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A Fiscus in the Desert

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

 Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the Exodus, institutes first Jewish exchequer

Having ordained the Aaronic priesthood through the agency of Moses, Ishkur-Adad, the Anunnaki Jehovah of the Exodus, now proceeded to the next step. HE DECIDED TO INSTITUTE THE FIRST FORMAL WORSHIP SERVICE FOR  THE NATION OF ISRAEL. This was the beginning of Judaism proper.

Thus far, the Hebrews had never had  a dedicated, national  religion of their own.  They had no  temple or any other such own-nurtured place of religious gathering. That did not mean they were religiously indifferent.  In Egypt, for instance, they had worshipped non-Enlilite gods – called idols in the Bible. Indeed,  the prophet Ezekiel admonishes them for doing just that (EZEKIEL 20:4-12) and Joshua also lambasts them for indulging in the same reprehensible practice in their formative days in ancient India in  Abraham’s father Terah’s time (JOSHUA 24:2).

But this was simply a pull factor, a kind of sidetrack. It was a case of catching the lurge, of being influenced by the factor of propinquity. It is natural for any minority population to assume tendencies and predilections of the dominant people in the broader society. In fact, in the majority of cases, Israelites, particularly when they were in Egypt, hardly mingled with Egyptians religiously: they simply kept symbolic images of Egyptian gods for whom they had an affinity.  Their religion was for the most part private and domestic as opposed to being brash and institutional.

The closest Israelites had to a formal religion of their own was in the form of altars. All their patriarchs – Noah, Abraham, Isaac – erected an altar to their god. Altars, however,  were not  worship settings: they were impermanent platforms for   sacrifices (slaughtered animals) and offerings  (grain, wine, bread, etc) to a god. Certainly,   the Hebrew word translated altar connotes slaughter, as in sacrifice. Writes one savant on the subject: “The term altar comes from old English, possibly also related to a Latin word ADOLARE that means to burn up.

In the Hebrew tradition, the word is MIZBE’AKH – and its root is ZAVAKH, which means slaughter, as in a sacrifice.” Some altars were not places of sacrifice as such,  but were simply   monuments or memorials to commemorate a great act done,  or a promise rendered, by a  god. Jacob built one such altar at Shechem (GENESIS 33:19,20) and Moses had only recently done so right in the Arabian wilderness to toast to Adad following the Israelites’ “miraculous” repulsion of the provocative Amalekites after a three-day war (EXODUS 17:15,16).

Thus,  whereas in the past the Jews had revered their gods in an informal,  make-shift kind of way,  Adad now decided it was time they  did so permanently and as a matter of  routine in a formal assembly. This was to be known as the Tabernacle. There,  he would meet them in a symbolic sense and they  would worship him with all the religious protocol that entailed.  The Tabernacle would be “God’s” dwelling place so to speak, a place where he would interface with his chosen people. The Tabernacle foreshadowed the more permanent Temple that would be built when the Israelites were firmly ensconced in Canaan.  

COMPOSITION OF THE TABERNACLE

The Tabernacle went by several names. It was variously called a Sanctuary; a Tent of Meeting; a Tabernacle of the Testimony; or the Tabernacle of the Congregation.  According to EXODUS 25:9, Adad was so determined to get exactly what he wanted that HE PROVIDED MOSES WITH A SCALE MODEL OF THE TABERNACLE, AN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN. But the  actual construction of the Tabernacle was assigned to two crack artisans, Benzaleel  of the tribe of Judah and Aholiab of the tribe of Dan.

Although the specifications of the Tabernacle are elaborate and rigorous, it was not unique. It was a throwback to Egypt. Both the architecture of the Tabernacle and its surrounding courtyard more or less mirrored the battle tent of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. There were three main sections of the structure. These were the Tabernacle proper; the courtyard; and the altar.   The Tabernacle proper was subdivided into two rooms: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

The courtyard was the preserve only of the Jews and proselytes, the latter being non-Jews who had converted to the Jewish faith by undergoing circumcision.  In the courtyard was found the bronze water basin, where the High Priest (Aaron) and the chief priests (his four sons) would thoroughly wash their hands and feet before they entered the Tabernacle or approached the altar with a food offering, and the altar itself.

