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A $10m Gold Chest

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

    
Moses’ Ark of the Covenant was a multi-purpose, pricey  device

The standard Temple Tax, or rather, Religious Tax, was the Half-Shekel yearly, though it was reduced to One-Third-Shekel following the Babylonian exile and reinstated to Half-Shekel during the reign of Herod the Great.   Half-Shekel was 2 Drachmas in the gospel era and is US$0.13, or P1.35, in our day at the prevailing exchange rates.

In Old Testament times it was equivalent to a day’s wages, whereas in New Testament times, it amounted to a couple of days’ wages thanks to the inescapable effects of inflation. Every Jew who was 20 years and above was subject to this levy: only Levites were exempt. The Orwellian paradigm, whereby all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others, dates back to the very days when “God” lived among his people.  

Note that the Half-Shekel was not a coin. In Moses’ day, the Israelites did not mint coins. Thus Half-Shekel simply represented a specific weight of silver and this was accepted as currency. Half-Shekel was about 6 grams of silver, which took the form of bars, bracelets, or necklaces weighed in a balance scale against a standardised and inscribed stone weight.  The worshiper received a receipt (and even “change” if he paid more, such as a full Shekel instead of a Half-Shekel) in the form of a piece of pottery or a clay tablet with the words "Paid in full" duly inscribed thereon. The Shekel coin came into being in the 6th century BC following the Babylonian captivity.  

For a brief period after the restoration of the Temple (the so-called Second Temple, which replaced the one Solomon had built but which was razed down by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC), the Jews had their own currency. Known as the Yehudi coins, they were minted in 350 BC. In truth, the Yehudi coins were not an own currency as they bore motifs commemorating the Anunnaki goddess Athena, known as Inanna-Ishtar in Sumerian times. During the Hasmonean rule, the Jews had the so-called brutah bronze coins minted but they too were adulterated with foreign symbology. 

Herod the Great and Pontius Pilate would also later mint brutah coins for the Jews but they also were tainted with tell-tale imageries of the oppressors and so were not eagerly embraced by the Jews. The first real Jewish coins, which were made from silver, were minted in AD 66 following the Zealot uprising. But they were short-lived as Roman general Titus overran Jerusalem in AD 70 and laid waste to the Temple. In AD 132, Simon Bar Khoba led an uprising against the Romans and minted new silver coins depicting the defunct Temple. The revolt was crashed three years later by the then Roman Emperor Hadrian. The next time the Jews would have their own currency was in the 20th century.

What is ironic is that throughout the pre- AD 66 series of upheavals, the main Temple currency was the Tyrian Shekel, issued circa 300 BC. The Tyrian Shekel bore the image of the patron god of Tyre, a Phoenician (Palestinian in today’s terms) domain about 150 km away from Jerusalem. The god was known as Melqart or Baal Sur, meaning Lord Sur. The Romans called him Heracles (Hercules) and the Greeks called him Apollo. In the Sumerian and Akkadian  records, he’s called Utu-Shamash.

The Jews were not aware  that it was the same Anunnaki gods playing mind games on them. So to them,   Melqart was a “pagan”  god when in truth he was the nephew of their very god Iskur-Adad. Be that as it may, the Jews  didn’t mind using a currency bearing the image of an idol god  in the hallowed precincts of the Temple primarily because the Tyrian Shekel contained the most silver – 92 percent. Economic reasons seemed to have overridden religious sanctity.     

It was the Tyrian Shekel, the dollar of the day, that sustained the bureau de  change business that thrived in the Temple’s Court of Gentiles and in which the priesthood had stakes as pilgrims who came to Jerusalem on festive occasions from all over the world and who were the Temple’s main lifeline were obliged to convert their currencies to the Tyrian Shekel for transactional purposes (tendering their tithes and buying animals for sacrifice).

Thus when Jesus stormed the Temple and  angrily set upon the money changers, turning their tables and driving their animals out with a whip, he was registering his outrage at the  spiritual hypocrisy of the Temple system. Sadly, it was this act, largely, that resulted in his crucifixion as from that point on, he was a marked man for tampering with economic mainstay of the corrupt-to-the-core priesthood.   

GOLD APLENTY IN ARK OF COVENANT

We showed in the previous article that the Tabernacle had three main constituents. These were the Tabernacle proper, the courtyard, and the altar. The duo-section Tabernacle proper comprised of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was the most sacred place in the entire structure in that it was the deity’s inner sanctum, the very dwelling place of  Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the Exodus.   Of course Adad did not physically reside in the Holy of Holies: in fact, he never set foot in there once. His permanent presence in the Holy of Holies was purely symbolic, along the lines of virtual reality.

It was in the Holy of Holies that Adad discoursed with the High Priest Aaron. Exactly how did Adad communicate with   Aaron? It was by way of the Ark of the Covenant, Adad’s symbolic  throne. “I will speak with you from above the Ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are on the Ark of Testimony, about all the orders I am giving you for the people of Israel,” Adad said in EXODUS 25:22. In other words, THE MOST IMMEDIATE PURPOSE OF  THE ARK OF THE COVENANT WAS AS A TWO-WAY WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE.

