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End of an Era

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   

Hebrews expelled from Egypt after Jacob’s sons murder southern Pharaoh

Which god did the Hykso-Hebrews worship whilst they inhabited northern Egypt? Time and again, one encounters assertions by scholars that the Jews were strictly a one-god nation.  That is simply not true. Both the Bible itself and extra-biblical sources make it plain that until some time when the Age of Aries (2220 to 60 BC) was winding down, the Jews struggled to maintain adherence to one deity. In any case, even their principal god,  Yahweh, was not a single god: he was a composite god who post-Exodus was fronted, largely, by Ishkur-Adad.

In the time of Apepi II, the last Hykso Pharaoh, the Hyksos did not worship any of the Enlilite gods at all. They worshipped the Enkite god Seth. If you recall, Seth was the god who had his half-brother Osiris killed. During Apepi’s rule, Osiris was a wildly popular departed god in Egypt and to counter that the Hyksos exalted Seth, the antithesis of Osiris, because their standpoint was that they had to be at cross-purposes with anything that was quintessentially Egyptian.

AS IF THAT WAS NOT ABOMINABLE ENOUGH, THE HYKSOS EMBRACED A SUPERNATURAL GOD WE WOULD TODAY CALL THE DEVIL AND THESE ARE “GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE” WE’RE TALKING ABOUT.  This was Apophis, after whom Apepi named himself. Apophis was the spirit of evil, darkness, and destruction and was characterised as the polar opposite of the spiritual aspect of Marduk.

The Hyksos embraced the Apophis spirit (but without worshipping it) for two reasons. First, the indigenous Egyptians regarded it as the arch-enemy of Marduk and as such dubbed it “The Enemy of Ra”, Ra being Amen-Ra in full, the name by which Marduk was known in Egypt. Apophis was depicted as a huge snake – a bigger and therefore more powerful snake than Marduk, whose other cognomen was “The Great Serpent”, although he (Apophis) was also referred to as “The Evil Lizard”.   

Egyptians would make figures or effigies of the snake and then burn it, curse it, step on it, or even spit on it in a bid to repel Apophis and therefore ward off his influence. It is Apophis who is responsible for the underlying evil humans attach to snakes in general and not Enki, the Serpent of Genesis who was actually an enlightener and therefore a force for good.

Second, Apophis was such a resilient spirit that it could never be defeated, only temporarily slowed down. The Hyksos took great pride in invoking such a spirit in that they too regarded themselves as invincible despite the setback they experienced at the hands of Kamose, when they were driven out of Egypt but only to return using the tactic of infiltration and once again take the reins practically in perpetuity.

NOW, HERE IS THE IRONY OF IRONIES: AS MUCH AS THE HYKSOS HATED EVERYTHING WHICH WAS TYPICALLY EGYPTIAN, THEIR KINGS ADOPTED NAMES WHICH AT FACE VALUE SEEMED TO SUGGEST THAT THEY ALSO REVERED MARDUK. This was done with a view to winning over a section of the Egyptian populace in northern Egypt who tenaciously worshipped Marduk. For instance, when Apepi II became Pharaoh, he adopted the Egyptian throne name   Auserre, which meant “Great and Powerful Like Ra”. He in fact called himself “Son of Ra”. The Hyksos’ utter disregard for their own Enlilite gods was likely the reason Jacob decided to abdicate since he was slavishly loyal to Enlil and Nannar-sin.

A notable attribute of the Apepi rule was that northern Egypt was now more militarily powerful than southern Egypt (a Jacobite legacy) and therefore exercised hegemony over southern Egypt, which was under obligation to pay tribute to Apepi. It explains why Apepi’s other title was “King of Upper (southern) and Lower (northern) Egypt”. Writes Christopher Knight and Robert Lamas in The Hiram Key: “For hundreds of miles to  the south of Avaris (the Hykso capital), the city of Thebes (the capital of southern Egypt) continued its line of  Egyptian (Bantu) kings, although they bowed to the power of the Hyksos and paid to Apepi’s   tax collectors the dues demanded.” 

