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Moses is Co-Pharaoh

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
He rules Egypt with his father for about a dozen years

When Prince Moses of Egypt, who was known as Amenhotep  IV in that country,  was about 18 years of age, there was an uprising in Ethiopia. Ethiopia was at the time a cherished ally of Egypt. Since Egypt was the mightiest country of the day, the Ethiopian monarch appealed to Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, Moses’ father, to help crash the rebellion.

At the time, the Egyptian army Field Marshal was a certain Bilam.  Bilam, the son of a renowned Egyptian magician, and who was said to be exceptionally wise, also doubled as one of the senior advisors to the pharaoh. It was an army contingent headed by Bilam the pharaoh dispatched to Ethiopia. The King of Ethiopia had already fled his country to seek refuge in Egypt itself.

Bilam made mince of the rebellion without much ado and just as the Ethiopian King was preparing to return home triumphantly, Bilam declared himself King of Ethiopia. The exiled King was gutted. With the Bilam defection, the next seniormost army officer in the ranks of the Egyptian forces was General Moses. Moses was already being groomed to take over from Bilam when Bilam seized power in Ethiopia. The pharaoh had no choice but to set his eldest son on Bilam as already it was suspected that Bilam’s coup had the covert blessings of the pharaoh, that it was all a cleverly contrived scheme for Egypt’s seizure of Ethiopia.  

At first, Tiye, Moses’ mother, was reluctant to stake her beloved son in the war against Bilam.  She did relent at long last but only half-heartedly so, following a serious talking-to by her father Joseph, who was still alive at the time. Although Moses was a formidable warrior, in Bilam he had an even match. Bilam had “strengthened the walls of the capital, built huge fortresses, and dug ditches and pits between the city and the nearby river”. It took a whooping 9 years for Moses to dislodge him.

However, the returning King insisted that Moses stay by him as he felt secure in his presence and Moses gladly obliged him, particularly that his guard duty entailed economic benefits for his country Egypt. The King even gave him a daughter, called Tharbis, to marry.  A year or two later, the aged king passed on and no sooner had he died than the late king’s inner circle installed Moses as the new King of Ethiopia.

This gesture, however, was not a popular one as far as the Egyptian body politic was concerned. However much they loved him, which they indeed did, they were totally opposed to the idea of a foreigner ruling them when they had their own, indigenous qualifying heirs. Of the dissenting voices, the   most vociferous was the King’s widow herself, Atenit: it didn’t matter that King Moses was her son-in-law. She wanted her own son to rightfully take the throne.

When he got wind of such stirrings, a level-headed Moses decided not to contend for the throne as he was not a usurper. He sent word to his father that he was stepping down and his father gave him the nod. He was given a rousing send-off. “Moses resigned voluntarily the power which they had given him and departed from their land,” says the Talmud, the Jewish religious canon which is second in importance only to the Bible.  “And the people of Ethiopia made him many rich presents and dismissed him with great honours.”

MOSES’ MOTHER ECLIPSES CHIEF WIFE

About 8 years before the birth of Moses, Pharaoh Amenhotep III had moved his capital from Memphis in northern Egypt to Thebes (modern Luxor) in southern Egypt. So when Moses returned from Ethiopia, it was to Thebes he headed. Moses was the son of Tiye, the King’s junior wife. As such, he was not a bloodline heir. But as his firstborn son and army general, Moses was a significant figure in Egypt and enjoyed all the trappings of a heir. “Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people,” the Bible underscores in EXODUS 11:3.

Straight after returning from Ethiopia, Moses took up residence in the Malkata Palace complex. Its other principal occupants were his mother Tiye; Sitamun, his father’s sister-wife and therefore his chief wife, at least on paper; Nefertiti, Sitamun’s older daughter; Tey (Jochebed in the Bible), Aaron’s mother who had nursed both Moses and Aaron as infants; Ephraim (Aye), Joseph’s second-born son who was also Tey’s husband; and Aaron (Smenkhkare) himself.  

In due course, Moses would become the High Priest of Heliopolis, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Joseph and his uncle Anen (Mannaseh), Joseph’s firstborn son. On becoming High Priest, Moses took the religious name of Osarseph, which was a tribute to Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, just as Joseph had adopted the name Ptahseph in homage to Enki, the Anunnaki’s overall god of Africa who was known as Ptah in Egypt.  