This was when Adad was not in the vicinities of the camp, for as the Bible makes clear, when Adad’s flying saucer was parked on Mount Sinai, Moses and he talked  “face to face”, which is a figure of speech really as the Enlilite gods had long made a resolution that their faces should not be seen by mankind at all since they  rotated as Yahweh and so were determined not to  expose themselves as different personages masquerading as one.   

The Ark of the Covenant was constructed by Benzeleel and Aliohab   under the supervision of Moses. Like the Tabernacle, the Ark was neither original nor unique: it very much harked back to Egypt. Says Dr Raanan Eichler of Tel Aviv University whose PhD dissertation was on the Ark and the Cherubim: “The Ark was a portable wooden chest made in typical Egyptian style, and extant chests from the ancient Near East, particularly Egypt, reveal parallels to almost every detail of the Ark as described in priestly and other biblical texts … It would seem that the Egyptian design was copied and adapted by the Hebrew tribes of the time when they created their own sacred objects.”

Dr Eichler’s assertion is a pointed one: in the  inner chamber of Pharaoh  Tutankhamun’s tomb was found the same Ark as described in the Bible, the major difference being that whereas the Biblical Ark bore images of two Cherubim across its lid, the Tutankhamun Ark bore the image of a jackal, called Anubis in ancient Egypt; hence its name the “Shrine of  Anubis”. MOSES, BENZELEEL AND ALIOHAB COULD AFFORD TO BUILD THE ARK OF THE COVENANT BECAUSE THEY HAD FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE IN EGYPT!

The Ark of the Covenant was overwhelmingly made of pure gold. EXODUS 25:10-11 says; “They (Benzeleel and Aliohab) are to make an ark of acacia-wood three-and-three-quarters feet long, two-and-a-quarter feet wide and two-and-a-quarter feet high. You are to overlay it with pure gold — overlay it both inside and outside — and put a molding of gold around the top of it.”  It was a  large chest or ornate box of acacia wood, plated on the inside and outside with pure gold.

Four gold rings were fastened to its four feet and  gold-covered poles of acacia wood were inserted into rings on each side to render it easy to carry.  The Ark’s cover or lid was a slab of pure gold, with two cherubim  of hammered gold, one at each end, facing each other, their wings spread upward and just stopping short of touching. It has been estimated that approximately 8 tons of gold, silver, and bronze went into the entire Tabernacle and its fixtures and fittings. In today’s money, the Ark of the Covenant alone would cost $10 million to replicate.

THE ARK BORE IMAGES OF AERIAL CRAFT

Exactly what were the two cherubim (plural for cherub) that faced each other on the cover of the Ark? Practically every depiction of the Ark portrays the cherubim as angels, that is, winged masculine beings. The Bible, however, simply describes them as cherubim and not angels or creatures of any kind. What were cherubim?

The term cherubim is a most misunderstood, if not deliberately distorted term even by savants of theology. Every pastor will tell you that cherubim were a class of angels, but that is simply the popular narrative: it has no basis in fact whatsoever. It is wishful or contrived thinking.   The term cherubim stemmed from the ancient Semitic term KERUB, which meant “to ride”. It is therefore rooted in the notion of transportation.  An alternative term that was synonymous with KERUB was ERUB.

It was ERUB that informed the term HOREB, the other name for Mount Sinai or any such prominent mountain range.  Mount Horeb thus simply meant “Mount of Cherubs”. That is to say, a mountain where a form of transportation, particularly aerial transportation, was typically observed.  What was this form of transportation? IT WAS ADAD’S FLYING SAUCER, JET,  OR CHOPPER, TYPICALLY REFERRED TO AS THE GLORY OF GOD IN ENGLISH VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE.

Certainly, every time the term cherubim  is encountered in the Bible, it is associated with a mobile throne (chopper, flying saucer, or simply the cockpit compartment) or with flight or locomotion in general. For instance, when Jehovah-Enlil expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (GENESIS 3:24), a cherubim mounted with a flaming sword which turned every which way hovered at the gates to prevent the couple from making a defiant return (assisted by Enki)  and therefore have unauthorised access to the Tree of Life (a rocket parked on the Eridu apron).

This simply was a levitating vehicle equipped with a search light. Both 2 SAMUEL 22:11 and PSALM 18:10 state that, “He (Yahweh) rode upon a cherub and did fly; and he was seen upon the wings of the wind”.  EZEKIEL 9:3 also says, “He (Yahweh) was gone up from the cherub whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house”. Clearly, the cherubim were not sentient things: they were flying or levitating machines, variously called celestial chariots or sky vehicles in Sumerian records.

So if cherubim were not angelic beings, or such winged humanoid figurines, why are they depicted as such in popular paintings of the Ark?     Once again, it all harps back to Egypt. The Egyptian arks of the gods bore the image of the goddess Maat (a daughter of Marduk and consort of his younger half-brother Ningishzidda who was known as Thoth in Egypt) with wings on each arm. Religious artists therefore automatically assumed that since Moses was raised up in Egypt,  some such similar male figurines must have appeared on his version of the Ark of the Covenant too, which is too much of a leap of faith.

