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Ormus Galore at Qumran

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

The Essenes were Ormus adepts and so was one of their luminaries called Jesus

I take it for granted that we all have heard or read about the so-called Phoenix, a bird that restored itself to life every time it died. The Phoenix, it is said, never existed: it is a mythical bird. This mythical bird straddles several ancient cultures, including the Greek, Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese and Japanese. The Egyptians referred to it as the BENNU BIRD, the Chinese as the FENG HUANG, and the Japanese as the  HOU-OU.

Typically, myths are peculiar to a particular culture. If a myth is encountered in practically every corner  of the globe,  like the Phoenix is, then it behooves us to question whether it is indeed a myth and not a real thing or event which has assumed a mythical status all  because of misunderstandings about it that came to proliferate with the passage of time.  

This is the myth of the Phoenix in a nutshell: The bird was not a biologically fruitful species like all other creatures are. It was a single-entity species. There was always one Phoenix at any particular point in time, which had a golden or red plumage.  The bird would live to  up to 500 years or more. Then when owing to old age it was staring death in the face, it would gather twigs and spices and build a nest. It would then squat patiently in the nest and wait for the sun’s rays to set it on fire, whereupon it would be consumed to ashes.

But no sooner had the fire extinguished  than a worm crawled out of the ashes to give rise to a new, reincarnated Phoenix. The cycle would keep repeating itself from generation to generation. But the fact of the matter is that the story of the Phoenix is no myth. It is an allegory – something real but presented in a roundabout, fable-like way. Albeit, the Phoenix was not a bird. IT WAS A CODE NAME FOR ORMUS. 

Just like the Phoenix rises from destruction in a blaze of rebirth and new light, Ormus is associated with the gaining of higher degrees of consciousness and perception once one has partaken of it.  You literally become a brand new man with  sound health and expanded knowledge horizons. The emblematisation of Ormus as an eagle-like bird called the Phoenix and not any other creature is no coincidence. I’m sure you are aware by now that  the ancients referred to Anunnaki astronauts as eagles primarily and as falcons secondarily.

In the eyes of mankind, the Anunnaki were deemed to possess eternal life since they hardly aged and no one saw them die from natural causes. The belief was that every time the Anunnaki flew in a rocket (which was also called an eagle), they went to “Heaven” (the planet Nibiru), where they partook of the Water of Life and the Food of Life. They thus returned to Earth rejuvenated and all hale and hearty.   That the rocket/eagle was a symbol of eternal life was the reason the life-renewing Phoenix bird/Ormus  was envisaged as an eagle too.  

ALCHEMY WAS ABOUT ORMUS

Just as the term Phoenix was used as a cryptic reference to Ormus, the term alchemy was also used as a cryptic reference to the process of producing  Ormus from any of the Platinum metal group. Alchemy derives from the Arabic term AL-KHAME, meaning “blackness” and is defined by those in the know as “the science which overcomes the blackness (emptiness in terms of knowledge), or that which enlightens through intuitive perception” – exactly as Ormus does.  The general public were sold a dummy – that alchemy entailed converting base metals such as tin, lead,  or zinc to  gold. This of course is possible.

In 1980, US scientists produced gold from bismuth, an element that is just next to lead on the Periodic Table. However, the quantity of gold the process yielded was so minuscule to a point of being inconsequential. The process was so prohibitively costly that just to produce one ounce of gold, one  quadrillion dollars (1 followed by 15 zeroes) would have to be spent. The going rate for gold at the time was $560 per ounce. Last year, Chinese scientists turned copper  (which is much closer to gold on the periodic table than base metals)  into almost pure gold, but this gold still fell short of vintage gold as it  retained certain properties of copper, such as density for instance.   

When the ancients talked about alchemy, what they meant and which was a closely guarded secret was turning gold into monoatomic gold dust – Ormus. Although Ormus is made from gold (or any of the Platinum metals), it has properties distinct from the metal gold. So it’s practically a different substance altogether.  In the coded language of the ancient adepts, the mundane person (the occultically unenlightened one) was characterised as  lead, zinc, or any of the base metals because he was basically ignorant and therefore benighted.

On the other hand, a person who partook of Ormus was referred to as being in the golden state because Ormus had conferred on him very profound intellectual, spiritual, and metaphysical insights. Thus the process of turning a raw being knowledgewise into an intellectually polished, highly knowledgeable one was called alchemy – turning a base metal into gold.

WORSHIP WAS WORKSHIP

Coming back to the highlight of last week’s piece, the  WM Flinders Petrie expedition which came upon an Ormus manufacturing chamber in the ancient Temple of Hathor at Serabit El Khadim on Mount Sinai in 1904, many a people were puzzled that a place of worship should double as a metallurgical workshop. To the people of our day, that may sound contradictory and even sacrilegious, but in antiquity in this part of the world, that was very much the norm.

