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.
A case can be made, General Atiku, that history’s most infamous Roman is Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who condemned Jesus, the “Son of God”, to the most cruel, most barbaric, and most excruciating of deaths – crucifixion – and cowardly at that as the gospels attest for us.
Yet the exact circumstances under which the crucifixion took place and what followed thereafter far from jells with what is familiarly known. The fact of the matter was that there was a lot of political wheeling and dealing and boldfaced corruption on the part both of the Jewish authorities and the Roman establishment in the person of Pontius Pilate. In this piece, we attempt, General, to present a fuller photo of Pilate as the centre of the whole machination.
Pilate’s historicity, General, is not in doubt. In 1961, an Italian archeologist unearthed a limestone block at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which as of 6 AD was the Roman seat of government as well as the military headquarters. The block bore the inscription, “Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated this Temple to the divine Augusti” (that is, then Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his wife Livia).
Pilate also gets varying degrees of mention in the works of Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD); the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and chronicler Philo of Alexandria (25 BC to 50 AD); and the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD).
Although his year of death (37 AD) is documented, his year of birth is a matter of conjecture, General. He came from the Pontii tribe (hence the name Pontius), a tough, warlike people. The Pontii tribe was of the equestrian class, the second-tier in the Roman caste system. Originally, the equestrians were those Romans with ample pocket power to bribe their way to knightly ranks in the Roman army. Pilate was born to Marcus Pontius, who had distinguished himself as a general in Rome’s military campaigns.
Following one of his particularly sterling military exploits, Marcus was awarded with the Pilum (javelin), a Roman decoration of honour for heroic military service. To commemorate this medal of valour, the family took the name Pilati, rendered Pilate in English and Pilatus in Latin.
The son, Lucius Pontius Pilate, also distinguished himself as a soldier in the German campaigns of Germanicus, a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. Thanks to his scintillating military profile coupled with strategic connections in the hierarchies of the Roman government, Pilate was able to wend his way into the heart of Claudia, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and ruler from 27 BC to 14 AD.
Claudia’s mother was Julia the Elder, who was also the biological mother of the apostles John and James. When Claudia was about 13 years of age, Julia sent her to Rome to be reared in the courts of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, to whom Julia was once married from 11 BC to 6 BC.
Although Tiberius was not the biological father of Claudius, General, he gladly acquiesced to being her foster father in deference to the memory of her late grandfather Caesar Augustus. Pilate arrived in Rome when Claudia was sixteen years of age. In AD 26, the two tied the knot. Needless to say, it was a marriage based not on love as such but on political opportunism.
The high-placed connection who facilitated Pontius Pilate’s smooth landing into the inner sanctums of Rome’s royalty and put him on a pedestal that saw him take pride of place in the cosmic gallery of rogues was Aelius Sejanus. Like Pilate, Sejanus came from the subordinate equestrian class, who would never be eligible for a seat in the Senate, the legislative council of ancient Rome.
Sejanus, however, had over time become Emperor Tiberius’ most trusted lieutenant and to the point where he was the de facto prime minister. He had been commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Special Forces unit created by Augustus Caesar as a personal security force, which developed under Sejanus’ command into the most significant presence in Rome.
In AD 26, the emperor was not even based in Rome: he had confined himself to the 10.4 km2 island of Capri, about 264 km from Rome, and left control of Rome and the government of the Roman Empire to Sejanus. It was Sejanus who recommended the appointment of Pilate as prefect, or governor/procurator of Judea. The appointment was pronounced right on the occasion of Pilate’s nuptials with Claudius.
Philo records that when the bridal party emerged from the temple where the marriage ceremony was celebrated and Pilate started to follow the bride into the imperial litter, Tiberius, who was one of the twelve witnesses required to attend the ceremony, held him back and handed him a document. It was the wedding present – the governorship of far-flung Judea – with orders to proceed at once to Caesarea Maritima to take over the office made vacant by the recall of Valerius Gratus.