SIMEON AND LEVI CONTRIVE TO RULE WHOLE OF EGYPT

Meanwhile, two of Jacob’s sons were seething. They were Simeon, the second born, and Levi, the third born. With Reuben, the firstborn, having become estranged from his father for having committed adultery with one of his father’s wives, it was Simeon who was the de facto firstborn. Simeon was particularly close to Levi, so that the two typically strategised and schemed together.

The two brothers were irked by two measures their father had taken. The first was his hand-over of the throne to Apepi II. As far as they were concerned, he should have bequeathed it to Simeon.  The second had to do with Jacob’s selection of young Joseph as his heir. They thought this was unjust in that Leah, their mother, was senior to Rachel, Joseph’s mother, and in any case the two women had the same father and the same mother. Rachel therefore was the bloodline spouse, not Rachel:  the heir had to come from her.  

Long story short, Simeon and Levi wanted to rule as that was their inborn right as scions of the great Jacob and his first wife Leah. Accordingly, they hatched a plan. Their sights first and foremost were set on southern Egypt, which was the weaker of the two Egypts. They would depose and kill its pharaoh and Simeon would take over. Then they would target Apepi in northern Egypt, oust him too, and install Levi on the throne. The whole of Egypt would thus be under the rule of the Jacobite dynasty. Also once the two brothers were in power, Joseph would have no chance of unseating them. 

In order for their scheme to see the light of day, they would have to come up with some very clever, persuasive lie to bring their father on board just in case something went wrong and Jacob wondered what on Earth they had been up to. The excuse they came up with was a masterstroke. IT HAD TO DO WITH ORMUS, THE MONOATOMIC POWDER OF GOLD, ALSO VARIOUSLY KNOWN IN THE BIBLE AS MANNA OR SHEWBREAD.   

THE SECRET OF ORMUS

The Book of the Dead, authored by Ningishzidda (called Thoth in Egypt), Enki’s genius son, is reputed to be history’s oldest complete book. We learn from the book that the Egyptian pharaohs of old (the much earlier dynasties, the 1st to about the 4th Dynasty didn’t die the way we do. WHEN THEY REACHED A STAGE WHERE THEY FELT IT WAS TIME THEY PASSED ON, THEY SIMPLY CHANGED DIMENSIONS. They voluntarily translated from this physical realm to the spiritual realm.

This was a process that began in the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, where they disembodied and then embarked on a journey through a tunnel all the way to the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula, where they boarded an etheric spacecraft which transported them to Nibiru. This was not the physical Nibiru but its subtler equivalent (just as the physical Earth has   its subtler  double people immediately arrive in when they die, a kind of way station on their way to the Astral plane, the spiritual realm of the departed.)

How did the pharaohs of old transform from a physical being into a spiritual being instantaneously without undergoing the normal process of death? Well, it was all thanks to Ormus.  Scientists have determined that Ormus can be made to disappear into another dimension. It can also impart that capacity to anything in which or around which it sufficiently abounds. That is to say, in the case of a human being, if he ingests an appropriate amount of Ormus or is smothered with an appropriate amount of it under the right environmental conditions, he can immediately translate from the physical to the etheric, the equivalent of voluntary and painless death.

The Giza pyramids are one such suitable ambience for this transformation. Writes Lawrence Gardner in Genesis of the Grail Kings:  “The Pyramids were constructed with the technology of the superconducting highward firestone (Ormus)”.  Arguably the most famous pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2613 to 2494 BC) are Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. IT IS INTRIGUING THAT THEIR BODIES HAVE NEVER BEEN FOUND GIVEN THAT PHARAOHS LIKE THEY WERE WOULD HAVE BEEN PRESERVED THROUGH A PROCESS KNOWN AS MUMMIFICATION.

What was found in their respective King’s Chambers was a substance that turned out to be Ormus! This was in the 9th century AD, when the first explorers tunneled their way into the sealed chamber. What they found in there was a “lid-less, hollowed, granite coffer, containing not a body but a layer of a mysterious powdery substance”. 