It is ironic that the Tabernacle is called a Tent when it was actually a covered timber building. Clearly, it was not as easily portable as it is billed in Exodus. It is said when the Israelites wanted to shift camp,  they took the  Tabernacle down and carried all its constituent parts  to the new locale. It must have taken them weeks to have the Tabernacle systematically dismantled. 

The material inputs that went into the construction of the Tabernacle were gold, silver, bronze, shittim wood, goat hair, the skins of hides, rams, and sea cows, and yarn that had been dyed blue, purple, and scarlet. Exodus says both the metals and hides/skins were supplied by the Nation of Israel themselves, the metals from the hoarded “loot” which they had tactfully swindled  the Egyptians out of before they embarked on the great trek into the Arabian wilds. This was basically stolen treasures used as raw materials in the construction of “God’s House”!

The altar, where animals were sacrificed, is prescribed in EXODUS 20:21, which says,  “An altar of earth you shall make to me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings, and your peace offerings, your sheep, and your oxen …” Altars in the Hebrew Scriptures were constructed of earth, stone, wood and/or metal.

The altar had a particularly intriguing characteristic. Its most sacred parts were the “horns” protruding from its four corners. It was to these four horns that the blood of the sin offering was applied.  What do horns stand for in Illuminati imagery? The Devil, as evinced by the ubiquitous El Diablo (Devil’s horns) hand signal flashed by famous personages in practically every picture our eyes happen to light upon. This particular altar was made of pure gold and acacia wood, which was extravagant: why make a platform whose only purpose was to roast animals out of  gold, the priciest commodity?  But since the altar represented Lucifer, the real god of the Enlilites,  this is not surprising at all. His meal table had to be adorned with gold to fit his stature and standing.

Whilst the Tabernacle was being built,  Moses meanwhile met with Adad in the Tent of Meeting, a provisional arrangement.  “As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses,” says EXODUS 33:7,9. Once the Tabernacle was up and running, the Tent became redundant though the Tabernacle too continued to be loosely referred to as the Tent of Meeting. 

DEVIL HONOURED IN SANCTUARY’S HOLY OF HOLIES

The various sections of the Tabernacle were to be furnished with accoutrements particular to them. For the Holy of Holies, these were the Ark of the Covenant, the Table of the Presence, and the Golden Lampstand.  Since we will dwell on the first two in detail next time around,  we will at this juncture devote to unpacking the Golden Lampstand, also known as the Menorah.

The Golden Lampstand comprised of seven branches, each supporting an olive oil lamp. Its ostensible purpose was to illuminate the Holy of Holies so that it had clear visibility on the occasion the High Priest stepped in there. But you will be aware by now that Illuminati trappings invariably have several layers of meaning. The surface layer, which is intended for the wider public, is the least important. It is the underlying layers, meant for fellow Illuminati elements, which carry the fundamental message.

The Golden Lampstand represented occultic illumination, not necessarily the needed environmental lighting. At every Satanic gathering, there’s always a form of light. Even in musical videos shot by mega stars of the American entertainment industry, there’s always a bit of light lingering in the background. To the Illuminati, light is the primordial symbol of Lucifer for Lucifer is the light bringer, the term light here employed in the sense of privileged occultic and metaphysical knowledge and not general knowledge.

The number 7 is also numerologically significant. Primarily, it was at once the number of Earth (being the seventh planet counting from Pluto) and Jehovah-Enlil in his capacity as Earth’s Chief Executive pre- the astrological Age of Aries.  BUT THE ILLUMINATI ARE VERY CLEVER OPERATORS. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THEY USE REVERSE SYMBOLISM SO THAT WHAT THE MAINSTREAM ASSUME IS THE PRIMARY MEANING OF A CERTAIN EMBLEM IS ACTUALLY NULLIFIED (for instance, they use an inverted cross to desecrate Jesus and therefore mock Christendom). That way, they are less liable to give the game away.