Pilate was notified by Sejanus that a ship was in fact waiting upon him to transport him to Palestine right away. The only disadvantageous aspect about the assignment was that Pilate was to leave the shores of Rome alone, without the pleasure of spending a first night in the arms of his newly wedded wife: by imperial decree, the wives of governors were not allowed to accompany them in their jurisdictions. Pilate, however, was a royal by marriage and so this prohibition was waived. By special permission granted by His Imperial Majesty Tiberius Caesar, Claudia soon joined her husband in Judea. The wily Pilate had calculated well when he married into royalty.
A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR
The Judean perch was not prestigious though, General. The prefects of Judea were not of high social status. At least one – Felix, referenced by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles – was an ex-slave, which says a great deal on the low regard in which the province was held by Rome.
Pilate was only secondarily sent to Judea on account of having married into royalty: his posting to the volatile province stemmed, primarily, from his being of a inferior social pedigree. Be that as it may, Pilate relished the posting in that it gave him the chance to exercise power, absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and in Pilate was the archetypal example, General.
Pilate’s brief was simple: to collect taxes, maintain law and order, maintain infrastructure, and keep the population subdued. Although he was born lowly, he positively had the power of life and death over his Jewish subjects. Let us, General, listen to Josephus in his allusion to Coponius, Judea’s first Roman governor and who like Pilate was from the same subservient social class: “And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.”
Pilate, General, was callous to a point of being sadistic. He was scarcely the scrupling judge with the rare soft spot that we encounter in the gospels. Philo charges him with “corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, endless and intolerable cruelties”.
He further declares him to be a “savage, inflexible, and arbitrary ruler” who was of a “stubborn and harsh quality” and “could not bring himself to do anything that might cause pleasure to the Jews”. The essentially humane character of the Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels may not be wholly fictitious but is highly embellished, General.
Why did Pilate have such a pathological hatred of the Jews, General? Sejanus had more to do with it than the spontaneous leanings of his own nature. According to Philo, Sejanus hated the Jews like the plague and wished “to do away with the nation” – to exterminate it. In AD 19, for instance, he forced the Jews in Rome to burn their religious vestments and expelled them from the city without much ado.
For as long as Sejanus was in power, General, Pilate could do pretty much as he pleased. He didn’t have to worry about compromising reportage reaching the emperor as everything went through the implacably anti-Jewish Sejanus. Sejanus was unrivalled in power: golden statues of the general were being put up in Rome, the Senate had voted his birthday a public holiday, public prayers were offered on behalf of Tiberius and Sejanus, and in AD 31 Sejanus was named as Consul jointly with Tiberius.
The Judea posting also gave Pilate a golden opportunity to make money – lots of it. The governors of the Roman provinces were invariably rapacious, greedy, and incompetent: this we learn not only from Jewish historians of the day but from contemporary Roman writers as well such as Tacitus and Juvenal.
As long as the money skimmed from the provinces was not overly excessive, governors were allowed a free hand. It is said of Emperor Tiberius that, “Once he ordered a governor to reverse a steep rise in taxes saying, ‘I want my sheep shorn, not skinned’!” For those governors, such as Pilate, who had support from the very acmes of Roman power, General, they were practically a law unto themselves.
PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED
Pontius Pilate, General, was untrained in political office. Furthermore, he was a sycophant to the core who was prepared to go to any length in a bid to curry favour with and prove his loyalty to the powers that be in Rome. Both these attributes gave rise to a series of blunders that brought him the intense hatred of the Jews.
The first abomination he committed in the eyes of the Jews, General, was to set up a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, which he called the Tiberieum, making him the only known Roman official to have built a temple to a living emperor. True, Roman emperors were worshipped, but Tiberius was the one exception. According to the Roman scholar and historian Suetonius, Tiberius did not allow the consecration of temples to himself. Pilate’s act therefore, General, was an overkill: it was not appreciated at all.
Throughout his tenure, General, Pilate had a series of run-ins with the Jews, some of which entailed a lot of bloodshed and one of which sparked an insurrection that paved the way to Calvary. Then it all began to unravel, General. On October 18 AD 31, his patron Sejanus was summoned to the office of Emperor Tiberius and an angry denunciation was read out to him. It is not clear, General, what caused Sejanus’ fall from the emperor’s good graces but circumstantial evidence points to the perceived threat to the emperor’s power.