Clearly, each of the three pharaohs had in their respective times simply translated to a subtler realm using the wonder medium of Ormus. “The once sealed Kings Chamber appears to have been contrived as a superconductor capable of transporting the pharaoh into another dimension of space time through the Meissner Field (a body’s polar magnetic aura),” writes Gardner. “It was here that the pharaoh’s rite of passage was administered in accordance with The Book of the Dead.”

The Pharaohs of Jacob’s day, however, seemed to have long lost knowledge of Ormus’s capacity to effect a translation of the live human body to another dimension as in their case they did die and their bodies were mummified (preserved by embalmment). Some of these preserved bodies are found in the world’s leading museums. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THE SOUTHERN PHARAOH, SEQENENRE TAO II, HAD STUMBLED UPON THIS SECRET KNOWLEDGE AND IT WAS THIS REASON SIMEON AND LEVI PITCHED TO THEIR FATHER AS GROUNDS TO  CONFRONT HIM SO THAT HE SHARED IT WITH THEM.

They too wanted to simply translate directly to the spiritual realm when they were sufficiently aged and not experience death. Simeon and Levi knew in their heart of hearts that if Tao had that kind of knowledge, he would not be keen on sharing it with his arch-enemies of the north. That would give them the excuse to kill him, which their father would hopefully understand. 

BLOODY BROTHERS SLAY  BANTU PHARAOH

It was easy for Simeon and Levi to secure a meeting with Tao being the scions of the legendary Pharaoh Yaacoba. Believing them to be well-meaning visitors who like him abhorred the northern monarchy, Tao received them with all the decorum due at his palace at Thebes. Meanwhile, Simeon and Levi made overtures to some high-ranking members of Tao’s army, who signed up to the duo’s scheme to eliminate him.

Their enlisting was essential as the two on their own just could not bring their scheme to fruition or muster the popular regnal support from the southern Egyptian populace being members of the loathsome Hyksos, who were denounced as Hikau-Khoswet (“Ruling Settlers”), an adulteration of the name Hyksos. 

The two brothers first patiently studied Tao’s daily routine, which has been  documented thus in The Hiram Key: “Everyday, he left the royal place of Malkata to visit the temple of Amen-Ra at the hour of high noon, when the sun was at its meridian (directly overhead) and a man cast no shadow, no stain of darkness, across the ground. With the sun at its zenith (highest point), the power of Ra was at its height and that of the Serpent of Darkness, Apophis, was at its weakest.” It was whilst emerging from the temple that Tao was tactfully spirited away.

Exactly who handled him – whether it was Simeon and Levi themselves or their henchmen – is not known for certain.  But whoever they  were, they must have been  familiar to the king to get that close to him. They were most likely renegades from amongst his security detail who Simeon and Levi had promised  phenomenal rewards when they were in power.

The traitors’ initial trick was to tell the king that  they suspected a plot against him and so they were taking him to a safe place, to which the king readily obliged, as one would do to people they trusted the most.  Then once they got him to the “safe haven”, they bared their fangs and produced Simeon and Levi. The duo first asked the king to make known to them the cross-dimensional secret of Ormus, which he was said to have come in the knowledge of. 

According to   The Hiram Key, Tao did admit that yes, he did possess that kind of knowledge but he could not divulge it without the involvement of two other people who were privy to it.  He would rather die than betray such a sacred trust.  He got his wish and would in future be known as Tao the Brave for refusing to waver even on pain of death.

In July 1881, the mummies of several Egyptian pharaohs, including that of Tao, were discovered in a tomb near Luxor in Egypt. Tao’s was the only corpse to show signs of a violent death.  He had grisly  wounds on his head, which doctors who examined his body described as follows: “The middle of his forehead had been smashed in … Another blow had fractured his right eye socket, his right cheekbone, and his nose.

A third had been delivered behind his left ear, shattering the mastoid bone and ending in the first vertebrae of the neck … The terrible wounds on Seqenenre’s skull were caused by at least two people (Simeon and Reuben?) attacking him with a dagger, an axe, a spear, and possibly a mace.” Tao had ascended to the throne in 1558 BC. He was killed in 1554 BC. He was the last king of southern Egypt’s 17th Dynasty.
 
