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!
Intelligence and Security Service Act, which is a law that establishes the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS), provides for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee. Recently, the President announced nine names of Members of Parliament he had appointed to the Committee.
This announcement was preceded by a meeting the President held with the Speaker and the Leader of Opposition. Following the announcement of Committee MPs by the President, the opposition, through its leader, made it clear that it will not participate in the Committee unless certain conditions that would ensure effective oversight are met. The opposition acted on the non-participation threat through resignation of its three MPs from the Committee.
The Act at Section 38 provides for the establishment of the Committee to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Directorate. The law provides that the Parliamentary Committee shall have the same powers and privileges set out under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.
On composition, the Committee shall consist of nine members who shall not be members of Cabinet and its quorum shall be five members. The MPs in the Committee elect a chairperson from among their number at their first meeting.
The Members of the Committee are appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. It is the provision of the law that the Committee, relative to its size, reflect the numerical strengths of the political parties represented in the National Assembly.
The Act provides that that a member of the Committee holds office for the duration of the Parliament in which he or she is appointed. The Committee is mandated to make an annual report on the discharge of their functions to the President and may at any time report to him or her on any matter relating to the discharge of those functions.
The Minister responsible for intelligence and security is obliged to lay before the National Assembly a copy of each annual report made by the Committee together with a statement as to whether any matter has been excluded from that copy in pursuance of the provision of the Act.
If it appears to the Minister, after consultation with the Parliamentary Committee, that the publication of any matter in a report would be prejudicial to the continued discharge of the functions of the Directorate, the Minister may exclude that matter from the copy of the report as laid before the National Assembly.
So, what are the specific demands of the Opposition and why are they not participating in the Committee? What should happen as a way forward? The Opposition demanded that there be a forensic audit of the Directorate. The DIS has never been audited since it was set up in 2008, more than a decade ago.
The institution has been a law unto itself for a longtime, feared by all oversight bodies. The Auditor General, who had no security of tenure, could not audit the DIS. The Directorate’s personnel, especially at a high level, have been implicated in corruption. Some of its operatives are in courts of law defending corruption charges preferred against them. Some of the corruption cases which appeared in the media have not made it to the courts.
The DIS has been accused of non-accountability and unethical practices as well as of being a burden on the fiscus. So, the Opposition demanded, from the President, a forensic audit for the purpose of cleaning up the DIS. They demand a start from a clean slate.
The second demand by the Opposition is that the law be reviewed to ensure greater accountability of the DIS to Parliament. What are some of the issues that the opposition think should be reviewed? The contention is that the executive cannot appoint a Committee of Parliament to scrutinize an executive institution.
Already, it is argued, Parliament is less independent and it is dominated by the executive. It is contended that the Committee should be established by the Standing Orders and be appointed by a Select Committee of Parliament. There is also an argument that the Committee should report to Parliament and not to the President and that the Minister should not have any role in the Committee.
Democratic and Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence is relatively a new phenomenon across the World. Even developed democracies are still grappling with some of these issues. However, there are acceptable standards or what might be called international best practices which have evolved over the past two or so decades.
In the UK for instance, MPs of the Intelligence and Security Committee are appointed by the Houses of Parliament, having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. This is a good balancing exercise of involvement of both the executive and the legislature. Consultation is taken for granted in Botswana context in the sense that it has been reduced to just informing the Leader of Opposition without much regard to his or her ideas; they are never taken seriously.
Furthermore, the current Committee in the UK has four Members of the ruling party and five MPs from the opposition. It is a fairly balanced Committee in terms of Parliamentary representation. However, as said above, the President of Botswana appointed six ruling party MPs and three from the opposition.
The imbalance is preposterous and more pronounced with clear intentions of getting the executive way through the ruling party representatives in the Committee. The intention to avoid scrutiny is clear from the numbers of the ruling party MPs in the Committee.
There is also an international standard of removing sensitive parts which may harm national security from the report before it is tabled in the legislature. The previous and current reluctance of the executive arms to open up on Defence and Security matters emanate from this very reason of preserving and protecting national security.
But national security should be balanced with public interest and other democratic principles. The decision to expunge certain information which may be prejudicial to national security should not be an arbitrary and exclusive decision of the executive but a collective decision of a well fairly balanced Committee in consultation with the Speaker and the minister responsible.
There is no doubt that the DIS has been a rogue institution. The reluctance by the President to commit to democratic-parliamentary oversight reforms presupposes a lack of commitment to democratization. The President has no interest in seeing a reformed DIS with effective oversight of the agency.