As the ancient historian Cassius Dio puts it, “Sejanus was so great a person by reason both of his excessive haughtiness and of his vast power that to put it briefly, he himself seemed to be the emperor and Tiberius a kind of island potentate, inasmuch as the latter spent his time on the island of Capri.” Sejanus, hitherto the most powerful man in Rome, General, was thrown into a dungeon.
That same evening, he was summarily condemned to death, extracted from his cell, hung, and had his body given over to a crowd that tore it to pieces in a frenzy of manic excitement. His three children were all executed over the following months and his wife, Tiberius’ own daughter, committed suicide. The people further celebrated his downfall by pulling his statues over. Meanwhile, General, Tiberius began pursuing all those who could have been involved in the “plots” of Sejanus.
In Judea, Pilate, a Sejanus appointee, must have been badly shaken, General. Were his friends and family under suspicion? Would he be purged like others? Imperial attitudes to the Jewish race seemed to have changed now with the riddance of Sejanus. Tiberius made sure this was the case by appointing a new governor for Syria (who went by the title Legate and to whom Pilate was obligated to report).
The governor, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, arrived in Rome in AD 32. Philo records that Tiberius now “charged his procurators in every place to which they were appointed to speak comfortably to the members of our nation in the different cities, assuring them that the penal measures did not extend to all but only to the guilty who were few, and to disturb none of the established customs but even to regard them as a trust committed to their care, the people as naturally peaceable and the institution as an influence promoting orderly conduct.”
So Pilate, General, had lost his supporters at the top, his new boss was on his doorstep, and there had been a change of policy regarding the very people he was in charge of. Surely, he would have to watch his step. The fact of the matter, however, General, was that he hardly did so. In November 32 AD, for instance, he provoked a mini-uprising by the Zealots led by Judas Iscariot, Theudas Barabbas, and Simon Zelotes. It was this revolt, General, that culminated in those three “crosses” of Calvary that are indelibly etched on the mind of every Christian.
Until as recently as the 1980s a career often meant a job for life within a single company or organisation. Phrases such as ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, ‘the glass ceiling’, ‘wage slave’ & ‘the rat race’ were thrown about, the analogies making clear that a career path was a toxic mix of a war of attrition, indentured drudgery and a Sisyphean treadmill.
In all cases you fought, grafted or plodded on till you reached retirement age, at which point you could expect a small leaving party, the promise of a pension and, oddly, a gift of either a clock or watch. The irony of being rewarded with a timepiece on the very day you could expect to no longer be a workday prisoner was apparently lost on management – the hands of time were destined to follow you to the grave!
Retirement was the goal at the end of the long, corporate journey, time on your hands – verifiable by your gifted time keeping device – to spend time working in the garden, playing with the grandchildren, enjoying a holiday or two and generally killing time till time killed you.
For some, retirement could be literally short-lived. The retirement age, and accompanying pension, was predicated on the old adage of three scores years and ten being the average life expectancy of man. As the twentieth century progressed and healthcare became more sophisticated, that former mean average was extended but that in itself then brought with it the double-edged sword of dementia. The longer people lived, the more widespread dementia became – one more life lottery which some won, some lost and doctors were seemingly unable to predict who would succumb and who would survive.
However, much research has been carried out on the causes of this crippling and cruel disease and the latest findings indicate that one of its root causes may lie in the former workplace – what your job entailed and how stimulating or otherwise it was. It transpires that having an interesting job in your forties could lessen the risk of getting dementia in old age, the mental stimulation possibly staving off the onslaught of the condition by around 18 months.
Academics examined more than 100,000 participants and tracked them for nearly two decades. They spotted a third fewer cases of dementia among people who had engaging jobs which involved demanding tasks and more control — such as government officers, directors, physicians, dentists and solicitors, compared to adults in ‘passive’ roles — such as supermarket cashiers, vehicle drivers and machine operators. And those who found their own work interesting also had lower levels of proteins in their blood that have been linked with dementia.