PHARAOH AHMOSE EJECTS HYKSOS FROM EGYPT

Sadly for Simeon and Levi, the assassination of Tao did not get the indigenous Egyptians to throng the streets and burst into dance in a frisson of euphoric excitement. Most of the generals threw their weight behind Tao’s son, Kamose, who was immediately installed as the new Pharaoh and the first king of the 18th Dynasty. It seemed Simeon and Levi had not consolidated their support before they killed Tao. They were forced to retreat to northern Egypt in ignominy.

Kamose vowed that he wasn’t going to rest till he had driven the Hyksos out of Egypt.    But he did not retaliate against them straightaway. He first honed the skills of his forces and in the third year of his reign attacked northern Egypt.   The offense was not sustained though as the following year, after being on the throne for only four years, he died of natural causes. He had however considerably shrunk Hykso territory, which suggests he was a formidable commander-in-chief.

At the time of his death, Kamose had no kids and his immediate younger brother, Ahmose,  was only 10 years old. His mother therefore took over as regent till Ahmose became of age. As his late brother, Ahmose was just as determined to be rid of the Hykso menace once and for all. At the head of a 480,000-strong army, he relentlessly assailed northern Egypt till finally what remained of Hykso territory was now the overcrowded Avaris, the capital.

In 1525 BC, the Hyksos surrendered and asked for a safe passage out of Egypt and back to Canaan. Ahmose obliged them, as a result of which 240,000 Hebrews left Egypt for Canaan. THIS WAS THE FIRST EXODUS: THE EXODUS OF MOSES’S TIME WAS ACTUALLY THE SECOND ONE.  At the time of their expulsion, the  Hyksos had ruled northern Egypt for 522 years, beginning with General Abraham (Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti) and ending with Pharaoh Apepi II.

SIMEON, LEVI CURSED; JUDAH BLESSED

The First Exodus was led by Jacob himself, assisted by his fourth son Judah, after Apepi II simply vanished into thin air.  Reuben had long fallen out with his father and Simeon and Levi had been sidelined for precipitating circumstances that led to the Hykso expulsion.  Because of this sorry development, Simeon and Levi were cursed by their father as plainly stated in GENESIS 49:5-7: “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their SECRET; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they DIGGED DOWN A WALL.  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel.”

Jacob accused his two sons of having dug down a wall and of having killed a man.  The “wall” was northern Egypt, a buffer against southern Egypt’s possible incursions into Canaan. This buffer was destroyed when southern Egypt waged war on northern Egypt and expelled the Hyksos following their assassination of Tao.  Jacob also dissociated himself from the duo’s purported “secret”, the cross-dimensional Ormus which they cited to their father as the reason for killing Tao having refused to disclose it to them. The killing, Jacob regretted, was so unconscionably cruel and totally unjustified.

THE GREATEST BENEFICIARY OF HIS THREE BROTHERS FALL FROM GRACE WAS JUDAH. He had ably led the Hyksos into Canaan and for that he deserved a reward. GENESIS 49:8-10: “As for you, Judah, your brothers shall acclaim you; your hand shall be on the scruff of your enemies. Your father's sons shall bow down to you. A whelp of a lion is Judah—from the prey, my son, you will grow up—he crouches, he reclines like a lion; and like a lioness, who would make him rise up? The scepter shall not withdraw from Judah, nor the statute-maker's staff from between his feet, until indeed he comes to whom it belongs and the peoples' homage goes to him.”

Judah was declared the King of the Hebrews, the successor to Jacob. However, the promotion was not permanent: HE WAS TO BE KING UNTIL THE RIGHT PERSON, THE ANOINTED HEIR JOSEPH, WAS GROWN ENOUGH TO TAKE OVER. Was Jacob’s wish in relation to Joseph  honoured?
  

NEXT WEEK:   JOSEPH TAKES CENTRE STAGE

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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

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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!

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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

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