He is insincere. This is because the President loathes the idea losing an iota of power and sharing it with any other democratic institution. He sees the agency as his power lever to sustain his stay in the high office. He thought he could sanitize himself with an ineffective DIS Committee that would dance to his tune.
The non-participation of the opposition MPs renders the Committee dysfunctional; it cannot function as this would be unlawful. Participation of the opposition is a legal requirement. Even if it can meet, it would lack legitimacy; it cannot be taken seriously. The President should therefore act on the oversight demands and reform the DIS if he is to be taken seriously.
For years I have trained people about paradigm shifts – those light-bulb-switch-on moments – where there is a seismic change from the usual way of thinking about something to a newer, better way.
I like to refer to them as ‘aha’ moments because of the sudden understanding of something which was previously incomprehensible. However, the topic of today’s article is the complete antithesis of ‘aha’. Though I’d love to tell you I’d had a ‘eureka ‘, ‘problem solved’ moment, I am faced with the complete opposite – an ‘oh-no’ moment or Lost Leader Syndrome.
No matter how well prepared or capable a leader is. they often find themselves facing perplexing events, confounding information, or puzzling situations. Confused by developments of which they can’t make sense and by challenges that they don’t know how to solve they become confused, sometimes lost and completely clueless about what to do.
I am told by Jentz and Murphy (JM) in ‘What leaders do when they don’t know what to do’ that this is normal, and that rapid change is making confusion a defining feature of management in the 21st century. Now doesn’t that sound like the story of 2020 summed up in a single sentence?
The basic premise of their writing is that “confusion is not a weakness to be ashamed of but a regular and inevitable condition of leadership. By learning to embrace their confusion, managers are able to set in motion a constructive process for addressing baffling issues.
In fact, confusion turns out to be a fruitful environment in which the best managers thrive by using the instability around them to open up better lines of communication, test their old assumptions and values against changing realities, and develop more creative approaches to problem solving.”
The problem with this ideology however is that it doesn’t help my overwhelming feelings of fear and panic which is exacerbated by a tape playing on a loop in my head saying ‘you’re supposed to know what to do, do something’. My angst is compounded by annoying motivational phrases also unhelpfully playing in my head like.
Nothing happens until something moves
The secret of getting ahead is getting started
Act or be acted upon
All these platitudes are urging me to pull something out of the bag, but I know that this is a trap. This need to forge ahead is nothing but a coping mechanism and disguise. Instead of owning the fact that I haven’t got a foggy about what to do, part of me worries that I’ll lose authority if I acknowledge that I can’t provide direction – I’m supposed to know the answers, I’m the MD! This feeling of not being in control is common for managers in ‘oh no’ situations and as a result they often start reflexively and unilaterally attempting to impose quick fixes to restore equilibrium because, lets be honest, sometimes we find it hard to resist hiding our confusion.
To admit that I am lost in an “Oh, No!” moment opens the door not only to the fear of losing authority but also to a plethora of other troubling emotions and thoughts: *Shame and loss of face: “You’ll look like a fool!” * Panic and loss of control: “You’ve let this get out of hand!” * Incompetence and incapacitation: “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
As if by saying “I’m at a loss here” is tantamount to declaring “I am not fit to lead.” Of course the real problem for me and any other leader is if they don’t admit when they are disoriented, it sends a signal to others in the organisation stating it’s not cool to be lost and that, by its very nature encourages them to hide. What’s the saying about ‘a real man never asks for direction. ..so they end up driving around in circles’.
As managers we need to embrace the confusion, show vulnerability (remember that’s not a bad word) and accept that leadership is not about pretending to have all the answers but about having the courage to search with others to discover a solution.
JM point out that “being confused, however, does not mean being incapacitated. Indeed, one of the most liberating truths of leadership is that confusion is not quicksand from which to escape but rather the potter’s clay of leadership – the very stuff with which managers can work.”
2020 has certainly been a year to remember and all indications are that the confusion which has characterised this year will still follow us into the New Year, thereby making confusion a defining characteristic of the new normal and how managers need to manage. Our competence as leaders will then surely be measured not only by ‘what I know’ but increasingly by ‘how I behave when I accept, I don’t know, lose my sense of direction and become confused.
.I guess the message for all organizational cultures going forward is that sticking with the belief that we need all-knowing, omni-competent executives will cost them dearly and send a message to managers that it is better to hide their confusion than to address it openly and constructively.
Take comfort in these wise words ‘Confusion is a word we have invented for an order not yet understood’!