The study was carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Helsinki and Johns Hopkins University studying the cognitive stimulation and dementia risk in 107,896 volunteers, who were regularly quizzed about their job. The volunteers — who had an average age of around 45 — were tracked for between 14 and 40 years. Jobs were classed as cognitively stimulating if they included demanding tasks and came with high job control. Non-stimulating ‘passive’ occupations included those with low demands and little decision-making power.
4.8 cases of dementia per 10,000 person years occurred among those with interesting careers, equating to 0.8 per cent of the group. In contrast, there were 7.3 cases per 10,000 person years among those with repetitive jobs (1.2 per cent). Among people with jobs that were in the middle of these two categories, there were 6.8 cases per 10,000 person years (1.12 per cent).
The link between how interesting a person’s work was and rates of dementia did not change for different genders or ages.Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, from UCL, said: ‘Our findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of mental stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had experienced low mental stimulation. This suggests the average delay in disease onset is about one and half years, but there is probably considerable variation in the effect between people.’
The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, also looked at protein levels in the blood among another group of volunteers. These proteins are thought to stop the brain forming new connections, increasing the risk of dementia. People with interesting jobs had lower levels of three proteins considered to be tell-tale signs of the condition.
Scientists said it provided ‘possible clues’ for the underlying biological mechanisms at play. The researchers noted the study was only observational, meaning it cannot establish cause and that other factors could be at play. However, they insisted it was large and well-designed, so the findings can be applied to different populations.
To me, there is a further implication in that it might be fair to expect that those in professions such as law, medicine and science might reasonably be expected to have a higher IQ than those in blue collar roles. This could indicate that mental capacity also plays a part in dementia onset but that’s a personal conclusion and not one reached by the study.
And for those stuck in dull jobs through force of circumstance, all is not lost since in today’s work culture, the stimulating side-hustle is fast becoming the norm as work becomes not just a means of financial survival but a life-enhancing opportunity , just as in the old adage of ‘Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work another day in your life’!
Dementia is a global concern but ironically it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age and is the second biggest killer in the UK behind heart disease, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. So here’s a serious suggestion to save you from an early grave and loss of competencies – work hard, play hard and where possible, combine the two!
The gospels which were excluded from the official canon, the New Testament, at the Council of Nicaea are known as the Apocrypha. One of these Apocryphal works, General Atiku, is the gospel of Phillip. In this gospel, the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is openly discussed thus:
“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said unto him, why do you love her more than all of us? The Saviour answered and said to them, why do I not love you like her? … Great is the mystery of marriage, for without it the world would never have existed. Now, the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.”
It is clear from the above statement, General, that Jesus held marriage in high regard because he himself was part and parcel of it. The disciples (that is, most of them) were offended not because he and Mary were an item but because they simply did not approve of her as she was a Gentile and a commoner.
Otherwise, the kissing was not offensive at all: it was a customary expression of mutual affection between the sacred bride and groom. This we gather from the prototypically romantic Old Testament text known as The Song of Solomon, which opens with the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” As the Davidic groom, Jesus was therefore entitled to kiss Mary Magdalene as his bride.
THE FIRST MARRIAGE
In September AD 30, General Atiku, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had their First Marriage ceremony. Jesus had turned 36 in that year, the appropriate marriage age for a Davidic heir, and September was the holiest month in the Jewish calendar. Having been born irregularly himself (in the wrong month of the year because of his father Joseph’s intransigence), Jesus was determined that he himself follow the law to the letter so that his child would not suffer the same indignities as he did. The First Marriage is captured in LUKE 7:35-50.
The marriage took place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. This, General, was another name for Simon Zelotes, the stepfather of Mary Magdalene. Although Mary Magdalene is not directly named, she is described as a “sinner”. This was another term for Gentiles, as in the eyes of the Jewish God, they were unregenerate and therefore hopeless sinners. Mary Magdalene, whose mother Helena-Salome was of Syrian origin (Syro-Phoenicia to be specific), was a Gentile.
On the occasion, Mary Magdalene performed three acts on Jesus as set out in LUKE 7:38. She wept; kissed his feet; and anointed him with ointment. This is what a bride was supposed to do to her groom as clearly evinced in The Song of Solomon, a series of love poems concerning a spouse and her husband the King.
