial.

Jesus had a defending witness. This was one of  his disciples, Bartholomew, whose real name was John Marcus. Apparently, Jesus was allowed only one such witness. Besides his principal accuser, the turncoat Judas Iscariot, there were a number of witnesses who testified against him. The gospels  refer to them as false witnesses but this is probably an exaggeration: they simply misunderstood some of his statements largely because he tended to use allegorical language, which could be properly interpreted only by Gnostics. On occasion, he chose to be deliberately ambiguous, as when he said, “Do to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God.”

The crux of the matter  was whether there was anything in his conduct that could associate him with the Zealots. For example, he was accused of harbouring and voicing designs to destroy the Jerusalem Temple within “three days”. The Zealots did band about such threats, General. In truth, what they sought to destroy it was the Temple establishment – the priesthood and the Herodian Sadducees. The perception was that these somewhat benefitted from Roman patronage. Thus, if Jesus did instigate doing way with the Temple establishment by foul and crook, this could obviously not sit well with Annas and Caiaphas, both of whom belonged to this clique. But Jesus’ words had been taken out of context. In Gnostic language, the Temple (the correct translation should be “palace”  as the Jewish word for temple and palace is the same)   was the human body because it housed the real being – the spirit-soul. So what Jesus was saying to those who wished him ill, General, was that even if they physically killed him, his soul would continue to live (a person can be clinically dead but at the etheric level, he is irreversibly dead only after three days). Clearly, General, he was grossly misunderstood.

Jesus vehemently denied being a Zealot. He made it clear to the panel that every time he taught or preached, he was heard to promote peaceful co-existence with Rome. How then could he be a Zealot, who preached enmity with the Romans? Put differently, General, Jesus was saying he had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD riots against Pilate. The fact that Simon Zelotes was his father-in-law was pure happenstance.

In their heart of hearts, both Caiaphas and Annas were aware Jesus was not inclined to violence and therefore could not be a  Zealot. So the matter they seized upon was his claim to be Priest, Prophet, and King. This was what revolted them the most, the sin for which they sought to teach him a lesson.  The gospels say they set men (the Jerusalem Temple police who had escorted Caiaphas) on him who blindfolded him, slapped him around, spat on him, and dared him to “prophesy” as to “who has hit you” – a sneering allusion to his claim to be Priest and Prophet as only the High Priest could prophesy. This physical mockery did probably take place but there is an underlying symbolic language, General.  When a person was spat upon (by a “holy man”, such as the  High Priest),  it meant he had been demoted from priest to a mere layman. A “blind man” was another characterisation for an Essene who was of Grade 8 level, a novice. A novice was not yet initiated and therefore he was blind because he had not yet “seen the light”, that is, not yet been illuminated.

What it all boils down to, General,  is that by decree of the three priests Annas Sr, Caiaphas, and Jonathan Annas, Jesus had been downgraded from Grade 2, the third position in the Essene hierarchy (the first two being Grades 0 and 1), which was the position of the Davidic King (now held by his young brother James), to Grade 8, the position of a novice, a virtual nobody. Thus, when he appeared before Pontius Pilate, that was the status he would declare when his occupation was asked of him. This lowly social status would significantly bear upon Pilate’s psychology and therefore his contemplation of Jesus.

PETER DOES A JUDAS

Now, when a hearing or trial was in progress, General,  the Essene rule was that there had to be two doorkeepers. These were two people who were close to the person who was the subject of the proceedings, typically a relative and an associate/friend.

In the case of Jesus, the doorkeepers he selected were Simon Peter and his mother Mary. Besides being Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter was Jesus’ personal bodyguard and chief ecclesiastical minister. As the Davidic King, Jesus was entitled to a bodyguard and chief spokesman, both roles of which were ably performed by Peter. That made Peter arguably the closest to Jesus in an occupational sense. As for Mary, she substituted for Jesus’ wife Mary Magdalene, who was now three months pregnant and therefore was on mandatory separation from her husband according to Essene dynastic procreational rules. The two doorkeepers ceremonially opened the doors for the panelists or judges to enter the hearing room. As the male doorkeeper,  Simon Peter stood by the door in the inner corridor whilst Mary stood by the same door in the outer corridor.

