Nibiru-focused Cult of the Aten precipitates Pharaoh’s downfall
Pharaoh Amenhotep III, Moses’s father, was renowned as a temple builder. He had a temple at Hermopolis in northern Egypt; two temples at Karnak in southern Egypt; the great Luxor temple as well as a mortuary temple at Thebes; three temples in Nubia, today’s Sudan; and at least a temple each in nearly every Canaanite city that was an Egyptian garrison town. These temples, which he started building from the second year of his reign, were dedicated to various Anunnaki (Enkite) gods.
In propagating the Cult of the Aten, Moses followed after his father: he embarked on a programme to erect temples dedicated to Aten only months after he became co-regent with his father. Two temples were built in close succession, one within the very precincts of the Amen-Ra temple at Thebes and another within the very courts of the Amen-Ra temple at Luxor.
In other words, what he was saying was that Amen-Ra (Marduk) and Aten (planet Nibiru) were one and the same – call it a merger. In a way, he was correct: since becoming the new Enlil, Marduk had named Nibiru after himself, so that “Ra was Marduk and the celestial Marduk was Nibiru”.
But there was a subtle difference in the way the Amen-Ra and Aten temples were architecturally oriented: whereas the Amen-Ra temples were oriented toward the sun (“Ra” meant “sun”), that is, on a southeast-northwest axis, the Aten temples were oriented away from the sun, that is, on an east-west axis.
MOSES SO ORIENTED THE ATEN TEMPLES BECAUSE WHEN NIBIRU APPROACHED, IT DID SO FROM A DIRECTION OPPOSITE TO THAT FROM WHICH THE SUN EMERGED AT SUNRISE.
Every time he presided over a major festival, Moses made it clear to the Theban priests that they were disinvited. In the fourth year of the co-regency, his father attained 30 years on the throne. The tradition was for a festival known as the Sed or Rejuvenation festival to be held on every 30th anniversary of the incumbent pharaoh. On the occasion, the pharaoh had to perform a series of fitness test to make the case that he indeed was healthy enough to continue ruling.
Thereafter, the Sed festival was celebrated every three years till the king’s death. Under Amenhotep III, there were three Sed festivals. On every such occasion, Moses decreed that no god other than Aten would be invoked, which meant that the Theban priests, who for one reason or the other did not recognise Aten, would be totally quiet.
In order to reinforce the fact that he was Nibiru-oriented, Moses erected a special monument at his Karnak temple to honour the Ben-Ben – THE FIRST OBELISK (four-sided, tapering stone pillar which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top). The Ben-Ben was the space vehicle which Marduk was said to have used when he first came to Earth from planet Nibiru.
THEN IN THE 5TH YEAR OF THE CO-REGENCY, MOSES CHANGED HIS PHARAONIC TITLE, FROM AMENHOTEP IV TO AKHENATEN, MEANING “SERVANT OR WORSHIPPER OF ATEN”.
MOSES ESTABLISHES “NIBIRU CITY”
It goes without saying that the Theban priests were madly incensed by the disparaging way Moses was treating them and his attempt at practically replacing their age-old religion with a new one. It was not necessarily about the acceptability of Aten worship: Marduk, their principal god, was also known as the Aten.
It was about upstaging them as the custodians and exponents of Egyptian spirituality. What they preached to the people was that a god had to be familiar and sentient – a flesh-and-blood god who could be seen, as all the Anunnaki gods were. The deceased god Osiris was the only exception but he had a living representative – his son Horus, so that Osiris was worshipped through Horus: the father was worshipped through the son, very much an echo of the gospels.
The Aten, on the other hand, was nothing more than a celestial body – a planet. It was absurd to worship a planet. Even if the Aten represented King Anu, “Our father Who Art In Heaven”, Anu was not exactly a friend of the Egyptian priests: he was believed to favour the Enlilites at the expense of the Enkites. Anu and the Enlilites were of Sirian heritage, whereas Enkites were of Orion heritage. It explained why in Egypt, the Queen of Orion, Anu’s ceremonial wife, took precedence over Anu. Both Isis and Nut, the female Egyptian goddesses, bore names that constituted some of the many titles of the Orion Queen.