Meanwhile, Moses’ mother Tiye continued to overshadow the chief wife Sitamun. Thanks to the stature and influence of her great father Joseph, she was practically the King’s equal. Writes the renowned Egyptian historian Ahmed Osman in his book Christianity, An Ancient Egyptian Religion:

“By the time Moses arrived in Thebes, Queen Tiye, who is known to have been a woman with a powerful personality, had become an increasingly influential presence behind the throne as her husband's health declined with his advancing years. This increased influence is reflected in the fact that her name, unlike that of earlier queens, was placed regularly in a cartouche, a distinction previously limited to the ruling monarch, and was also included in royal titularies. Furthermore, she was represented as being of equivalent stature to the king.”

MOSES IS JOINT-RULER OF EGYPT

As time went by, the pharaoh’s health began to deteriorate. One of his battery of illnesses stemmed from severe dental problems (his embalmed remains have been found with very badly worn teeth and gums riddled with cavities.) Fearing that Nefertiti could step into her father’s shoes in the event of his death, Tiye prevailed upon Moses to marry her so that he would be the one to succeed to the throne.

Not very long thereafter, Prince Moses and Princess Nefertiti, whose ethereal beauty was the talk of the day, tied the knot.   In the fullness of time, the couple would have six daughters.  They were Meryaten, Maketaten, Ankhsenpa-aten, Nefermeferu-aten Tasheri, Neferneferure, and Setepenre.

Moses’ marriage to Nefertiti qualified him as bona fide heir to his father at a time when the Egyptian establishment were reluctant to countenance the notion of a female succeeding to the throne, which Nefertiti was by rights entitled to being the king’s eldest and bloodline daughter.  Tiye then proceeded to persuade her husband into a co-regency with Moses considering that the king was indisposed most of the time: he was on and off.  On becoming co-regent with his father, in the 27th year of his reign, Moses took the name Neferkheprure Waenre Amenhotep, that is, Amenhotep IV, as his throne name.

An undated jar seal found in Malkata also says, “of the estate of the true King’s son, Amenhotep,” in reference to Moses. The necessity for the word “true” is instructive. It suggests that Moses was not fully recognised by the Egyptian establishment as Amenhotep III’s heir. His accession was without hiccups but there was an undercurrent of resentment amongst the ranks of the Egyptian religious establishment.

This cabal never recognised Joseph as a true-blue Egyptian. By the same token, they never recognised Moses, Joseph’s grandson, as a genuine Egyptian. It seemed they were aware or suspicious of the Enlilite agenda to take possession of Egypt by sleight of hand.  

Moses knew that he was resented by the Amunite priesthood (the priests of Amen-Ra Marduk) but the last thing he was prepared to do was to go out of his way to curry favour with them. In point of fact, Moses, who had a wayward character, was fed up with polytheism – the worship of a multitude of   gods (Enkites and/or Enlilites) at the same time.

Although he was co-ruler with his father, Moses was the one who called the shots. His father was pharaoh in name only. Not long after his coronation, Moses made it clear to the Theban priesthood that he was neither a great fan of their beliefs nor in awe of their ecclesiastical overreach.

Perhaps as a quid pro quo to the priesthood’s simmering resentment of him, Moses had decided that he was going to focus Egyptians on only one “god”, thus rendering all other gods to secondary status. This was Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods.  The name he chose to represent Nibiru was Aten.
    

MOSES AS PHAROAH CHAMPIONS CULT OF NIBIRU

Nibiru, as we have already underscored in previous articles, was known by several names. They included the Lord;  the King of the Gods;  the Sole God; the Creator; Olam; the Imperishable Star; the Star of Jacob; the Planet of Millions of Years; the  Unseen; the Eye of God; the Beast of Waters; the Sea Monster; and of course the  Aten. Maybe we should recap a bit on how these names came to be for the sake of those readers who are new to this column.

Nibiru was the Lord (the Celestial Lord in full) and the King of the Gods because it was the Solar System’s supreme planet. In the Sumerian cosmogony, planets were referred to as “gods”, or “celestial gods”.  In the so-called “Celestial Battle” of circa 4 billion years ago, it was a stray primordial Nibiru that smashed into Tiamat, the planet that lay between Mars and Jupiter, and split it into the Asteroid Belt and the planet we today call Earth.