Peter, however, had been assigned another role – that of the rooster of the night. The rooster that crowed three times as per the gospels was not a bird, General: it was Simon Peter. “Rooster”, or “Cock”,   was the term for a religious person assigned to call out the time. Remember,  they had no clocks those days and at nighttime, the sundial, which was used during the day to read time, could not be used. So during a momentous occasion such as this one (the week of Passover), a person was detailed to announce the time every three hours at Qumran. Since Jesus’ hearing took place shortly before midnight, Peter was expected to announce the times at 00:00; 3 am; and 6 am. 3 am was specifically called cock-crow (see MARK 13:34). It was just before 3 am that Peter “denied”  Jesus. He did not deny him at three intervals, General: he denied him only once but before three inquisitors.

Now, Simon Peter was also a Zealot, a point we have long underscored. It explains why in the gospels he comes across as combustible, argumentative, and highly assertive. He was known as Simon Bar-jonah, which has been wrong translated as “son of John”. Bar-jonah actually derived from “baryona”, which was Aramaic (the most widely spoken language of the day in Palestine) for “outlaw”. We know, courtesy of  Flavius Josephus, that Zealots were referred to as outlaws by the Romans. So as Jesus was being interrogated, one of the witnesses against him made mention of the fact that he must have been a Zealot since his own bodyguard was a Zealot. Peter was therefore instantly called upon to confirm or deny that he was a Zealot. As could be expected, Peter stoutly denied he was. He also proceeded to say that he was not as close to Jesus as many people thought.

Once he had exculpated himself, Peter resumed his vigil as doorkeeper. The hearing lasted for hours and there were intervals in between, during which Peter also took time off to warm himself before a fire. During one such break, Mary, Joseph (Jesus’ second brother)  and James (the son of Zebedee) also confronted him and demanded to know why he  without shame or scruple just stopped short of disowning Jesus. Peter was unflinching, saying they were all mistaken: he was not as close to Jesus as they thought. It was at this point that he stood up to announce the time 3 am for the hearings to resume. Shortly thereafter, it dawned on him that he had stabbed Jesus in the back and later apologised teary-eyed to Mary. The man Jesus called “Rocky” was far from being a rock: he was a chicken, a flip-flopper.  Maybe it was no coincidence, General, that on this fateful night he was assigned the role of a male chicken!

That said, Peter had very valid reasons to deny Jesus anyway. Jesus had elevated Judas Iscariot to his second-in-command in an independent Israel at the Last Supper and Peter was irate that that role should have been entrusted to him and not to Judas. Maybe Jesus deserved Peter’s betrayal given that Peter had served him loyally through and through both as a bodyguard and confidante.

JUDAS TREACHERY BACKFIRES

Pontius Pilate, General, arrived at Qumran towards 6 in the morning to conduct a kangaroo court trial for the people wanted for the November 32 AD uprising in which some Roman soldiers were killed. Why, if we may ask, General,  did the Roman governor have to travel all the way from Jerusalem, where he was based during the Passover week, to Qumran and not insist that the trial be held in Jerusalem itself?

There were two reasons for this in the main. First and foremost, there was something in it for him. He had been backhanded with a tantalising bribe by Herod Agrippa to excuse Judas Iscariot. We know Pilate was hopelessly weak where it came to palm-greasing and extra-legal trials. Philo, the Jewish philosopher and historian who was a contemporary of  Pilate, records that Pilate was prone to corruption (a streak that ran through all Roman governors and of which the emperor himself was acutely aware) and “continuous executions without even a form of a trial”. Second, a trial of the leading Zealots in Jerusalem at Passover time would have provoked another uprising as Jerusalem at this time of the year swarmed with Galilean pilgrims most of whom were either Zealots or pro-Zealot. Qumran was therefore a safe venue as it was remote and was not crawling with too many people. The trial would thus pass practically unnoticed by the wider population.

Arriving at Qumran, Pilate was determined that he was going to sentence the culprits (save for Judas of course) to death. The November uprising had tarnished the record of his emperor: it was the only insurrection in Judea during the reign of  Tiberius Caesar. Pilate would use the sentence as a showcase to the emperor that he was a no-nonsense man who did not in the least brook dissident tendencies.

