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Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

The Jehovah of the Exodus puts 3000 Israelite insurgents to the sword for treason and sacrilege

On the day the Apis Bull altar was complete, Aaron announced that the following day, it   would be officially  commissioned in the name of the new Yahweh, Marduk, who was represented by the Apis Bull, or the Golden Calf as it is referred to in the Bible, and the people should present offerings to mark the highly momentous occasion. That they indeed did the following day, amid a lot of dancing, singing, feasting, and other such frenzied revelry. The euphoria and commotion was such that it reached the Sinai Mountain and inadvertently alerted Ishkur-Adad as to what was happening.

A perturbed Adad, the Anunnaki god of the Exodus, immediately ordered Moses to descend the mountain and acquaint with the situation firsthand. Adad also had Moses carry with him two tablets of his covenant with the Israelites for Moses to reiterate and reinforce when he faced his people just in case they were engaged in activity that was in flagrant breach of the covenant. The tablets, which had been inscribed in Adad’s own hands (through his aides of course), were meant to formalise the contract between Adad and the Nation of Israel.

Just as the church today is figuratively the bride and Jesus is figuratively the groom, Adad was the groom and the Nation of Israel the bride. The verbal contract had been a kind of engagement. The written contract would be a binding contract once Aaron officially ratified it as the High Priest designate of the Hebrew nation. 

It never crossed Moses’ mind that his people were up to some particularly outrageous act of mischief. When Joshua, who had accompanied him over his 40-day audience with Adad, suggested to him that something war-like was afoot in the camp, Moses said to the contrary his people were engaged in festivity of some kind and not anything untoward. He couldn’t have been more wrong.     

MOSES CLEVERLY ANNULS  ADAD’S PRENUP WITH ISRAEL

The spectacle that greeted Moses when he got to the foot of the mountain was beyond his wildest imagination. His people had fashioned themselves a new god, a foreign god, and they were paying homage to that god atop an altar. Moses was transfixed both with shock and searing anxiety. The ramifications  were dire. FOR WHAT IT ENTAILED WAS THAT THE SYMBOLIC MARRIAGE BETWEEN ADAD AND THE NATION OF ISRAEL HAD BEEN RENDERED NULL AND VOID. This was in all probability the end of Adad’s dealings with Israel.

It was a stab in his back that he wouldn’t take lying down like the hot-tempered god he was. If the Nation of Israel had decided to get rid of Moses and even killed a relation of Aaron to underscore their resolve, then when Moses finally materialised, they would have swarmed in on him to aggressively put the message across. Inevitably, Moses would have called upon the “angel” Adad had assigned to the Nation of Israel to see to it that he was not harmed in anyway. 

Moses firstly inquired of Aaron as to what all the kerfuffle was all about. The Bible’s version of events does not implicate Miriam at all simply because the aim of the  blatantly patriarchal and pro-Moses Pentateuch writers   was to substantially underemphasize the protagonistic role of Miriam in the affairs of the Nation of Israel. But in truth, Miriam was the bone of contention. It was she the Israelites wanted to be their queen at the expense of Moses.  In fact, both Miriam and Aaron were so popular as to be absolutely untouchable even to Adad himself.

Aaron had particularly endeared himself to the nation by readily obliging the Israelites when they demanded that he forge the Golden Calf and erect its altar. Concerned that the sin Israel had committed spelt enormous trouble for them at the hands of Adad, a quick-thinking Moses decided to engage in action that was certain to lessen the extent of the reprisals. He dismantled the two stone blocks on which the covenant between Adad and the Nation of Israel was summarised.

According to the Bible, he did this out of anger. Anger of course was the surface emotion but it was not the underlying reason. MOSES DESTROYED THE TABLETS TO CANCEL THE PRE-MARITAL CONTRACT BETWEEN ADAD AND ISRAEL. What that now meant was that Adad would judge Israel like an affianced woman who simply acted promiscuously and not as a married woman who did likewise. In other words, Adad would not divorce Israel as there actually had been no marriage: he would punish her somehow alright, but would still proceed to wed her anyway. Moses’ gesture was a masterstroke as that is exactly what transpired.

ADAD ORDERS THE EXECUTION OF 3000 DISSIDENTS

When Moses returned to the mountain top and reported what he had found, Adad was incandescent with rage and pronounced four measures against the Nation of Israel. First, all the ring leaders in the sacrilege would be put to death so as to deter the recurrence of any such abomination. Second, all the offspring of these same culprits would be subject to a curse spanning four generations. In other words, the curse, which would begin with them, would be in force up to and including their great grandchildren. What kind of justice is this that tars the innocent, both existing and unborn, with the same culpability brush? This, to say the least, is crass. But that is the warped juridical code of the gods of Christianity.