Of the three rites, perhaps it is the weeping that require elucidation, General. This was at once symbolic and sentimental. The First Marriage was simply a ceremony: the moment the ceremony was over, the husband and wife separated, that is, they lived apart until the month of December, when they came together under one roof. This was in accord with Essene stipulations for dynastic marriages, that is, those of the Davidic Messiah and the priestly Messiah.
Prior to the First Marriage, the bride was known as an Almah, meaning a betrothed Virgin. After the First Marriage ceremony, the Almah was demoted to a Sister. This was because the ensuing three-month separation meant husband and wife would not indulge in sexual activity and so the wife was as good as a sister to her husband. The imagery of Sister also being a wife is seen in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:5, where the apostle Paul refers to his wife as Sister. In ACTS 23:16, Paul’s wife is again referred to as his Sister.
Now, when the Almah became a Sister, General, she was metaphorically called a Widow, because she was being separated from her newly wedded husband. As such, she was expected to symbolically weep on account of this separation. That explains why Mary Magdalene had to weep at her first wedding. It is a pity, General, that most Christians and their clergy miss the real story so wrongly indoctrinated are they.
In December AD 30, Jesus moved in with Mary Magdalene to consummate the marriage. It was hoped that Mary would fall pregnant so that in March the following year, a Second (and final) Marriage ceremony would be held. Sadly, conception did not take place. According to Essene dynastic procreational rules, the couple had to separate again. They would reunite in December AD 31 for another try at conception.
The reason they separated was because for a dynastic heir, marriage was purely for procreation and not for recreational sex. But even that year, General, Mary did not fall pregnant, necessitating another year-long separation. What that meant was that Mary would be given one more last chance – in December AD 32, by which time Jesus would have been 38. If she did not conceive this time around, the marriage would come to an end through a legal divorce and Jesus would be free to seek a new spouse.
THE FINAL MARRIAGE
In December 32, Mary Magdalene, General, finally conceived. When Jesus was crucified therefore in April 33 AD, his wife was three months pregnant. By this time, the Second Marriage ceremony, the final one, had already taken place, this being in March. The Second Marriage is cursorily related in MATTHEW 26:6-13; MARK 14:3-9; and JOHN 12:1-8.The John version reads as follows:
“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where was Lazarus, who had died, whom he raised out of the dead; they made, therefore, to him a supper there, and Martha was ministering, and Lazarus was one of those reclining together (at meat) with him; Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.
Therefore said one of his disciples – Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who was about to deliver him up – ‘Therefore was not this ointment sold for three hundred denaries, and given to the poor?’ and he said this, not because he was caring for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and what things were put in he was carrying. Jesus, therefore, said, ‘Suffer her; for the day of my embalming she has kept it, for the poor you have always with yourselves, and me you have not always.’”
This story (also see JOHN 11:1-44) centres on four people primarily, General. They are Jesus; Lazarus; Mary; and Martha. “Mary” was actually Mary Magdalene. “Martha” was a titular name for her mother, Helena-Salome. In the Lazarus story, the two ladies are referred to as “sisters”. This denotes conventual sisters, like the Catholics refer to conventual nuns, and not sisters by blood. Helena-Salome actually headed a nunnery. By the same token, the reference to Lazarus as “brother” has a connotation akin to what Pentecostals refer to as “Brother in Christ”.
Thus, the story revolves around Jesus the groom; his bride Mary Magdalene; his father-in-law Simon Zelotes; and his mother-in-law Helena-Salome. This is a family affair folks, which provides strong hints as to the exact relationship between Jesus and Mary. The raising from the dead of a man called Lazarus, sadly, was not a miracle at all: it was a ceremonial restoration from excommunication back to the Essene governing council, which comprised of Jesus and his so-called 12 disciples.
The “Lazarus” who was thus restored was actually Simon Zelotes, at the time the most “beloved” by Jesus of the entire apostolic band, who had been demoted under circumstances relating to a Zealot uprising against Pontius Pilate. More will be said on the subject at a later stage.
The anointing of Jesus by Mary with “spikenard”, General, harps back to ancient married rituals as patently demonstrated in The Song of Solomon. This was the second time Mary had anointed Jesus, first at the First Marriage in September AD 30 AD and now at the Second Marriage in March 32 AD. On both occasions, Mary anointed Jesus whilst he sat at table.