With mounting priestly antipathy toward Moses, his mother Tiye persuaded him to leave Thebes and settle in a completely new city of his own, a rival, so to speak, to Thebes, a place that had never been dedicated to any god. There, his followers would be free to worship Aten. Moses took heed and in the fourth year of the co-regency, he set about establishing a new political and religious centre on the east bank of the Nile right within southern Egypt.
This was about halfway between Thebes and modern Cairo. He called the city Akhet-Aten, meaning, “Aten of the Horizon”, clear-cut homage to planet Nibiru. This is modern Tell El Armana. It took four years for Armana to be complete. At Armana, Moses also built a new temple, which he called the Gempaaten, meaning “The Aten is found in the Gleaming Estate of the Aten”. A huge building filled with tables for offerings to Aten, it consisted of six rectangular courts. Outside the great temple in the southeast corner was the house of Panehesy the Chief Priest.
Moses relocated to Armana in the 8th year of the co-regency and decreed that no god other than Aten would be worshipped or venerated in his city. Just uttering the name Amen-Ra was forbidden: it didn’t matter that the two names were interchangeable though Amen-Ra projected Marduk as a Sun God whereas Aten projected him as the personification of the planet Nibiru.
ATEN CULT TAKES SHAPE
The way Moses proceeded about embedding the Cult of the Aten in the psyche of his people was gradual rather than precipitate. He went about this in stages. Writes Ahmed Osman in his book CHRISTIANITY: ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION: “Early representations of Aten showed the deity as of human shape with the head of a falcon, surmounted by a solar disc, in keeping with the conventional way gods were depicted in Egyptian art.
At the end of the second year, or early in the third, of the co-regency, an important development took place in this representation. The human figure vanished. Only a golden disc appeared, whose rays descended over the king and queen as well as over the temple, altar and palace. This golden disc did not represent the sun but was the symbol of Aten, who had no physical image. The rays, in their turn, were not the endless rays of the sun.
They ended in hands, and the hands held the ankh—the Egyptian cross, a symbol of life, not death—before the nostrils of the king and queen. To indicate the kingly statues of Aten, a uraeus (cobra) hung from the disc in the same way as a uraeus adorned the brow of the king. At the same time the name and epithet of the God was placed inside two cartouches, matching the manner in which the ruling king's name was written.
“Toward the end of Year 9 of Akhenaten (Moses) the name of Aten received a new form to rid it of any therio-anthropomorphic (worshipping a god presented in a form combining animal and human elements) or pantheistic (heathen worship of all gods) aspect that may have clung to it as a result of the hieroglyphic (symbolic) use of images. The falcon symbol used to spell the name Ra-Harakhti, which in this form would represent the Sun-God, was changed to abstract signs.
Thus the word ‘Ra’ no longer represented the god of Heliopolis (Marduk) but achieved a new abstract meaning, ‘The Lord’… The new form of the God's name read: "Ra (The Lord), the Living Ruler of the Horizon, in His Name the Light which is in Aten." Note Osman’s characterisation of the term “The Lord” as “abstract”. Clearly, Osman hadn’t done his homework thoroughly here, for had he consulted the Sumerian records, he would have come to know that “THE LORD” WAS ANOTHER NAME FOR PLANET NIBIRU. Moses’s focus was no longer on Marduk per se but on the planet he represented – Nibiru.
MOSES RUNS RIOT AS SOLE PHARAOH
Amenhotep III ruled Egypt together with Moses during the last 12 years of his life, though it was Moses who was the real ruler. After being Pharaoh for a total of just under 40 years, Amenhotep III passed away and Moses was installed as the sole pharaoh. He had two separate coronations, one at Thebes in southern Egypt, where he wore the HEDJET, a white crown, and another at Memphis in northern Egypt, where he wore the DESHRET, a red crown.
Scenes in the Amarna tombs show him receiving gifts from foreign dignitaries. THE ACCESSION OF MOSES TO THE EGYPTIAN THRONE MARKED THE GENESIS OF THE RULE OF A SUCCESSION OF FOUR PHARAOHS WHO BECAME KNOWN AS THE AMARNA KINGS.