The number 7 is in some contexts (such as in the Golden Lampstand case) a bow to the planet Saturn and therefore to Satan himself as Saturn is the Devil’s Solar System bastion. Saturn is the 7th major celestial body in the Solar System counting from and including the Sun.     It is a pity that in the Book of Revelation, the Golden Lampstand is presented as an image of the Church. UNBEKNOWNST TO MOST CHRISTIANS, WHAT THAT SUGGESTS IS THAT THE CHURCH IS ACTUALLY PRESIDED OVER NOT BY   JESUS OR FIRST SOURCE BUT BY THE DEVIL. It is the Devil who struts the pulpit folks.

It explains why the Golden Lampstand imagery is a constant feature in every Catholic parish, and we know the nature of  interdimensional forces the Vatican represents. It also explains why these days, all sorts of outrageous  deeds are being perpetrated by  pastors of the so-called Fire churches in the name of “God” without shame or scruple.

This litany of iniquities include flagrant adultery and sexual snacking; false prophesying; bogus healings which do not endure; theatrical laying of hands; felling desperate members of the audience  under the pretext of the “power of the Holy Spirit” (when all what that does is introduce demonic spirits in the hapless victim); getting people to eat grass and consume the deadly Doom spray;  sacrificing of prominent members of the church or a critical mass of congregants by way of  road “accidents” (read: “spell-casting”) and collapsed buildings; outright paedophilia, which has now become a staple of the Catholic church;  pimping teenage girls to the pastor and other senior members in the church hierarchy; using church members slavishly and imbecilically  moving on all fours as a stage prop;  and  the flaunting of blood-stained,  ill-gotten, Lucifer-enabled riches.  This Earth, My Brother …

ADAD’S SAFETY AND SECURITY TAX

If you thought religion was essentially spiritual and innocuous, then I’m afraid you are living in Cloudy Cuckoo Land. Religion’s main  purpose is to stunt mankind’s progress as a spirit-soul, to distract us from focusing on our inner, higher self as only that can bring about true real salvation. The Kingdom of God is within you, not outside of you, as Jesus truthfully put it.

But there is more: religion is a subtle, sleight-of-hand means to economic ends. It is about self-aggrandisement at the expense of the hopelessly naïve and gullible “flock”.  The famous – or is it infamous – Black   American tele-evangelist TD Jakes is on record as gleefully admitting that “religion makes for  good business”. And he can prove it: according to the Forbes magazine list of wealthiest pastors on the globe, TD Jakes has – Praise the Lord! – a net worth of $147 million as of the “year of our Lord” 2018, making him the richest propagator of the gospel on Earth.

Of course TD Jakes has a broad-based portfolio of investments,  but what set him up was the financial windfall accruing from the tithes and offerings of the stupidly unsuspecting people who  cram the pews when he’s belting out his “calling”. Yet he’s far from the odd one out: members of the Levitical priesthood were just as wealthy. The High Priest was filthy rich folks.  The priesthood was just as corrupt those days as the clergy of our day are (when in AD 66 the Zealots ejected the Romans, the first person to be put to the sword was the High Priest, who they regarded as the paradigm of a looting collaborator). 

Remember, the Temple was the very heartbeat and lifeblood of the Jewish economy. All economic life was centred around the Temple. One of the sources of the priesthood’s wealth was Temple Tax. Temple Tax was introduced by Moses, at the say-so of Ishkur-Adad right at Mount Sinai.  It served two principal purposes. First, it was meant for the upkeep of the Temple and the subsistence of the priesthood. This is the role you hear the pastor eagerly preach about  because it sounds very godly and bolsters his own economic cause.

What the pastor will not tell you is that Temple Tax was also A RANSOM FOR THE PAYER, A MEANS BY WHICH HE OR SHE PAID FOR HIS WELLBEING AS A PROTÉGÉ OF HIS GOD. This was most obvious in its other form, which we can call Census Tax but which was actually Safety and Security Tax. Census Tax applied to men who were 20 years and above, who were under obligation to serve in the army.  For “God” to guarantee the general wellbeing of service men, he had to be bribed. Otherwise, he would visit a plague on the whole nation even if only a few people were in default.