The one other very pertinent factor that those who show two angelic beings atop the Ark of the Covenant overlook is that ADAD HAD PROHIBITED THE NATION OF ISRAEL FROM MAKING GRAVEN IMAGES (an image carved out of stone, wood or metal and taking the form of either a person or animal, see EXODUS 20:4-5) or any idols (rival Enkite gods) in cast metal (DEUTERONOMY 34:17).  Clearly, there was no way Moses was going to affix to the Ark images of angelic beings forged from gold when Adad unequivocally frowned on that. (Angels, or AN-GAL in Sumerian,  meaning “Great Ones of Heaven”, was simply the general term  for the Anunnaki. In art, the Sumerians depicted the Anunnaki as winged giants to denote the fact that they flew in skyborne vehicles).

True, the Bible says the cherubim had “wings”, but we cannot be dogmatic that as such they were  life-form representations. Hospitals have wings,  aircraft have wings, shirt collars have wings, ploughs have wings. A “wing” is simply a lateral projection which extends from the main body of an object. So in what form where the cherubim on the cover of the Ark? SINCE A CHERUB WAS AN AERIAL CRAFT, IT WERE TWO SUCH WINGED AIR CRAFT, IN ALL LIKELIHOOD AN OFFSPREY (WHICH IS PART AIR PLANE, PART-HELICOPTER)  THAT FEATURED ON THE ARK.

These were molten images but they were not graven images in that they were not in the form of a human being or an animal but in the form of machines. The air crafts were the best representation of  Adad in the eye of the Israelites as they symbolised his presence among them: whenever there was a flying saucer or helicopter parked or hovering around, it was a sign that their god was around. It is a pity that the Ark is lost to history. This is by deliberate design because if ever it were to be found, it would reveal a lot of secrets the Vatican & Co wouldn’t want Christendom to know.

TABLETS OF TESTIMONY AS DIGITAL RECORDS

According to the Bible, the Ark of the Covenant enclosed a number of items. They were the Tablets of the Covenant, the Tablets of Testimony, Aaron’s Rod, and a golden jar of Manna. The Tablets of the Covenant was the so-called Covenant Book, in which  Moses wrote everything he had been instructed by Adad at Mount Sinai. Aaron’s rod was of course his  symbol of Pharaonic authority, which the Pentateuch writers spun as a magical wand which he turned into a snake at the courts of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses I. This leaves us with the Tablets of Testimony and the Manna.

What were the Tablets of Testimony? The term “testimony” simply means “spoken evidence”. THE TABLETS OF TESTIMONY WERE THEREFORE A DIGITAL STORAGE OF THE ISRAELITES’ ACCEPTANCE  OF THE TERMS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH ADAD. When Adad spelt out to them what he expected of them as his chosen people, the Israelites had to undertake  that they were in full agreement with the decrees and ordinances he had pronounced forth. Such a nod on the part of the Israelites was digitally recorded in the Tablets of Testimony.  Even in our day, we refer to our portable computer devices as tablets. The Anunnaki had such technology too though it was not mainstreamed to mankind.    

As for Manna, this was inevitable. One of the everyday uses of the Ark of the Covenant was the manufacture of Manna. Of course this was not Manna in the form it is preached to you from the pulpits. This was special Manna, which also went by such names as Shewbread, Bread of Life, Bread of the Presence,  the Paradise Stone, Highward Firestone, the Phoenix,  Our Daily Bread, etc. The Sumerians called it Shemanna. The Egyptians called it Mfkzt. Ancient chemists referred to it as the Philosopher’s Stone.  Today, it is best known as Ormus,  the monoatomic white powder of gold.

THE WONDERS OF ORMUS

We did dwell on Ormus at length in earlier articles but we will hereby briefly recap for the sake of  newcomers to this column. The term Ormus  is the easier-to-pronounce form of ORME, an acronym for Orbitally Rearranged Monoatomic Element. Ormus is manufactured using a process  which in the ancient mystery schools  was known as alchemy. This was  defined as the transformation of base metals such as tin to gold. But that to a large extent was disinformation: it was meant to blindfold lay people, the bulk of the human population.

What alchemy was fundamentally about was the creation of Ormus from what we today call the Transition Elements on the Periodic Table. These are gold, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, platinum, iridium, osmium, copper, cobalt, and nickel. All these ten metals are capable of transmuting to Ormus, which has properties which are radically different from the original metals, but  the highest quality of Ormus is that which is made from gold. As you know, gold is the god of metals.

The Institute of Advanced Studies refers to Ormus as “exotic matter” and characterises its superconductive powers as “the most remarkable physical property in the universe”. When high-quality Ormus is consumed, it can perform wonders in a human being. It can boost the intellect manifold, instill deeper spiritual and metaphysical insights, dispel any form of disease (including incurables such as cancer and HIV/AIDS) in the body, and impart a whole host of abilities  which ordinarily we would regard as magical or miraculous. 

For example, one could walk on water and glow in the darkness. One can also lay hands on the sick  and cure them immediately. Even a mere word or thought would be enough to bring about another’s wellbeing. Besides producing  a blindingly brilliant light, Ormus can also give off deadly rays.