By this time, Moses already had four daughters. Indeed, on the lintel of the doorway in the tomb of Huya (steward of Tiye, Moses’mother ), there’s a captioned painting of Moses (under his Egyptian name Akhenaten) and Nefertiti with their four daughters, and on the right Amenhotep III, his wife Tiye, and his youngest princess Baketaten. Moses would eventually have six daughters with Nefertiti.
Part-evidence of Moses’ Hebrew origins can be deduced from his appointment of a man with Hebrew-sounding name as his chief minister. This was Aperel, a former high priest. “Aper” is the Egyptian word for “Hebrew” and “el” is the shortened form of “Elohim”, what the Hebrews called the Anunnaki’s ruling pantheon. “The tomb of Aper-el,” writes Ahmed Osman, “is the first evidence we have of a link between a pharaoh and someone of Hebrew stock living in Egypt during his reign.”
Now that he was the sole ruler of Egypt, Moses upped the ante in the enforcement of the Cult of the Aten. That he was an Atenist to the core can easily be gleaned from his 5-Fold Titulary – the mandatory minimum of 5 titles a pharaoh was supposed to bear. All except one had the term Aten in them. They were "Beloved of Aten"; "Great of Kingship in Akhet-Aten"; "Exalter of the Name of Aten"; and Akhenaten itself. The only title that was a direct to tribute to Marduk was Neferkheperure-Waen-Re, meaning “the Unique One of Ra”.
Moses moved fast to accentuate the Cult of the Aten. First, he declared Aten as the only god of Egypt and the only god of planet Earth and abolished the worship of any other god. Second, he declared himself Aten’s only prophet. Moses increasingly referred to himself as “the god’s prophet-son”, one “who came forth from the god’s body,” and to whom alone the deity’s plans were revealed. “There is no other that knoweth thee except thy son Akhenaten,” he bragged in song. “Thou hast made him wise in thy plan.”
But there was more. Ahmed Osman: “He closed all the temples, except those of Aten, dispersed the priests and gave orders that the names of other deities should be expunged from monuments and temple inscriptions throughout the country. Units were dispatched to excise the names of the ancient gods, particularly Amun, wherever they were found written or engraved. Even the plural word NETARU for gods was proscribed.”
Referring to the same religious repression at the hands of Pharaoh Moses, a Karnak temple stele reads thus: “Now when His Majesty (Moses) appeared as King, the temples of the gods and goddesses from Elephantine down to marshes of the Delta had gone to pieces. Their shrines had become desolate, had become mounds overgrown with weeds. Their sanctuaries were as if they had never been.
Their halls were footpaths. The land was topsy-turvy, and the gods turned their backs upon this land. If the army was sent to Djahi (Palestine-Syria) to extend the frontiers of Egypt, no success of theirs came at all. If one prayed to a god to seek counsel from him, he would never come at all. If one made supplication to a goddess similarly, she would never come at all.” Moses, folks, was killing people to get them to discard their gods and embrace his own, Aten, like a jihadist. Religious persecution comes a long way folks. This Earth, My Brother …
MOSES AND AARON ARE CO-PHARAOHS
It goes without saying that the Draconian measures Moses took to enforce the Cult of the Aten did not sit well with the Theban priesthood, who as the country’s religious authorities had enormous sway over the Egyptian masses. In fact, what made it possible for Moses to stay in power for 17 years was the loyalty of the army. The army was under the command of Ephraim (Aye to Egyptians), Joseph’s second-born son and Moses’ maternal uncle. But there’s a limit to which even one’s own flesh-and-blood can protect them.
The religious authorities, who resented the fact that Moses had usurped their role as the primary custodians of spirituality in Egypt, set about inciting the equally disaffected ranks of the army to depose Moses. Receiving intelligence to that effect, General Ephraim had no option but to seek an audience with Moses. The priests were untouchable: it was Moses who just had to toe the line and not the other way round.