The simultaneous result of this cataclysm was Nibiru’s propagation of the seed of life on Earth. That’s the reason Nibiru came to be known as the Creator. It created a New Earth from the Old Earth (Tiamat) and gave rise to plant and animal life on the   New Earth. The term Olam is what the Bible translates as “from everlasting to everlasting”.

It actually refers to Nibiru, as intimated in PSALMS 93:2 ("Thy [Yahweh] throne is established forever, from Olam art Thou”); LAMENTATIONS 5:19 (“Thou, Yahweh, are enthroned in Olam, enduring through the ages”);  ISAIAH 40:28 ("Yahweh is the God of Olam");  GENESIS 21:33 (Abraham “calling in the name of Yahweh, the God of Olam"); and PSALM 89:47 ("How long, Yahweh, wilt Thou hide Thyself—forever?"). JEREMIAH 6:16 and PSALMS 10:16 calls Yahweh (Anu in this context) the “King of Olam”. 
 

When Jehovah-Enlil instituted the rite of circumcision upon the Jews, he called it the “Covenant of Olam” (GENESIS 17:13), that is too say, a covenant sanctioned by Nibiru King Anu. The root of the term Olam is “disappearance”. It most aptly suits planet Nibiru in that it is seen by Earthlings only once in 3600 years. This periodic appearance and disappearance of Nibiru gave rise to the Hebrew metaphor “From Olam to Olam”, meaning “an inordinately long time” or simply “forever”, as in JEREMIAH 7:7 and 25:5, where Yahweh is quoted as saying, “I had given you (the Jews) this land (Canaan) from Olam to Olam".  The lengthy disappearance also gave rise to Nibiru’s other name, the “Unseen”.

Nibiru was known as the “Imperishable Star” as well as the “Planet of Millions of Years” because from the point of view Earthlings, it was the place of everlasting life.  And it became known as the “Star of Jacob” when Jacob and his family went there and returned to Earth after 300 years.

As to why Nibiru was known as the Eye of God, this had to do with Nibiru being regarded by mankind as “God’s” instrument of retribution (remember, Nibiru sometimes caused floods, fires, earthquakes, and global warming when it drew too close to Earth.)  Explains Robert Morning Sky: “As the planet (Nibiru) loomed in the distance, the people of other worlds would look skyward and know that an emissary of the King/Queen (of the Sirian-Orion Empire), if not the King/Queen him/herself, was about to make an appearance. Immediately, they would begin to cry out her name AY! AY! AY! In time, this cry would become universal in the empire … AYE! AYE! AYE! The mysterious ‘Eye of God’! The ‘Eye of God’!”

Morning Sky proceeds: “This is a story, that everyone on the other worlds told their children: somewhere in the sky, hidden among the stars or in the clouds, the 'AYE' of the Supreme Being was overhead … watching, always watching … waiting to rain down death and destruction on any people, who had done something wrong. Any evil or crime would be punished with a wrath, that could destroy the entire planet! While the story scared many a child, the meaning of the tale was very clear … the forces of the Queen/King were always overhead, always monitoring the activities of the people on the planet below (Earth). Though one could not always see the (celestial) ship (Nibiru) … it was there … somewhere!"

Explaining why Nibiru was known as the “Beast of Waters” or the “Sea Monster”, Morning Sky has this to say:  “Many stories (of Nibiru) described the most horrible 'Beast of the Heavenly Waters'. A monster with one horrible eye, that could see everything and could spit fire … Other stories told how the 'Beast of the Waters' traveled the 'rivers of heaven', and was capable of destroying ships and swallowing up their human pilots. 

Obviously, since this 'beast' traveled the 'rivers of heaven' (space, the Ocean of the Kaa), this was a reference to the Great AR (Nibiru). Since the 'Beast' was 'of the Waters' or the 'rivers of heaven', many stories about the horrible demon described it as a horrible 'Sea Monster' or a 'Demon Sea Creature'.”

WHY MOSES ACCENTUATED THE CULT OF THE ATEN

Moses chose Nibiru as his primary religious frame of reference for two reasons basically. First, the name honoured Marduk. If you recall, one of Marduk’s 50 titles as Earth’s Chief Executive since 1954 BC was Nibiru. Marduk had in fact introduced the “Star Religion” in Babylon, which focused on Nibiru, the Imperishable Star aka the Star of Jacob, since he now regarded himself as the personification of that planet.