In SONG OF SOLOMON 1:12, the bride says, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”. The anointing in the gospels was therefore an allusion to the ancient rite whereby a royal bride prepared her groom’s table. Only as the wife of Jesus and as a priestess in her own right could Mary Magdalene have anointed both the feet and head of Jesus.
The anointing in effect had two purposes: first, to seal the marriage, and second, to officially announce to the Jewish nation that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah (and not his younger brother James, who had been so promoted by John the Baptist). It all harped back to the tradition in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where Kings or Pharaohs were anointed for office (in their case with crocodile fat) by their half-sister brides.
The King’s bride actually kept the anointment substance for use for one more time – when the King died. You can now understand, General, why Jesus said “the day of my embalming she has kept it” in reference to his anointing by Mary Magdalene and why the first person to feature at the tomb of Jesus was none other than Mary Magdalene!
Three passages in the Lazarus story (in JOHN11: 1-44) are particularly telling. They are Verses 20, 28, and 29. They read as follows: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house … After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. ‘The Master is here,’ she told her, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him.” The reason Mary (Magdalene) first kept her place before proceeding to meet Jesus, General, is not supplied in the Johannine gospel.
However, the Apocryphal document which has come to be known as The Secret Gospel of Mark sheds more light, General. It explains that on the first occasion, Mary did come out to meet Jesus along with her mother Martha (Helena-Salome) but upon being rebuked by the disciples of Jesus, she repaired back to the house. Why was she lashed out at, General? Because according to the Essene matrimonial code, she was not permitted to come out of her own accord and greet her husband: she was to wait until he had given her express permission to emerge.
There is yet another element in the conduct of Mary Magdalene that has parallels with Solomon’s queen, General. In the back-and-forth romantic dialogue between the couple, the queen is referred to as a “Shulamite” (SONG OF SOLOMON 6:13). The Shulamites were from the Syrian border town of Solam and we have already seen that Mary’s first foster father, Syro the Jairus, was a Syrian, as was her mother Helena-Salome.
JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE
The marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene was vehemently opposed by most of his so-called disciples. The most vociferous on this position, General, was Judas Iscariot. The writer of the John gospel characterises Judas as a “thief” who used to pilfer alms money but that is a smear. The gospels were written post-eventual and therefore Judas’ name was already in ignominy.
His detractors therefore had a field day at sullying his character. Yet prior to the betrayal, Judas Iscariot, General, was one of the most respected figures among the Essene community. At the time of Jesus’ marriage, Judas was the second-highest ranking Essene after Simon Zelotes (that is the meaning of “Judas of Simon” in the passage quoted above, meaning “Judas the deputy of Simon”): Jesus was third, although politically he was the seniormost.
Judas opposed the marriage on grounds, primarily, that Mary Magdalene was not only a Gentile but a commoner. Judas had the right to pronounce on Jesus’ marriage because it was he who was in charge of the Essene’s order of Dan, to which Mary Magdalene belonged prior to her marriage to Jesus and therefore had the right whether to release her for marriage or retain her in the convent. Judas would rather the spikenard (the most expensive fragrance of the day, the reason it was only used by queens) was sold and the money generated donated to the Essene kitty (“the poor” was another name for Essenes: when Jesus in the Beatitudes said “blessed are the poor”, he was not referring to you and me: he meant the Essenes).
Sadly General, as high-standing as he was, Judas had no right of veto over the marriage of a Davidic heir: only Simon Zelotes had by virtue of his position as the Essene’s Pope. Simon Zelotes was Mary Magdalene’s step-father and there was no way he was going to stand in the way of the marriage of his own daughter. Moreover, Jesus had already begun to fancy himself as Priest-King.
As far as he was concerned therefore, he was at once the Davidic Messiah and the Priestly Messiah – the Melchizedek. Thus even if Simon Zelotes had perchance objected to the marriage, Jesus would have gone ahead with it anyway. It was Jesus’ highly unpopular appropriated role as the Melchizedek, General, that set him on the path to Calvary.