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ISRAELITE RULE IN EGYPT

Jacob’s Ladder

Abrahamic Dynasty reign In Northern Egypt for 500 Years

While General Abraham was busy fending off the Sumerian invaders, General Atiku,  his wife, Queen Seheratawy Intef (Sarah), the Pharaoh of Egypt, was coming under siege.

It seems Abraham had miscalculated, General: the Hykso rule over all Egypt was not secure yet. For in 2040 BC, about a year after Abraham left Egypt, Mentuhotep II, the heir to the deposed Mentuhotep I of southern Egypt, overthrew Sarah in an essentially bloodless coup de tat. It was more of a palace coup than a blood-and-gall ousting.

What most certainly happened, General, was that Mentuhotep II endeared himself to Sarah, her maternal aunt, and before Sarah knew what was cooking, she had been taken down from the pedestal of power. It was back to square one, whereby indigenous Egyptians were again masters of their own political destiny.

But Sarah, General, had balls, pardon the misplaced metaphor. Instead of fleeing Egypt altogether, she held out in northern Egypt amongst the Hyksos to rally her people for a renewed putsch. Meanwhile, General Abraham was on his way over to try and salvage the situation, with a formidable army in tow.

True to his reputation as the greatest military general of his day, he managed to repel Mentuhotep II’s forces from northern Egypt. Yet as mighty as he was, this time Abraham wasn’t able to unseat Mentuhotep II from the Thebes throne. As such, he had no option but to content himself with the repossession only of northern Egypt, which he ruled jointly with his wife at least for the next 24 years.

The Hyksos, later to be known as Israelites, General, were to rule northern Egypt for the next 500 years or so directly, and the whole of Egypt indirectly at some stage thereafter all the way to part of the time of King David as we shall elucidate in the next instalment.

ISAAC AND JACOB WERE EGYPTIAN PHARAOHS

Although the Bible, General, does not expressly state that the biblical patriarchs from Abraham to David were actually pharaohs of northern Egypt, it does furnish some hints when one reads between the lines. The Bible, General, is not a straightforward informational corpus: it is partly and substantially written in code.

It’s a pity that the pulpit men of Christendom are completely clueless as to this fact, as a result of which their interpretation of “scripture” is woefully erroneous. What they say almost completely has no correlation with the underlying and intended message of biblical passages. What a tragicomedy!

Exactly how long Abraham ruled northern Egypt is not certain, General.  But we know that according to Egyptian annals, he was succeeded by Shesi (also known as Salitis), who was in turn succeeded by Pharaoh Yakuber. Shesi was the way the name Isaac (Yishaq in Hebrew) was pronounced in ancient Egypt, though as Pharaoh he was referred to as Pharaoh Mehibre II. The name Isaac had connotations of laughter as per GENESIS 18:15, 21:5-6.

It literally means “will laugh”. It arose, so we’re told, because the notion of Isaac’s mother Sarah conceiving him at age 90 was indeed a laughing matter. That interpretation, sadly, is a concoction General.  Isaac was cause for laughter simply because he was not the biological son of Abraham but that of Pharaoh Mentuhotep I. Properly translated, with the aid of its rendering in some Sumerian-like African languages such as Setswana for instance, Isaac (Itshege) means “laugh at yourself”.

For what? For his illegitimacy. Even the Talmud, the Jewish commentaries and interpretive writings that are looked upon as only second in authority to the Old Testament, state categorically that when born, Isaac did not look like Abraham at all. But since he was the legal heir to Abraham being the eldest son of Abraham’s half-sister-wife, Isaac had the automatic right of accession to Abraham’s throne. That was how he became Pharaoh Shesi.

Abraham was very much aware of Isaac’s illegitimacy but he could not disown him for fear of losing the much-needed popularity with indigenous Egyptians who knew the truth about Isaac and cherished him for being at least part-native Egyptian, what we would today call a coloured, as Mentuhotep I was fully black and Sarah was white.