But there is more. Because it confers near-perfect health, Ormus can lengthen lifespans indefinitely. Even more tantalising, it can make a person to defy gravity by floating  in the air (levitation), transport a person from one part of the cosmos to another (teleportation) and translate a person from this physical dimension into another, postmortem dimension, the Astral dimension (transmutation): hence its other name, the Powder of Projection. That Moses, Benzeleel and Oliab could manufacture Ormus using the Ark of the Covenant is no surprise: they were from Egypt and Egyptian Pharaohs and some members of the nobility were fed on Ormus.
         
NEXT WEEK:   ORMUS FIND IN THE SINAI!

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Columns

Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

A case can be made, General Atiku, that history’s most infamous Roman is Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who condemned Jesus, the  “Son of God”, to the most cruel, most barbaric,  and most excruciating of deaths – crucifixion –  and cowardly at that as the gospels attest for us.  

Yet the exact circumstances under which the crucifixion took place and what followed thereafter far from jells with what is familiarly known. The fact of the matter was that there was a lot of political wheeling and dealing and boldfaced corruption on the part both of the Jewish authorities and the Roman establishment in the person of Pontius Pilate.  In this piece, we attempt, General, to present a fuller photo of Pilate as the centre of the whole machination.

Pilate’s historicity, General, is not in doubt. In 1961, an Italian archeologist unearthed a limestone block at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which as of 6 AD was the Roman seat of government as well as the military headquarters.  The block bore the inscription, “Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated this Temple to the divine Augusti” (that is, then Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his wife Livia).

Pilate also gets varying degrees of mention in the works of Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD); the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and chronicler Philo of Alexandria (25 BC to 50 AD); and the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD).

Although his year of death (37 AD) is documented, his year of birth is a matter of conjecture, General. He came from the Pontii tribe (hence the name Pontius), a tough, warlike people. The Pontii tribe was of the equestrian class, the second-tier in the Roman caste system. Originally, the equestrians were those Romans with ample pocket power to bribe their way to knightly ranks in the Roman army. Pilate was born to Marcus Pontius, who had distinguished himself as a general in Rome’s military campaigns.

Following one of his particularly sterling military exploits, Marcus was awarded with the Pilum (javelin), a Roman decoration of honour for heroic military service.  To commemorate this medal of valour, the family took the name Pilati, rendered Pilate in English and Pilatus in Latin.

The son, Lucius Pontius Pilate, also distinguished himself as a soldier in the German campaigns of Germanicus, a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. Thanks to his scintillating military profile coupled with   strategic connections in the hierarchies of the Roman government, Pilate was able to wend his way into the heart of Claudia, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and ruler from 27 BC to 14 AD.

Claudia’s mother was Julia the Elder, who was also the biological mother of the apostles John and James. When Claudia was about 13 years of age, Julia sent her to Rome to be reared in the courts of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, to whom Julia was once married from 11 BC to 6 BC.

Although Tiberius was not the biological father of Claudius, General, he gladly acquiesced to being her foster father in deference to the memory of her late grandfather Caesar Augustus.
Pilate arrived in Rome when Claudia was sixteen years of age. In AD 26, the two tied the knot. Needless to say, it was a marriage based not on love as such but on political opportunism.

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

The high-placed connection who facilitated Pontius Pilate’s smooth landing into the inner sanctums of Rome’s royalty and put him on a pedestal that saw him take pride of place in the cosmic gallery of rogues was Aelius Sejanus. Like Pilate, Sejanus came from the subordinate equestrian class, who would never be eligible for a seat in the Senate, the legislative council of ancient Rome.

Sejanus, however, had over time become Emperor Tiberius’ most trusted lieutenant and to the point where he was the de facto prime minister.  He had been commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Special Forces unit created by Augustus Caesar as a personal security force, which developed under Sejanus’ command into the most significant presence in Rome.

In AD 26, the emperor was not even based in Rome: he had confined himself to the 10.4 km2 island of Capri, about 264 km from Rome, and left control of Rome and the government of the Roman Empire to Sejanus. It was Sejanus who recommended the appointment of Pilate as prefect, or governor/procurator of Judea. The appointment was pronounced right on the occasion of Pilate’s nuptials with Claudius.

Philo records that when the bridal party emerged from the temple where the marriage ceremony was celebrated and Pilate started to follow the bride into the imperial litter, Tiberius, who was one of the twelve witnesses required to attend the ceremony, held him back and handed him a document. It was the wedding present – the governorship of far-flung Judea – with orders to proceed at once to Caesarea Maritima to take over the office made vacant by the recall of Valerius Gratus.

Pilate was notified by Sejanus that a ship was in fact waiting upon him to transport him to Palestine right away. The only disadvantageous aspect about the assignment was that Pilate was to leave the shores of Rome alone, without the pleasure of spending a first night in the arms of his newly wedded wife: by imperial decree, the wives of governors were not allowed to accompany them in their jurisdictions. Pilate, however, was a royal by marriage and so this prohibition was waived. By special permission granted by His Imperial Majesty Tiberius Caesar, Claudia soon joined her husband in Judea. The wily Pilate had calculated well when he married into royalty.