Third, he would send a plague (whose exact nature is not specified in the Bible) against the Nation of Israel as a whole both for taking part in and condoning the setting up and worshipping of a graven image. Fourth, he would no longer move in their midst in a flying saucer as he had done since they left Egypt as they were a “stubborn and rebellious people”. Nonetheless, Adad reiterated that despite their intractability, the Israelites would remain his people but he would reign over them with an iron fist and punish them severely whenever they offended against him.  

Accordingly, Moses, who was accompanied by a formidable security detail of Anunnaki men, gathered the Levites around him and in the presence of Aaron demanded that they point out to him the men who were at the forefront of the putsch. Once these malefactors were paraded, Moses ordered their fathers, brothers, next of kin, and immediate neighbours to come forward too, then handed out daggers to each one of them. They were  to  take turns in lancing the paraded culprits, who were either their own flesh and blood or very intimate friends or neighbours. 

It must have been gut-wrenching for a father to kill his own son,  a brother to kill his own brother, a relation  to kill his own relation, and a neighbour to kill his own neighbour,  but Moses didn’t care a damn: he wanted to make a statement – that he and his god would be ruthless at the slightest show of  insurrectionist or   sacrilegious tendencies.

Altogether, 3000 men were killed.  Once the deed was done, Moses asked the executioners, who clearly were choking for spilling the blood of their loved ones, to purify themselves and brace for a great blessing from  Adad.  “Consecrate yourselves today to Yahweh, for each man has been against his son and against his brother,  that a blessing  may be given over you today,” (EXODUS 32:29). 

Note, however, the paradox of the matter. Miriam, the rallying cry of the entire saga, and Aaron, who had so  meekly capitulated to the dissidents and personally fashioned the Golden Calf and built the altar,  got away scotfree, without so much as a slap on the wrist. But you need not be surprised: in every society, there are always  two sets of laws: the public domain  law, which binds the common herd like you and I,  and the unspoken law, which applies to and favours  the elite only. This Earth, My Brother …

MOSES FORCE-FEEDS ISRAELITES ON ORMUS OF GOLD

Since the Israelites were  such a rowdy lot and there was every indication that even the executions would by no means deter them,  Moses decided it was time he fed them with  a more potent version of Ormus. This was Ormus of  Gold. To date, the Israelites had been fed on Ormus alright,  but  it was the variety  made from copper. This one was just good enough to keep them in  generally sound health. The gold variety was meant to do much more, to make them more  rational in their judgement and in their thinking  so that they did not go to extremes in whatever behavior they indulged in. They would be able to weigh the  pros and cons of every course of action before they actualised it.

Moses’ task was made all the more easy  because in the Golden Calf Aaron had forged was sufficient  enough gold for the purpose. To that effect, this is what Moses did as per EXODUS 32:20: “Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it with fire and ground it until  it was pulverised;  he winnowed it upon the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it.”

The brain-dead, undiscerning Christian clergy interpret Moses’ act as a “punishment” for his people’s disobedience toward Adad. To the contrary, this was not a punishment: it was a corrective and remedial ritual. FIRING GOLD DOES NOT PRODUCE POWDER: IT PRODUCES MOLTEN GOLD. What  Moses did was  to produce Ormus, the white, monoatomic powder of gold, and have the Israelites consume it whether they liked it or not.

The pay-off did not take long to materialise: soon the Israelites had discarded all their jewelry, which was largely made from gold. Furthermore, they lost a sense of vanity and no longer turned out in ostentatious clothing. Ormus had not only steadied their temperament  but made them a sensible and orderly people. However, this type of Ormus was a once-off treat: humans were not entitled to it. As such, it did not take long before the Israelites reverted to their  obdurate ways.

MOSES HITCHES A RIDE IN ADAD’S FLYING SAUCER
 
Although Moses was the King of the Nation of Israel, he felt his god, Adad, did not afford him the closeness he deserved. Adad never once allowed Moses to see his face. Every time he ascended the mountain to meet him, he actually met his aides and not Adad himself. The only thing he had been permitted to see of   Adad was the god’s shoed feet resting on a footstool.