So the only sensible course of action was to legitimise at least Isaac’s offspring. Like all patriarchs of the day, Isaac had several wives. The first was an Egyptian, by whom he had Esau. This, General, is not mentioned in the Bible as that would be revealing too much.

As for Isaac’s second son Jacob, General, Abraham ensured that not only did he have maternal Sumerian blood but Haran’s blood as Haran was the proper heir to Terah. So Abraham contrived for Isaac to travel to Harran, where Terah’s clan was concentrated, and meet Rebecca. Rebecca was the daughter of Betheul.

Betheul in turn was the son of Nahor, Abraham’s younger brother, and Milcah, Haran’s eldest daughter. Thus the ensuing child of Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, was about 75 percent Sumerian and only 25 percent Egyptian. Moreover, with Haran’s blood coursing in Jacob’s veins, that was a potent enough counter punch to Lot’s bone of contention as the rightful successor to Haran and consequently Terah. That’s how clever General Abraham was, General.

It was Jacob who succeeded Isaac under the name Pharaoh Yakubher, General. Yakubher was the Egyptian equivalent of the Hebrew Yaakov. This is Jacob in English. At least four Egyptian scarab seal records attest to the reign of Pharaoh Yakubher in Egypt. In Avaris, the northern Egypt-based Hykso capital, a signet ring was found that read, “Yakov/Yakub”.

Jacob was later named Israel by Enlil-Jehovah. Once again, the Bible is silent as to the reason why: it simply said he was given the name after “wrestling with God” (GENESIS 32:22-32). What could have happened was that Israel – I-Sira-El, meaning “God’s Shield – was his given name when he was born.

The name was meant to rhyme with I-Sira-El, the ancient Hebrew name of northern Egypt, which was intended to serve as a buffer between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, where the all-important spaceport was located. But as Pharaoh, Israel adopted the name Yakuber, which name totally eclipsed Israel.

It is indeed telling, General, that although according to the Bible the name Israel was given to Jacob when he was an adult, it did not stick at all: he is still referred to as Jacob throughout the remainder of his life. Clearly, General, the name Jacob took pride of place because it was a throne name and not an original name.

JACOB JETS OFF TO PLANET NIBIRU

Jacob, General, reigned as Pharaoh Yakuber twice. His first tenure was interrupted by none other than he himself. Jacob had noticed that the lifespans of elite Earthlings – those who were of dynastic stock and therefore had a greater proportion of Anunnaki blood in them – were reducing largely due to intermarriages with ordinary Earthlings. He had also noted that the Anunnaki themselves were basically evergreen: although they did age, they did so rather glacially slowly and basically imperceptibly.

Troubled by such worries, Jacob, General, began to pester his god Enlil for a trip to Nibiru, the Heaven of the Bible. In doing this, he was unremitting: he supplicated, interceded, fasted. Jacob was aware that all Earthlings who had travelled to Nibiru before him, notably Adapa and Enoch, came back rejuvenated: it was like during the time they were away, for between 1800 to 3600 years, time had stood still for them.

Jacob wanted to undergo the same rejuvenation process. Jacob’s obsession with travelling to Nibiru was such that he kept dreaming about a spaceship with angels (the Anunnaki) reaching out to him to get him on-board as hinted at in GENESIS 28:10-22.

Initially, General, Enlil was reluctant. He didn’t even want to grant Jacob an audience. But through the intermediation of the likes of Nannar-Sin and Utu-Shamash, Jacob finally got to meet Enlil to personally present his case. The two met at a place known as Penuel, meaning “Facing God”.

It was not a chance meeting as Genesis would have us believe General: it was pre-arranged. No one met a god informally or in impromptu circumstances. Jacob referred to his petition to Enlil as a blessing in that a stint on Nibiru would bless him with a longer life. The incident is narrated in GENESIS 32:22-32, with some rather dramatic embellishments.