Temples initially were no churches at all. They were an Anunnaki god’s residence. A temple was not a place of worship: IT WAS A PLACE OF WORKSHIP. The original Semitic term which in time came to mean worship was actually AVOD and it simply meant “work”. A temple thus was not a place where a god simply resided: it was a place where mankind served him, that is, worked for him just like people work in state houses or palaces in the service of the president or a monarch.

With time, however, when the Anunnaki gods became self-effacing having withdrawn from day-to-day interaction with humans as a deliberate strategy to create the mystique of a true, transcendental deity, temples as we know them today started to spring up. Even then, they were not strictly a place where worship services were conducted: THEY ALSO HAD WINGS HOUSING A KIND OF WORKSHOP PRESIDED OVER BY CRAFTSMEN.

The nature of the craft that obtained in here was not simply ordinary craft work such as woodwork or metalwork; it was work pertaining to special esoteric knowledge referred to as KYNNING, a term stemming from the biblical Cain, mankind’s first artificer of metals. (It is noteworthy that the other term for a Freemason is craftsman and Masonic practice is called the craft! Freemasonry began far much earlier than it is reckoned to be and it embodies a great deal more “secrets of the craft” than we can conceive.)

Those who were privy to this kind of knowledge were referred to as “CRAFTY” or “CUNNING” . Of course these terms today carry a somewhat ignoble connotation but in those days they simply meant an artisan who by the nature of his specialty was counted upon to keep the knowledge thereof secret and only impart it to what were called initiates – privilleged apprentices.  One such secret knowledge was alchemy, the manufacture of Ormus from gold mainly, as the Petrie finding with regard to the Temple of Hathor clearly attests. This special craft work (Ormus-making) was actually operative even in the time of Jesus.

ESSENES DEALT IN AND EMPLOYED ORMUS

In The Jesus Papers series of 64 articles, we spoke at length about a reclusive Jewish sect known as the Essenes. The Essenes, among whom numbered Jesus and John the Baptist, had set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community to establish their own settlement in the Judean wilderness. The settlement was known as Qumran and it overlooked the Dead Sea.

Now, conventionally speaking, the Dead Sea is indeed dead. It has one of the saltiest waters on Earth and therefore no plant thrives in it and no fish, or any other aquatic creature for that matter,  flourishes in there. Its salinity is such that nothing sinks in it: everything floats, including swimmers. Moreover, the area around the Dead Sea is one of the most arid on the planet, with annual rainfall averaging only 100 mm in the north, where the Essenes were based.

That is not conducive to agricultural activities at all. Nor does sea water support irrigated agriculture. So why did the Essenes settle in such an existentially incongruous environment? Why didn’t they opt for the banks of the more amenable Jordan River? The answer is a simple one although it has escaped our mainstream historians. IT ALL HAD TO DO WITH THE WHITE POWDER OF GOLD BEST KNOWN AS ORMUS, A SUBSTANCE IN WHICH THE DEAD SEA WAS AND STILL IS VERY RICH.

Dead Sea precipitate has been assessed to contain about 70 percent gold in a monoatomic state. In fact, most of the US-based companies who market Ormus make it plain that they extract their Ormus from Dead Sea salt. It turns out the Dead Sea is not actually dead but in fact bristles with life-giving Ormus! The great Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle (384-322 BC) wrote of the Dead Sea’s remarkable healing properties.

Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt (69-30 BC) was so smitten it was rumoured she prevailed over her mighty husband Mark Anthony to invade the region so she could have limitless access to its “health-promoting waters and mud”. Even today, a bucket of Dead Sea mud fetches about $100 a pop in some nearby bazaar. During his reign (67 BC to 4 AD), Herod the Great built arguably the world’s first health spa on the edge of the Dead Sea. Clearly, the sea had something that was not known to the common man and of course this was Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of gold.

How do we know the Essenes used Ormus? First, it is common knowledge that the Essenes were famed for their healing powers. Their very name Essenes – ESSENOI in Greek – apparently derives from the Aramaic term ASSAYA, which means “physician”. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus says the Essenes “received their medicinal knowledge of roots and stones (minerals such as gold) from the ancients”. Ormus confers that by the truckload. Second, Josephus tells us that the Essenes were noted for their extraordinary lifespans.

They could live up to 100 years at a juncture in history when the average lifespan was 45 years. Ormus enables more than ordinary lifespans as we have already demonstrated. In fact, a metallurgical foundry has been excavated at Qumran, which obviously was used to process Ormus from monoatomic gold obtained from the Dead Sea.

One of the most recurring terms in the Dead Sea Scrolls, a work of the Essenes, is “Teacher of Righteousness”. The term alternatively refers to a person or an object. When it refers to a person, the most apparent candidate is John the Baptist, who was the dynastic Melchizedek, meaning “Righteous Priest-King”. The Melchizedek was the head of the Essenes although John declaimed the title, opting for a reclusive life in the Judean wilds. WHEN IT REFERS TO AN OBJECT, IT IS, ACCORDING TO DAVID HUDSON, WHO RESEARCHED THE DEAD SCROLLS, TALKING ABOUT ORMUS. A statement in one scroll says, “The High Spirit swallowed the Teacher of Righteousness,” meaning he ingested Ormus.