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

The Judean perch was not prestigious though, General. The prefects of Judea were not of high social status. At least one – Felix, referenced by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles – was an ex-slave, which says a great deal on the low regard in which the province was held by Rome.

Pilate was only secondarily sent to Judea on account of having married into royalty: his posting to the volatile province stemmed, primarily, from his being of a inferior social pedigree. Be that as it may, Pilate relished the posting in that it gave him the chance to exercise power, absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and in Pilate was the archetypal example, General.

Pilate’s brief was simple: to collect taxes, maintain law and order, maintain infrastructure, and keep the population subdued. Although he was born lowly, he positively had the power of life and death over his Jewish subjects. Let us, General, listen to Josephus in his allusion to Coponius, Judea’s first Roman governor and who like Pilate was from the same subservient social class: “And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.”

Pilate, General, was callous to a point of being sadistic. He was scarcely the scrupling judge with the rare soft spot that we encounter in the gospels. Philo charges him with “corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, endless and intolerable cruelties”.

He further declares him to be a “savage, inflexible, and arbitrary ruler” who was of a “stubborn and harsh quality” and “could not bring himself to do anything that might cause pleasure to the Jews”. The essentially humane character of the Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels may not be wholly fictitious but is highly embellished, General.

Why did Pilate have such a pathological hatred of the Jews, General? Sejanus had more to do with it than the spontaneous leanings of his own nature. According to Philo, Sejanus hated the Jews like the plague and wished “to do away with the nation” – to exterminate it. In AD 19, for instance, he forced the Jews in Rome to burn their religious vestments and expelled them from the city without much ado.

For as long as Sejanus was in power, General, Pilate could do pretty much as he pleased. He didn’t have to worry about compromising reportage reaching the emperor as everything went through the implacably anti-Jewish Sejanus. Sejanus was unrivalled in power: golden statues of the general were being put up in Rome, the Senate had voted his birthday a public holiday, public prayers were offered on behalf of Tiberius and Sejanus, and in AD 31 Sejanus was named as Consul jointly with Tiberius.

The Judea posting also gave Pilate a golden opportunity to make money – lots of it. The governors of the Roman provinces were invariably rapacious, greedy, and incompetent: this we learn not only from Jewish historians of the day but from contemporary Roman writers as well such as Tacitus and Juvenal.

As long as the money skimmed from the provinces was not overly excessive, governors were allowed a free hand. It is said of Emperor Tiberius that, “Once he ordered a governor to reverse a steep rise in taxes saying, ‘I want my sheep shorn, not skinned’!” For those governors, such as Pilate, who had support from the very acmes of Roman power, General, they were practically a law unto themselves.

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

Pontius Pilate, General, was untrained in political office. Furthermore, he was a sycophant to the core who was prepared to go to any length in a bid to curry favour with and prove his loyalty to the powers that be in Rome.    Both these attributes gave rise to a series of blunders that brought him the intense hatred of the Jews.

The first abomination he committed in the eyes of the Jews, General, was to set up a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, which he called the Tiberieum, making him the only known Roman official to have built a temple to a living emperor.  True, Roman emperors were worshipped, but Tiberius was the one exception. According to the Roman scholar and historian Suetonius, Tiberius did not allow the consecration of temples to himself. Pilate’s act therefore, General, was an overkill: it was not appreciated at all.

Throughout his tenure, General, Pilate had a series of run-ins with the Jews, some of which entailed a lot of bloodshed and one of which sparked an insurrection that paved the way to Calvary. Then it all began to unravel, General. On October 18 AD 31, his patron Sejanus was summoned to the office of Emperor Tiberius and an angry denunciation was read out to him. It is not clear, General, what caused Sejanus’ fall from the emperor’s good graces but circumstantial evidence points to the perceived threat to the emperor’s power.

As the ancient historian Cassius Dio puts it, “Sejanus was so great a person by reason both of his excessive haughtiness and of his vast power that to put it briefly, he himself seemed to be the emperor and Tiberius a kind of island potentate, inasmuch as the latter spent his time on the island of Capri.”  Sejanus, hitherto the most powerful man in Rome, General, was thrown into a dungeon.

That same evening, he was summarily condemned to death, extracted from his cell, hung, and had his body given over to a crowd that tore it to pieces in a frenzy of manic excitement. His three children were all executed over the following months and his wife, Tiberius’ own daughter, committed suicide.  The people further celebrated his downfall by pulling his statues over.  Meanwhile, General, Tiberius began pursuing all those who could have been involved in the “plots” of Sejanus.

In Judea, Pilate, a Sejanus appointee, must have been badly shaken, General. Were his friends and family under suspicion? Would he be purged like others? Imperial attitudes to the Jewish race seemed to have changed now with the riddance of Sejanus. Tiberius made sure this was the case by appointing a new governor for Syria (who went by the title Legate and to whom Pilate was obligated to report).