Enlil was impressed by Jacob’s tenacity and at long last caved in. Jacob, General, had figuratively speaking “wrestled with God” in order to get what he wanted. Thus it was that on an appointed day, Jacob at long last boarded a spaceship at the spaceport at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula and was off to Nibiru.

From that time onwards, General, a spaceship became known as Jacob’s Ladder and the planet Nibiru acquired an alternative name – the Star of Jacob. But did Jacob blast off to Nibiru alone or was accompanied by other fellow Earthlings, General?

JACOB WENT TO NIBIRU WITH FAMILY!

Who held fort for Jacob whilst he was visiting the planet of the gods, General?

According to Egyptian records, General, Pharaoh Yakuber was succeeded by Pharaoh Apepi I. Since a King was always succeeded by his firstborn son with the seniormost wife, and new kings typically used a throne name different from their given name, Pharaoh Apepi I was arguably Reuben, Jacob’s eldest son with his seniormost wife Leah (theoretically speaking, that is, as Rachel, Leah’s younger sister and Jacob’s second wife, would in fact have been Jacob’s first wife had Laban, the two ladies’ father, not tricked him into hitching Leah first).

Exactly when did Jacob become Pharaoh of northern Egypt, General? When did he leave for Nibiru and for how long was he there? That, sadly, cannot be established for certain. Even the regnal periods that are indicated by the otherwise authoritative online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, are all speculative: there’s no single, incontrovertible source on the subject.

With regard to Jacob, Wikipedia itself candidly admits that “it is difficult to date his reign precisely and even the dynasty to which he belonged is uncertain”. The ancient historian Manetho, General, informs us that the Hyksos ruled Egypt for a period of 511 years. If Abraham first captured northern Egypt in 2047, then the Hykso rule ended sometime in 1530 BC.

Abraham was 175 years old when he died. Since he was born in 2123 BC, that makes the year 1948 BC the year of his death. Isaac was born during Abraham’s first 7 years in Egypt. We can tentatively place his birth in 2045 BC. He is said to have lived for 180 years, meaning he died in 1865 BC.

But we don’t know exactly when Abraham handed over to Isaac nor when Isaac handed over to Jacob, General. It was not always that kings died in office: sometimes they simply abdicated and passed the baton to their heirs for one reason or the other.

On his part, Jacob was born in 1963 BC. If, for argument’s sake, he ascended to the throne at his father’s death, he must have been just under 100 years. It explains, General, why he would have wanted to travel to Nibiru – to arrest the pace of his age so that he could enjoy a much lengthier life in power.

At the time the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt, Jacob was alive. This was circa 1530 BC, meaning Jacob was over 400 years old. Equally intriguing is the fact that even his older kids – Simeon, Levi, Judah – were all alive and must have been 300 years-plus. These ages simply were not tenable at the time: lifespans had been progressively reducing since the time of Adapa, so that King David lived for only 70 years.

So what can we deduce from these unseemly ages of the Jacobite clan during a phase of time when lifespans were dwindling, General? Simple: Jacob travelled to Nibiru with members of his family! The only one of his kids who remained was Reuben as his role as Pharaoh was crucial. Indeed, when, General, you read the Bible, you will find that Reuben is not dwelt upon in any appreciable detail: his profile seemed to have been eclipsed by those of his younger brothers, notably Simeon, Levi, Judah, and Joseph. This is because by the time his younger brothers returned from Nibiru and as young men still, Reuben was long dead and even had several generations of grandchildren. That’s why the names of the pharaohs who succeeded him (about 24 in total) sound very unfamiliar.

JACOB’S SONS LIQUIDATE SOUTHERN PHARAOH

Jacob and his kids were not away from Earth for very long, General: in Earthly terms, they were not gone for more than 300 years probably. From the same Egyptian annals, General, we can deduce quite conclusively that Jacob re-assumed his throne upon his return.