DID JESU EMPLOY ORMUS?

Jesus’  father Joseph is described as a NAGGER in Aramaic or HO HEKTON in Greek, terms wrongly translated as carpenter in pathetic English versions of the Bible. But nagger and ho hekton meant  “master craftsman” in the sense of an Ormus-processing  artisan.  Like all members of the Grail royal family who  date back to the time of Cain, the family of Jesus were Ormus artisans.

Jesus was raised at Qumran, the Essene redoubt on the shores of the Dead Sea, and as we have reiterated time and again, the Essenes chose Qumran because they could easily extract Ormus from the Ormus-rich Dead Sea, an art they had  learnt from the Theraputae of Egypt and who lived among them. King David’s city was  called  Bethlehem, meaning “House of Bread” and bread was a euphemism for Ormus.

The House of David were  experts at making Ormus folks. At Qumran, a certain enclave was also dubbed “Bethlehem of Judea”, suggesting it was the Qumran setting where Ormus was manufactured under the supervision of Joseph initially and Jesus or his immediate younger brother James latterly. In the course of The Jesus Papers, we underlined one particularly pertinent point. This was that the Jesus story had elements of fact, fable, allegory, and cryptogram. A little known fact about the Bible as a whole is that it has multiple layers.

The Bible is written not so much in straightforward language as in coded language. Thus a statement or story that appears to mean one thing to the ordinary reader may carry a radically different or a simply additional underlying meaning to initiates to the code. For example, the statements attributed to Jesus are pregnant with encrypted communication. Some of these statements were veiled references to Ormus. Firstly, Jesus called himself “The Bread of Life” (JOHN 6:35) and “The Water of life” (JOHN 4:14). Both these terms referred to Ormus.

Intriguingly, Jesus did not endorse Ormus: to the contrary, he spoke against it. Listen to what he says in this passage: “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread (he himself) that comes down from Heaven, which anyone may eat and not die” (JOHN 6:49-50). Jesus contrasts the Ormus (manna) the Israelites were fed on at Mount Sinai with the Ormus that he embodied as a man who came straight from Heaven (the Astral plane).

What Jesus was simply saying was that his teachings were much more spiritually illuminating and nourishing than the partaking of Ormus, that his teachings were superior to Ormus, which the Essenes called “The Teacher of Righteousness” as we saw above. In other words, Jesus was saying, “stop using Ormus for God’s sake and just listen to me. Whatever Ormus is capable of doing to you my teachings can do ten-fold.”

Why did Jesus denounce Ormus? Because it was man-made, whereas his Ormus, his teachings, came straight from “The Father”, that is, the First Source that created all things. But there are seeming contradictions. When Jesus sets out to teach his disciples how to pray, he recites to them the so-called Lord’s Prayer, which contains the Ormus statement “Give us this day our daily bread”. Of course we now know that the Lord’s Prayer was put into Jesus’s mouth either by the gospel writers or later redactors as it is taken word for word from Spell 125 of The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

THE IRONY OF THE MATTER THOUGH IS THAT JESUS HIMSELF PERFORMED ACTS TYPICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH A PERSON WHO CONSUMES ORMUS. He would heal people by laying hands (LUKE 4:40) or simply speak healing from a distance (JOHN 4:43-54). Once he healed a deaf-mute (MARK 7:33) and a blind man (JOHN 9:6) using “spittle”, another term by which Ormus is known. After the resurrection, he could vanish and re-appear (LUKE 24:36/JOHN 20:26) out of the blue.

He could levitate (LUKE 24: 50-51/ACTS 1:3). He could walk on water (MATTHEW 14: 22-33). He could read minds (MATTHEW 9:4). He could remote-view (JOHN 1:48-50). He could sense evil thoughts (JOHN 13:27). He could shine like the noon day sun (MATTHEW 17:2/MARK 9:2–3/LUKE 9:28–36). He was able to go without food for 40 days and 40 nights (MATTHEW 4:1-11/ MARK 1:12, 13/ LUKE 4:1-13).

He may not have actually done these things, but even if they were simply symbolic attributions or pure allegory, the underlying message in keeping with the Bible code points to what consuming Ormus can entail. The halo that we see around Jesus in renaissance paintings may in part underline his capacity to shine thanks to taking Ormus.

As for the contradiction (denouncing Ormus while at the same time evincing its very use), this is easy to explain: the gospels were written not by a homogeneous group but by people with often conflicting agendas. Thus whilst some writers would have loved to bring his use of Ormus to the fore, others chose to disinform about it.

NEXT WEEK:   THE ANUNNAKI AND ORMUS

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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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