The governor, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, arrived in Rome in AD 32. Philo records that Tiberius now “charged his procurators in every place to which they were appointed to speak comfortably to the members of our nation in the different cities, assuring them that the penal measures did not extend to all but only to the guilty who were few, and to disturb none of the established customs but even to regard them as a trust committed to their care, the people as naturally peaceable and the institution as an influence promoting orderly conduct.”

So Pilate, General, had lost his supporters at the top, his new boss was on his doorstep, and there had been a change of policy regarding the very people he was in charge of. Surely, he would have to watch his step. The fact of the matter, however, General, was that he hardly did so.  In November 32 AD, for instance, he provoked a mini-uprising by the Zealots led by Judas Iscariot, Theudas Barabbas, and Simon Zelotes. It was this revolt, General, that culminated in those three “crosses” of Calvary that are indelibly etched on the mind of every Christian.

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

Until as recently as the 1980s a career often meant a job for life within a single company or organisation. Phrases such as ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, ‘the glass ceiling’, ‘wage slave’ & ‘the rat race’ were thrown about, the analogies making clear that a career path was a toxic mix of a war of attrition, indentured drudgery and a Sisyphean treadmill.

In all cases you fought, grafted or plodded on till you reached retirement age, at which point you could expect a small leaving party, the promise of a pension and, oddly, a gift of either a clock or watch. The irony of being rewarded with a timepiece on the very day you could expect to no longer be a workday prisoner was apparently lost on management – the hands of time were destined to follow you to the grave!

Retirement was the goal at the end of the long, corporate journey, time on your hands – verifiable by your gifted time keeping device – to spend time working in the garden, playing with the grandchildren, enjoying a holiday or two and generally killing time till time killed you.

For some, retirement could be literally short-lived. The retirement age, and accompanying pension, was predicated on the old adage of three scores years and ten being the average life expectancy of man. As the twentieth century progressed and healthcare became more sophisticated, that former mean average was extended but that in itself then brought with it the double-edged sword of dementia. The longer people lived, the more widespread dementia became – one more life lottery which some won, some lost and doctors were seemingly unable to predict who would succumb and who would survive.

However, much research has been carried out on the causes of this crippling and cruel disease and the latest findings indicate that one of its root causes may lie in the former workplace – what your job entailed and how stimulating or otherwise it was. It transpires that having an interesting job in your forties could lessen the risk of getting dementia in old age, the mental stimulation possibly staving off the onslaught of the condition by around 18 months.

Academics examined more than 100,000 participants and tracked them for nearly two decades. They spotted a third fewer cases of dementia among people who had engaging jobs which involved demanding tasks and more control — such as government officers, directors, physicians, dentists and solicitors, compared to adults in ‘passive’ roles — such as supermarket cashiers, vehicle drivers and machine operators. And those who found their own work interesting also had lower levels of proteins in their blood that have been linked with dementia.

The study was carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Helsinki and Johns Hopkins University studying the cognitive stimulation and dementia risk in 107,896 volunteers, who were regularly quizzed about their job.  The volunteers — who had an average age of around 45 — were tracked for between 14 and 40 years.  Jobs were classed as cognitively stimulating if they included demanding tasks and came with high job control. Non-stimulating ‘passive’ occupations included those with low demands and little decision-making power.

4.8 cases of dementia per 10,000 person years occurred among those with interesting careers, equating to 0.8 per cent of the group. In contrast, there were 7.3 cases per 10,000 person years among those with repetitive jobs (1.2 per cent). Among people with jobs that were in the middle of these two categories, there were 6.8 cases per 10,000 person years (1.12 per cent).

The link between how interesting a person’s work was and rates of dementia did not change for different genders or ages.Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, from UCL, said: ‘Our findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of mental stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had experienced low mental stimulation. This suggests the average delay in disease onset is about one and half years, but there is probably considerable variation in the effect between people.’

The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, also looked at protein levels in the blood among another group of volunteers. These proteins are thought to stop the brain forming new connections, increasing the risk of dementia. People with interesting jobs had lower levels of three proteins considered to be tell-tale signs of the condition.

Scientists said it provided ‘possible clues’ for the underlying biological mechanisms at play. The researchers noted the study was only observational, meaning it cannot establish cause and that other factors could be at play. However, they insisted it was large and well-designed, so the findings can be applied to different populations.

To me, there is a further implication in that it might be fair to expect that those in professions such as law, medicine and science might reasonably be expected to have a higher IQ than those in blue collar roles. This could indicate that mental capacity also plays a part in dementia onset but that’s a personal conclusion and not one reached by the study.

And for those stuck in dull jobs through force of circumstance, all is not lost since in today’s work culture, the stimulating side-hustle is fast becoming the norm as work becomes not just a means of financial survival but a life-enhancing opportunity , just as in the old adage of ‘Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work another day in your life’!

Dementia is a global concern but ironically it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age and is the second biggest killer in the UK behind heart disease, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. So here’s a serious suggestion to save you from an early grave and loss of competencies – work hard, play hard and where possible, combine the two!