The ordinary Jew paid Temple Tax once every year. For service men, they paid it every time a census was conducted as censuses those days were done to establish how many people were eligible for enlistment into the war effort. This is what Adad says in EXODUS 30:11-16 (the emphasis is ours):  “When you take the census of the people of Israel, THEN EACH SHALL GIVE A RANSOM FOR HIS LIFE TO THE LORD when you number them, that THERE BE NO PLAGUE AMONG THEM when you number them.

Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary, half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, SHALL GIVE THE LORD’S OFFERING. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord’s offering TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR YOUR LIVES …”

In the above statement, Adad accentuates the fact that Temple Tax was an atonement – a payment made by the Nation of Israel so as to forestall a calamity of sorts and therefore insure their lives.  The Anunnaki gods never ever rendered a favour or blessing for free. The other thing Adad stresses is that every time a census was held, ransom money had to be collected from everybody counted. To neglect collecting the ransom was a very serious offense against the god and invited very serious repercussions as was the experience of King David (1 CHRONICLES 21 and   2 SAMUEL 24).

Adad instructed David to take a census of all the tribes of Israel. David did likewise but for reasons that are not spelt out, he omitted to collect the Census Tax. Adad was livid as a great economic opportunity was passed up. He had Gad, a prophet, confront David for this transgression and read the riot act to the King. The King was asked to choose one of three reprisals.

They were three years of famine, three months of a tempestuous military onslaught by enemy nations, or three days of a holocaust-like plague. David chose the latter. The short-lived plague, which is not specified, laid waste to 70,000 Israelites. For having his money-centred god incur an incalculable economic loss, David had to lose 70,000 of his people. Human life was so cheap to these barbarous Anunnaki gods.

MORE  ANIMAL SACRIFICE, MORE BLOOD-LETTING

At long last, Aaron and his four sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar were consecrated for “God’s” service by Moses on the instructions of Adad. This commissioning into elemental priestly service was a bloody affair. Besides having  Aaron and his four sons wash in water (to publicly demonstrate that they were not physically tainted in any way, shape or form) and anointing Aaron as High Priest, it involved animal sacrifice and literally  dousing  the five priests in animal blood.  

The animals involved were one bull and two rams in a three-phase, week-long ceremony. The one involving the bull was a sacrifice of purification – to cleanse the priests of any lingering sin that might render them unfit to represent the people before “God”.  The bull was consumed by fire, first on the altar within the Tabernacle yard and finally outside it. The second sacrifice involved having a ram burnt to a cinder right on the altar. 

The third sacrifice was of the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons first laid their hands on the ram. Then once it was slaughtered, its blood was first smeared on three areas of the body. These were the ears (to signal unquestioned obedience to Adad); the right hand (to signal devoted service to Adad in the manner of a right-hand man); and the right foot (to signal an abiding, lockstep philosophical  walk with Adad). The rest of the blood was then sprinkled on the altar as well as over the priestly garments of the quintet. 

The ram of ordination was not totally consumed by fire: only a part of it as the rest was spared as a meal for Aaron and his sons  – to herald the fact that the priesthood were to be fed on the offerings from the rest of the population as recompense for their  dedicated service to God. Note the symbolism of the animals chosen for sacrifice. Both the ram (signifying the astrological Age of Aries) and the bull (representative of the Egyptians’ Apis Bull)   were emblematic of Marduk, the Enlilites’ arch-enemy who was Earth’s sitting Chief Executive. 

It was all occultism folks: what you kill (through shedding of blood) and eat you assimilate and consequently enhance  your own occultic powers with its life force,  which is eternal. Also note the occultic hallmarks of blood and death in the whole process. This is very much an echo of a Satanic setting. And you say the Old Testaments gods were “holy”? C’mmon, give me a break dude.

 
NEXT WEEK:   THE ARK TAKES SHAPE

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A “Virgin” Conceives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

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

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

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

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

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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