Furthermore, Adad never once invited Moses to ride in any of the god’s flying machines. How could the King of God’s own chosen people be denied direct access to the god and to his chopper or some such sky vehicle, which symbolised the god’s throne?  Having decided that he just could not bear such a slight anymore, Moses set out to confront Adad on the matter.  Thus it was that on his next  ascendance to the mountain, Moses wondered aloud to Adad’s aides as to how he could convince his people that Adad was indeed a flesh-and-blood god when he had never seen him at close quarters.  Adad, Moses insisted,  should reveal much more  to him than he had done to date.

Now, when Moses asked to see Adad in person, he was not that matter-of-fact: he was tactical. According to English translations of the Bible, Moses, said, “Show me your glory”, EXODUS 32:18.  Sorry folks, but that’s not what Moses actually said. The term translated “glory” is actually KABOD. We have long unpacked the meaning of the term Kabod in earlier articles: it was a flying craft.  SO WHAT MOSES REQUESTED OF ADAD WAS TO TAKE HIM ON A RIDE IN HIS FLYING SAUCER, WHICH WOULD BE HIS CROWNING ACHIVEMENT AS A MORTAL.   

Of course Adad was not a dumb god: he knew what Moses really wanted – to see him face to face, literally, not figuratively as had been the case in the past. Speaking through his aides, Adad once again reiterated his warning: “No one may see my face and live,” EXODUS 32:20. Nonetheless, Adad was prepared to relent a bit this time around to  content his great protégé to the barest minimum. He  consented to taking Moses on a ride in his sky vehicle allright, but made it clear to him that whilst they were airborne, he would allow Moses to see only his backrest, that is, the  back of the seat in which the god would sit alongside his pilot.

This special treat is related in EXODUS 33:18-23 but in a manner that hardly makes any sense as the Pentateuch scribes simply did not understand the figurative language employed in their records of reference  and so put their own laughable slant on the story.  According to the biblical version,  Moses was put in the hollow of a rock by Adad. Then Adad covered the opening of the crevice with his hand, after which he removed his hand to allow Moses to see only his back. But why go to that extent if all Adad wanted to show Moses was his backside?

It would have been much simpler for Adad to  ask Moses  to come up the mountain and see his back whilst he sat on a stool of some kind.  Clearly, either the scribes didn’t know what they were talking about or the exact nature of the event was scrambled through the passage of time thanks to faulty or interpolative copy editing.
  
ADAD AND MYSTERIOUS CLOUD COMMISSION WILDERNESS TABERNACLE

 Once Adad had meted out all the retributions against the Israelites, he was now in position to renew his covenant with the Nation of Israel. So once again, he summoned Moses up the mountain to furnish him with the one he had tactfully destroyed. You can call this a renewal of the marriage vows between Adad and Israel. In addition, Adad was to administer to Moses a whole glut of instructions over multifarious issues.  Whereas last time around he was accompanied by Joshua, this time around he was all alone. Moses had trusted Joshua to maintain order and discipline amongst the Israelites whilst he was away to avoid a repetition of the Golden Calf saga.   

Once again, Moses spent “40 days and nights” on the mountain. Of course,  the number 40  was not literal but figurative. In  fact, this time around Moses stayed on the mountain even longer than he did previously, for when he returned, he shone so brightly that he had to veil his  face as the Israelites thought  it would be dangerous to come near him. The simple explanation for this oddity is that he had partaken Ormus throughout his stay and as such he too shone like the Anunnaki.

Onwards now, Moses dedicated himself to the construction of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. The concomitant projects were completed after eight months. The commissioning of the Tabernacle  was graced by Adad himself. Details on the incident are sketchy  in the Bible. We’re not told, for instance, what kind of ceremonies were conducted or whether Moses or Aaron gave an inaugural sermon to the Nation of Israel in the presence of Adad.

In fact, what the Bible intimates is that none of the Israelites was allowed to  set foot in the Tabernacle on the occasion. There were only two presences in the Tabernacle. This was Adad, who came in his chopper, referred to as usual as the Glory of the Lord, and a cloud that shrouded the entire Tabernacle as if to conceal whatever Adad and his aides were doing from the multitude of the  Nation of Israel. We’re already familiar with the concept of the Glory of God. But just what was this humongous cloud which assumed various shapes and  went before the Nation of Israel in a pillar-like configuration during day time throughout their  wilderness wanderings?


     Make a date with us next week.
     The answer will surprise!

NEXT WEEK:   ADAD BAGS POUND OF FLESH FROM AARON’S LOINS

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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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