For toward the end of Hykso rule in Egypt, we see the names Pharaoh Anathar; Pharaoh Yakobaam (Yakuber in other spellings); and Pharaoh Apepi II. Pharaoh Anathar was obviously a descendent of Reuben. Pharaoh Yakobaam was the returned Jacob. Pharaoh Apepi II was of course another descendent of Reuben, whom Jacob handed over to after voluntarily stepping down, most likely due to creeping age.

Jacob’s bequest of the throne to Apepi II was a sticking point, General. Simeon and Levi, who followed immediately after Reuben, were ambitious types. They too wanted to rule. But with the throne of northern Egypt already occupied, their hands were tied. However, there was a tantalising allure down south – the Thebes throne.

Thebes was the capital city of southern Egypt, which at the time was ruled by a black Pharaoh known as Seqenenre Tao II. The two brothers reckoned that if they were to ever have a chance of ruling Egypt, they should hatch a scheme to depose and kill Tao. That way, one of them, Simeon since he was older, would take over as Pharaoh of southern Egypt whilst Apepi would continue to rule northern Egypt.

In the final analysis, it wouldn’t make much of a difference as Egypt would still be ruled by the Hyksos and the clan of Jacob though from two fronts. Simeon and Levi did manage to bring their scheme to fruition, General. They did get at Tao and assassinate him. Exactly how they did that is a matter of speculation as nobody knows for sure how they pulled it off.

There are all sorts of theories, General,  but what we do know for certain is that Tao had a very short reign and his body, which is preserved in the Cairo Museum, had two or three deep and vicious head wounds. He obviously must have been killed at close quarters, either by Simeon and Levi directly (disguised as dignitaries from northern Egypt in the manner their great grandfather Abraham did) or their agent.

HYKSO-ISRAELITES EJECTED FROM EGYPT

Sadly, General, the assassination of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II backfired horrendously: the two Jacobite brothers were unable to incite a popular uprising to catapult them to power and so they fled back to northern Egypt after they had done the deed.

In fact, the successor to Tao, his son Kamose, was so furious he vowed he would never rest until the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. Kamose accordingly waged relentless war against Apepi II. He did die in the process and his mother took over to hold fort for his minor younger brother Ahmose.

When Ahmose acceded to the throne upon attaining the age of majority, he too pounced on the Hyksos with a vengeance in continuation from where his late brother had left off. It was Ahmose who succeeded in expelling the Hyksos from Egypt and united the country circa 1525 BC.

Manetho writes of the above development thus, General: “These people, whom we have before named kings, and called Shepherds (Hyksos) also, and their descendants kept possession of Egypt 511 years.

After these, the kings of Thebes (Kamose and Ahmose) and the other parts of Egypt made an insurrection against the Shepherds, and that there a terrible and long war was made between them … The Shepherds were subdued, and were indeed driven out of other parts of Egypt, but were shut up in a place that contained ten thousand acres. This place was named Avaris (their capital) …

“… The Shepherds built a wall round all this place, which was a large and a strong wall, and this in order to keep all their possessions and their prey within a place of strength, but Thummosis (Ahmose) made an attempt to take them by force and by siege, with 480,000 men to lie rotund about them. But that, upon his despair of taking the place by that siege, they came to a composition (compact) with them, that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm to be done to them, whithersoever they would.

“After this composition was made, the Shepherds went away with their whole families and effects, not fewer in number than 240,000, and took their journey from Egypt, through the wilderness, for Syria. But that as they were in fear of the Assyrians, who had then the dominion over Asia, they built (actually developed as it was already in existence) a city in that country which is now called Judea, and that large enough to contain this great number of men, and called it Jerusalem.”

The Hykso expulsion from Egypt in 1525 BC, General, marked the first exodus of the Israelites from that country. Note that not all the Israelites left Egypt: about 240,000 remained in Avaris alone. They were known as Israelites not because they were named after Jacob but because their domain, northern Egypt, was known as I-Sira-El.

NEXT WEEK: THE “STAR” KNOWN AS DAVID

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Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

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

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

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

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

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

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

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

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

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

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

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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