Ephraim was concerned that if Moses was to be overthrown, that would be the end of their clan as Josephites. As important, it would bring to an end the Enlilites’ designs to bring Egypt in their sphere of influence. Already, there were vociferous calls from the body politic for Moses to step down forthwith and hand over power to whoever was next in line. That was the proposition General Ephraim put to the now beleaguered Moses.
Ever the headstrong man, Moses refused to vacate the throne and counter-proposed that for the sake of placating his myriads of detractors, he would rather go for a co-regency with a royal family member of his choice. Now, Moses had at least five wives. Ideally, the heir should have come from his Great Wife Nefertiti, but she only gave him daughters. So he settled for the eldest son by his second wife Khiya. This was Tutankhaten. At the time though, Tutankhaten was only 8 years of age and therefore was too young to be a co-leader. The person Moses thus proposed was Smenkhkare.
Smenkhkare (Smenkhkaraon in full) was the son of Ephraim and his Hebrew and Jacobite wife Tey. Since Ephraim was a brother to Moses’mother Tiye, it meant Smenkhkare and he were first cousins. Moses and Smenkhkare, having been born only 2-3 years apart, were nursed together by Tey at Tiye’s summer palace at Zaru. Indeed, in the tomb she shared with her husband, Tey is described as “the great nurse, nourisher of the god (Pharaoh Moses), adorner of the King (Moses)”.
TO MOSES, THEREFORE, TEY WAS A HONORARY MOTHER AND SMENKHKARE WAS A VIRTUAL BROTHER. It explains why in the Old Testament, Smenkhkare, who is called Aaron (a truncation of his full Egyptian name), is referred to as Moses’ brother.
Moses not only was close to Aaron but he reposed a great deal of trust in him. The moment he appointed him as co-regent, which was in the 15th year of his reign, he offered him his eldest daughter, Meritaten. For about a year, Aaron and Meritaten lived in the Armana palace with Moses, after which they relocated to Thebes. There, Aaron was caught in the powerful orbit of the Theban priesthood and before long, he had begun to reverse Moses’ religious reforms but only in Thebes alone – where he built a new temple to the national god Marduk – and not in the whole of Egypt.
MOSES FLEES EGYPT
The co-regency between Moses and Aaron by no means appeased the Theban priests. Aaron, who was more inclined to the status quo ante of the pre-Moses years, was still overshadowed by Moses: he only had jurisdiction, effectively, in Thebes. The priests wanted Moses to cede power wholly to Aaron and they made that clear to General Ephraim.
Confronting Moses, Ephraim did not mince words: he was categorical that sentiment against the pharaoh in the country was such that when push came to shove, he could not guarantee his safety as army general. Moses therefore had no option but to climb down from his pedestal.
Initially, Moses refused to step down. He dug in his heels for another two years or so, at which time signs became more than apparent that a revolution was brewing in the country and word reached the Armana palace that whether Moses left the throne voluntarily or otherwise, he was a marked man anyway. A mutiny soon was abroad in the land. “It is clear that in his Year 17, Akhenaten faced an army rebellion led by Horemheb, Pa-Ramses and Seti,”writes Ahmed Osman.
“General Aye, supported by General Nakht Min, but unable to crush the rebellion, made a deal with them to allow the abdication of Akhenaten and the appointment of his young son.” Thus driven to the wall, Moses finally capitulated, whereupon Ephraim and Aaron immediately made arrangements for him to be spirited out of Egypt. Once he was safely out of the country, Aaron was crowned as the sole pharaoh but in a stand-in-capacity as the rightful heir, Tutankhaten, was snapping at his heels.
The Bible’s version of events is that Moses was forced to flee Egypt when a bounty was put on him by the pharaoh after he killed an Egyptian who was altercating with a Hebrew slave. That is pure fiction. Moses was a pharaoh and he left Egypt to escape a violent ouster of he himself on account of his wayward religious reforms and his sidelining of the deathly influential Theban priesthood.
It is the Old Testament itself which says, “Moses was very great in the land of Egypt” (EXODUS 11:3). Sadly, it fails, or rather, omits, by deliberate design, to showcase just how great Moses was. Thankfully, we have the Egyptian records, which lay bare the fact that Moses was a great man in Egypt primarily because he was Pharaoh.
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.
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!
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.