Now, Herod Antipas had learnt of Agrippa’s bribe to Pilate and he and Agrippa rarely saw eye to eye, being rival claimants to the Jewish monarchy.  Antipas was aware that the crucifixion Jesus would be subjected to would not be fatal but a partial one that would ensure his survival. However, Theudas Barabbas was too old to bear the strain of even partial crucifixion whereas Jesus and Simon Zelotes were much younger. Chances therefore were that Barabbas might perish right on the cross.  So in a private meeting with Pilate before the trial commenced, Antipas offered Pilate a bribe substantially higher than that which Agrippa had given him. Accordingly, the two agreed that Judas should be reinstated as a culprit. At the same time, Barabbas should be released. It was game, set, and match, General.

MAKE-BELIEVE REFERAL TO ANTIPAS

The trial was held in the north vestry, the same place where the hearings by Annas and Caiaphas took place. Annas, Caiaphas, the Herods, and the brothers of Jesus were in attendance.

The trial, General, was a farce. The proceedings were almost wholly orchestrated. On trial was Judas Iscariot too, who courtesy of  the Antipas bribe had been re-arrested, bringing the number of  respondents in the dock to four. Judas, as the overall commander of the Zealots, pleaded guilty. That is what the gospels mean when they say he “hung himself”. Now penitent of having falsely implicated Jesus, Judas also told the court that Jesus was innocent and had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD insurrection. Judas’ absolution of  Jesus is what is cryptically referred to in the gospels as “returning the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest”, meaning he no longer was leader of the 30-man group that John the Baptist had established: its leadership had now reverted to the current Essene high priest Jonathan Annas. Judas was resultantly sentenced to death by crucifixion along with Simon Zelotes and Theudas Barabbas.

However, General, Agrippa was determined that Jesus be found guilty in order to get even with his brother-in-law Antipas. He and Caiaphas were in full flow, insisting that Jesus not only was a “Galilean”, which was another code name for Zealots, but he urged Jews to refrain from paying taxes and also fancied himself as “King of the Jews” when that title now belonged to Emperor Tiberius Caesar. This was treason and for that he deserved to die.

Although Pilate had no intentions of acquitting Jesus (it was he who was to be sacrificed for Barabbas as per his stratagem with Antipas), he at least wanted to superficially cast himself as a reasonable and impartial judge. Judas had exonerated Jesus and the priests had countered that. So Pilate announced to the gathering that since Jesus was of Galilean origin (he feigned ignorance of the fact that the term Galilean was used in the context of  his being a Zealot), Herod Antipas, under whose  jurisdiction Galilee fell, was to break the ice. Antipas was asked to try Jesus in another room and whatever verdict he rendered would be binding. This aspect was not part of the pre-plan with Antipas but Antipas did welcome it nonetheless as it openly underlined that in the eyes of  Rome, he took precedence over his rival Agrippa. As for Agrippa, all he could do was froth at the mouth. From that day on, General, Pilate became his mortal enemy: on the other hand, Antipas and Pilate became abiding friends.

NEXT WEEK: JESUS SACRIFICES FOR HIS BROTHER

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Columns

Distress Flare

12th October 2021

No one could have predicted what we have just gone through with COVID 19, lock downs, State of Emergency, banning of international travel etc. etc. In fact that’s not quite true as many had been predicating the possibility of a global pandemic for a while – I guess it was the case of not listening or not wanting to listen.

This week I was left thinking what life would be like if the internet crashed. This was prompted after being deprived of social media when the services of Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp were disrupted for hours on Monday night. I am not much of a user of the 2 former platforms but I do use Whatsapp extensively and even had a call scheduled on the app which I was clearly unable to make. It is also the main way that I keep immediately updated of family whereabouts, comms etc.

Like many I felt quite cut off even though I could have made a normal telephone call or gone on the internet and sent mail messages. People kept saying that the internet was down because to some people Facebook is the internet!  Twitter, realising this, saw it as the perfect time to enjoy its rare spotlight and tweeted “Hello literally everyone” from its main account. It garnered 2.4 million “likes” in just four hours and a stampede of users eager to sign up.

In other parts of the world where apps are essential to commerce, health care and basic functioning of government it was a serious matter. In India, doctors sounded the alarm about being unable to coordinate their schedules or share patient scans. And in Malaysia, some small-business owners were left without a way to manage day-to-day operations as all business communications are conducted through the app.