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

The gospels which were excluded from the official canon, the New Testament, at the Council of Nicaea are known as the Apocrypha. One of these Apocryphal works, General Atiku, is the gospel of Phillip.  In this gospel, the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is openly discussed thus:

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.  The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said unto him, why do you love her more than all of us? The Saviour answered and said to them, why do   I not love you like her? … Great is the mystery of marriage, for without it the world would never have existed. Now, the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.”

It is clear from the above statement, General, that Jesus held marriage in high regard because he himself was part and parcel of it.  The disciples (that is, most of them) were offended not because he and Mary were an item but because they simply did not approve of her as she was a Gentile and a commoner.

Otherwise, the kissing was not offensive at all: it was a customary expression of mutual affection between the sacred bride and groom. This we gather from the prototypically romantic Old Testament text known as The Song of Solomon, which opens with the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”  As the Davidic groom, Jesus was therefore entitled to kiss Mary Magdalene as his bride.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

In September AD 30, General Atiku, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had their First Marriage ceremony. Jesus had turned 36 in that year, the appropriate marriage age for a Davidic heir, and September was the holiest month in the Jewish calendar.  Having been born irregularly himself (in the wrong month of the year because of his father Joseph’s intransigence), Jesus was determined that he himself follow the law to the letter so that his child would not suffer the same indignities as he did. The First Marriage is captured in LUKE 7:35-50.

The marriage took place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. This, General, was another name for Simon Zelotes, the stepfather of Mary Magdalene. Although Mary Magdalene is not directly named, she is described as a “sinner”. This was another term for Gentiles, as in the eyes of the Jewish God, they were unregenerate and therefore hopeless sinners.  Mary Magdalene, whose mother Helena-Salome was of Syrian origin (Syro-Phoenicia to be specific), was a Gentile.

On the occasion, Mary Magdalene performed three acts on Jesus as set out in LUKE 7:38. She wept; kissed his feet; and anointed him with ointment. This is what a bride was supposed to do to her groom as clearly evinced in The Song of Solomon, a series of love poems concerning a spouse and her husband the King.

Of the three rites, perhaps it is the weeping that require elucidation, General. This was at once symbolic and sentimental.  The First Marriage was simply a ceremony: the moment the ceremony was over, the husband and wife separated, that is, they lived apart until the month of December, when they came together under one roof.  This was in accord with Essene stipulations for dynastic marriages, that is, those of the Davidic Messiah and the priestly Messiah.

Prior to the First Marriage, the bride was known as an Almah, meaning a betrothed Virgin. After the First Marriage ceremony, the Almah was demoted to a Sister. This was because the ensuing three-month separation meant husband and wife would not indulge in sexual activity and so the wife was as good as a sister to her husband. The imagery of Sister also being a wife is seen in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:5, where the apostle Paul refers to his wife as Sister. In ACTS 23:16, Paul’s wife is again referred to as his Sister.

Now, when the Almah became a Sister, General, she was metaphorically called a Widow, because she was being separated  from her newly wedded husband. As such, she was expected to symbolically weep on account of this separation. That explains why Mary Magdalene had to weep at her first wedding. It is a pity, General, that most Christians and their clergy miss the real story so wrongly indoctrinated are they.

In December AD 30, Jesus moved in with Mary Magdalene to consummate the marriage. It was hoped that Mary would fall pregnant so that in March the following year, a Second (and final) Marriage ceremony would be held.  Sadly, conception did not take place. According to Essene dynastic procreational rules, the couple had to separate again. They would reunite in December AD 31 for another try at conception.

The reason they separated was because for a dynastic heir, marriage was purely for procreation and not for recreational sex. But even that year, General, Mary did not fall pregnant, necessitating another year-long separation. What that meant was that Mary would be given one more last chance – in December AD 32, by which time Jesus would have been 38.  If she did not conceive this time around, the marriage would come to an end through a legal divorce and Jesus would be free to seek a new spouse.

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

In December 32, Mary Magdalene, General, finally conceived. When Jesus was crucified therefore in April 33 AD, his wife was three months pregnant. By this time, the Second Marriage ceremony, the final one, had already taken place, this being in March. The Second Marriage is cursorily related in MATTHEW 26:6-13; MARK 14:3-9; and JOHN 12:1-8.The John version reads as follows:

“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where was Lazarus, who had died, whom he raised out of the dead; they made, therefore, to him a supper there, and Martha was ministering, and Lazarus was one of those reclining together (at meat) with him; Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.

Therefore said one of his disciples – Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who was about to deliver him up – ‘Therefore was not this ointment sold for three hundred denaries, and given to the poor?’ and he said this, not because he was caring for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and what things were put in he was carrying. Jesus, therefore, said, ‘Suffer her; for the day of my embalming she has kept it, for the poor you have always with yourselves, and me you have not always.’”

This story (also see JOHN 11:1-44) centres on four people primarily, General. They are Jesus; Lazarus; Mary; and Martha. “Mary” was actually Mary Magdalene.  “Martha” was a titular name for her mother, Helena-Salome.  In the Lazarus story, the two ladies are referred to as “sisters”. This denotes conventual sisters, like the Catholics refer to conventual nuns, and not sisters by blood. Helena-Salome actually headed a nunnery. By the same token, the reference to Lazarus as “brother” has a connotation akin to what Pentecostals refer to as “Brother in Christ”.