When Marduk was referred to as Amen-Ra, meaning Ra the Unseen, it was not necessarily because of his periodical absences from Egypt: it was a synonym with Nibiru. When Nibiru was not seen by Earthlings, it was said to have gone to the “rear of the horizons, to the height of Heaven”.   During this period, it was the “Unseen”. In Egypt’s Star Religion, when Nibiru returned, it would do so as the Aten. In Sumer or Babylon, it would do so as the “Planet of the Crossing” (that is, a planet coursing down the crossroads between Jupiter and Mars), which was precisely what the term Nibiru meant.  

Second, Nibiru represented an idyllic place. Nibiru was the Aten, which in this context meant “Eden” or “Paradise”. Indeed, according to The Book of the Dead, the oldest complete book, when pharaohs passed on, they embarked on a journey   to a utopian planet that was referred to as the Aten. Zechariah Sitchin sets down this journey in the following words: “His (the deceased pharaoh) destination is the Aten, which is also called the Imperishable Star.

The prayers (of the funeral gathering) now focus on getting the King to the Aten and his safe arrival upon it: ‘Aten, let him ascend to thee; enfold him in thine embrace’, the texts intone in behalf of the King. ..  The prayers seek to assure a favorable welcome for the King, by presenting his arrival at the Celestial Abode (Nibiru) as the return of a son to his father:  the gods who guard the entrance to the Aten there will let him through … The King has ascended the Stairway to Heaven (etherical spaceship); he has reached the Imperishable Star; ‘his lifetime is eternity, its limit everlastingness’."

Third, since Nibiru wasn’t very far from making its reappearance, Moses decided to shift the issue from celestial time (reckoning in terms of zodiacal constellation periods of 2160 years) to divine time (Nibiru’s orbital time of 3600-year cycles). He thus changed the question  from, “When will the Age of Aries come to an end” to “When will the Unseen celestial god (Nibiru) reappear and become visible  in the skies?”

Be that as it may,  the Cult of the Aten in Egypt was not introduced by Moses. We know, from Egyptian records, that  it gained prominence during the reign of his grandfather Tuthmosis IV at Zaru, a city that overlooked Goshen, the Hebrew bastion in Egypt. The very first shrine to Aten was erected at Zaru. Indeed, the title of  the mayor of Zaru at the  time was "Overseer of the Foremost Water in the Lake Area of the Temple of Aten”. And the royal barge in which Moses’ father Amenhotep III and his mother Tiye sailed the pleasure lake at Zaru was called the Gleams Aten. Thus all Moses did was raise the Cult of the Aten by yet another bar.   

All the same, the Cult of the Aten was simply one of the also-rans: it was not pre-eminent as it vied  with precious other cults for prominence. Also, until the time of Moses, the Cult of the Aten in Egypt was in practice focused solely on Marduk. It was Moses who took it to another level, a focus predominantly on Nibiru, and to yet another radical, drastic level. What was this?

NEXT WEEK:   MOSES ALIENATES EGYPTIAN PRIESTHOOD

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A “Virgin” Conceives

2nd March 2021
IT’S THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, STUPID

Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph

To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua  (Jesus in Greek) III.

Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC.  He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.

Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.

Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.

Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary.  Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.

Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans.  Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.

The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a  “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches.  Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.

The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.

Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee.  In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.

According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.

At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.

According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).

The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.

Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.

Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.

Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.

Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan.  This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June.  From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.

Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.

For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”.  In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.

Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.

That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.

The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were   turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.

Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah.  There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.

The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.

They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.”   The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.

This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.

Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the  Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:

In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.

When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.

When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.

The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.

Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.

I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.

The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.

The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.

Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.

There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.

In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.

In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with  them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees.  Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.

Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.

In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy.   The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.

The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes  “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.

Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees.     The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.

How did the Essene movement come about, General?  The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran,  about 40 km from Jerusalem.

Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.

The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue  … Since [they are] despisers of wealth –  their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.

For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”

In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of  Palestine in 63 BC,  he sought the opinion  of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In  142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic  King.

In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.

He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem.   The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.

It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the  Diaspora Essenes.

He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.

Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.

When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong  exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.

His father, Antipater,  had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in  the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a  mere figurehead king.  When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee.   Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.

As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.

There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.

The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.

Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.

When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.

In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known.  Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.

In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of  the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.

The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.

The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.

To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had  gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of  David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.

In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule.   Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.

Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.

In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles  and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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