In many developing countries, services including WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger have become deeply integrated into the delivery of primary health care, education and other government services,” Marcus Leaning, a digital media education professor at the University of Winchester in the U.K., said. “In the global North, we tend to (merely) use such services as supplementary to other channels of communication, so the global outage will have a disproportionate impact.”  These platforms are also often offered on restricted-access (or non-smart) phones, meaning that those on lower income were disproportionately  disaffected in 3rd World countries, our own included.

Meanwhile, as netizens (citizens of the internet) were feeling somewhat inconvenienced and annoyed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a financial hit losing $6 billion in just a few hours as Facebook stocks plunged, principally through lost advertising revenue and loss of business confidence and he himself personally dropped to No. 5 on the list of the world’s richest, below Gates. Talk about a bad day at the office!

The impact on myself was considerably less but with my ability to WhatsApp stopped I did feel quite put out and wondered what it would be like if the whole internet crashed one day and what that would it do to the markets, the military, the hospitals, not to mention how would I be able access all the movies on Netflix?

It couldn’t really happen, could it, if you understand that all the internet is, is a bunch of interconnected computers and that they would all have to crash at once? Conventional wisdom tells us that as a planetary network of computers and machines the internet is too big, too decentralised and too redundant to all fail at once?  But wait! Didn’t they say something similar when the Titanic was built? Surely the lessons of that hubris are still valid today?

According to Laura Brandimarte, Assistant Professor, Management Information Systems, University of Arizona, ‘Everything being connected today may bring along significant convenience, but it also implies that everything can be hacked. What if the nation’s power grid were successfully attacked? No electricity also means no internet access. The internet also relies on physical infrastructure, such as subsea cables and other fiber cables: any infrastructure issues (cable cuts, damages), whether due to criminal activity or natural disasters that were to affect major subsea cables could potentially shut down the Internet.

In a different sense, authoritarian governments can also potentially shut down the internet if they somehow all colluded against it, either blocking internet access to citizens altogether (we have seen that in Egypt during the Arab Spring, for example, or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo  HYPERLINK “https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/africa/81477-dr-congo-block-internet-kinshasa” \t “_blank” during a period of unrest); or substantially limiting it (we see that in countries where internet censorship is widespread and information access is controlled by the central government, as it happens in China). There are ways around censorship, of course: Privacy Enhancing Technologies, or PETs, such as virtual private networks or VPNs, and anonymous browsers such as Tor, can help circumvent it, but censorship essentially prevents the vast majority of the population, who may not be familiar with these tools, to access the internet, de facto making it disappear.’

And there are natural disasters that also could create havoc.   Patrick Juola, a computer science professor at Duquesne University, offers up one such interplanetary electronic disaster. “A sufficiently powerful solar flare could produce an electromagnetic solar pulse [EMP] that would shut down most of the computers in the world. While some systems are protected against EMPs, any human-built protection is only so strong, and the sun can be a lot more powerful.”

 

An internet crash resulting from this type of solar flare sounds like science fiction or one of those once-every-10,000-years events, but it isn’t. The worst recorded X-class (highest level) solar flare, called the Carrington Event, was a coronal mass ejection that produced a geomagnetic storm that spread across the earth over two days, September 1-2, 1859. The storm produced auroras around the world. The ones in the northern hemisphere reached as far south as the Caribbean, and were so bright people in the north-eastern United States could read newspapers by their light at night. The major electric utilities affected were the telegraph systems that failed across Europe and North America. The telegraph pylons threw sparks and shocked operators still at their keys. 

The frequency of recorded CMEs is worrying. Less powerful geomagnetic storms were recorded in 1921 and 1960, and a 1989 storm disabled power over large sections of Quebec. Then, on July 23, 2012, a “Carrington-lass” solar superstorm narrowly missed the earth by nine days when it crossed the planet’s orbit.

The Titanic was built to be unsinkable – all engineers and scientists agreed to that. Yet obviously they had not thought of every conceivable scenario and so when the boat was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the rest, as they say, was history. The same must be true of the internet. The thing that can take it down – not so much governmental censorship but some of that super global warming we hear so much about – could yet prove its downfall.  Now that really is solar power!

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