Thus, the story revolves around Jesus the groom; his bride Mary Magdalene; his father-in-law Simon Zelotes; and his mother-in-law Helena-Salome. This is a family affair folks, which provides strong hints as to the exact relationship between Jesus and Mary. The raising from the dead of a man called Lazarus, sadly, was not a miracle at all:  it was a ceremonial restoration from excommunication back to the Essene governing council, which comprised of Jesus and his so-called 12 disciples.

The “Lazarus” who was thus restored was actually Simon Zelotes, at the time the most “beloved” by Jesus of the entire apostolic band, who had been demoted under circumstances relating to a Zealot uprising against Pontius Pilate.  More will be said on the subject at a later stage.

The anointing of Jesus by Mary with “spikenard”, General, harps back to ancient married rituals as patently demonstrated in The Song of Solomon. This was the second time Mary had anointed Jesus, first at the First Marriage in September AD 30 AD and now at the Second Marriage in March 32 AD. On both occasions, Mary anointed Jesus whilst he sat at table.

In SONG OF SOLOMON 1:12, the bride says, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”.  The anointing in the gospels was therefore an allusion to the ancient rite whereby a royal bride prepared her groom’s table. Only as the wife of Jesus and as a priestess in her own right could Mary Magdalene have anointed both the feet and head of Jesus.

The anointing in effect had two purposes: first, to seal the marriage, and second, to officially announce to the Jewish nation that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah (and not his younger brother James, who had been so promoted by John the Baptist).  It all harped back to the tradition in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where Kings or Pharaohs were anointed for office (in their case with crocodile fat) by their half-sister brides.

The King’s bride actually kept the anointment substance for use for one more time – when the King died. You can now understand, General, why Jesus said “the day of my embalming she has kept it” in reference to his anointing by Mary Magdalene and why the first person to feature at the tomb of Jesus was none other than Mary Magdalene!

Three passages in the Lazarus story     (in JOHN11: 1-44) are particularly telling.  They are Verses 20, 28, and 29. They read as follows: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house … After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. ‘The Master is here,’ she told her, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him.”  The reason Mary (Magdalene) first kept her place before proceeding to meet Jesus, General, is not supplied in the Johannine gospel.

However, the Apocryphal document which has come to be known as The Secret Gospel of Mark sheds more light, General.  It explains that on the first occasion, Mary did come out to meet Jesus along with her mother Martha (Helena-Salome) but upon being rebuked by the disciples of Jesus, she repaired back to the house. Why was she lashed out at, General? Because according to the Essene matrimonial code, she was not permitted to come out of her own accord and greet her husband: she was to wait until he had given her express permission to emerge.

There is yet another element in the conduct of Mary Magdalene that has parallels with Solomon’s queen, General. In the back-and-forth romantic dialogue between the couple, the queen is referred to as a “Shulamite” (SONG OF SOLOMON 6:13). The Shulamites were from the Syrian border town of  Solam and we have already seen that Mary’s first foster father, Syro the Jairus, was a Syrian, as was her mother Helena-Salome.

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

The marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene was vehemently opposed by most of his so-called disciples. The most vociferous on this position, General, was Judas Iscariot. The writer of the John gospel characterises Judas as a “thief” who used to pilfer alms money but that is a smear.  The gospels were written post-eventual and therefore Judas’ name was already in ignominy.

His detractors therefore had a field day at sullying his character. Yet prior to the betrayal, Judas Iscariot, General, was one of the most respected figures among the Essene community. At the time of Jesus’ marriage, Judas was the second-highest ranking Essene after Simon Zelotes (that is the meaning of “Judas of Simon” in the passage quoted above, meaning “Judas the deputy of Simon”): Jesus was third, although politically he was the seniormost.

Judas opposed the marriage on grounds, primarily, that Mary Magdalene was not only a Gentile but a commoner. Judas had the right to pronounce on Jesus’ marriage because it was he who was in charge of the Essene’s order of Dan, to which Mary Magdalene belonged prior to her marriage to Jesus and therefore had the right whether to release her for marriage or retain her in the convent. Judas would rather the spikenard (the most expensive fragrance of the day, the reason it was only used by queens) was sold and the money generated donated to the Essene kitty (“the poor” was another name for Essenes: when Jesus in the Beatitudes said “blessed are the poor”, he was not referring to you and me: he meant the Essenes).

Sadly General, as high-standing as he was, Judas had no right of veto over the marriage of a Davidic heir: only Simon Zelotes had by virtue of his position as the Essene’s Pope. Simon Zelotes was Mary Magdalene’s step-father and there was no way he was going to stand in the way of the marriage of his own daughter. Moreover, Jesus had already begun to fancy himself as Priest-King.

As far as he was concerned therefore, he was at once the Davidic Messiah and the Priestly Messiah – the Melchizedek. Thus even if Simon Zelotes had perchance objected to the marriage, Jesus would have gone ahead with it anyway. It was Jesus’ highly unpopular appropriated role as the Melchizedek, General, that set him on the path to Calvary.

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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