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The Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. DO NOT CONTACT US ABOUT THESE DOCUMENTS. Please read the full Historical Library Disclaimer

Chapter 11

Joseph Wheless

                21 page printout, page 195 - 215
                           CHAPTER XI

             THE HOLY PRIESTS AND PROPHETS OF YAHVEH

     TURNING from the self-portrait of the Hebrew chief God, let us
view the holy priests and prophets of Yahveh, the votaries of this
Hebrew war-god. This examination will show the vague and shadowy
notions of pagan deity which they held, as well as the cardinal
characteristics of the whole priestly and prophetic hierarchy of
Israel.

     The system of priests will be seen to have been founded on the
basic principle of idle life and greedy graft; while that of the
prophets was in most cases the same, plus a crazed fanaticism such
as distinguishes the holy fakirs of India and the howling dervishes
of Arabia up to the present time. This priestly-prophetic gentry
existed from the earliest times, always and in all ancient
countries the object of special privilege and rapacious graft. When
Joseph, son of Jacob-Israel, organized the first "corner" in food-
stuffs, during the grievous seven-year famine in Egypt, be extorted
all their money from the people, by profiteering, and all the lands
in Egypt from their starving owners in exchange for food, until
"the land became Pharoah's; ... except the land of the priests
only, which became not Pharoah's" (Gen. xlvii, 20, 26). And priests
have escaped all fiscal obligation to the civil state ever since.

                      PRIESTS BEFORE MOSES

     The earliest scripture mention of a priest is a curious
instance of confused theology, and illustrates the fact, already
proved, that the Hebrew El Yahveh was common property of the
Semitic heathenism. Abram, during his wanderings into Canaan,
came to the heathen Jebusite city of Salem, which later became
Jerusalem; and there he met Melchizedek, King of Salem, who is
described as "priest of El-Elyon [the most high God]" (Gen. xiv,
18). The name Melchizedek signifies "king of righteousness." He
was a Canaanite heathen, and of course no priest of the Hebrew
El-Yahveh, knowing nothing of any special El or Yahveh of Abram.
Yahveh himself had first become known to Abram at Haran as he set
out on his family migration to Canaan (Gen. xii, 1), since which
time Yahveh had not further been heard of. Melchizedek, "priest
of El-Elyon," at once recognized Abram as a brother pagan,
worshipping the same God or gods as himself, and greeted him
warmly: "Blessed be Abram of El-Elyon" (xiv, 19). The pagan King
of Sodom joined the friendly group, and began bargaining about
the spoils of the battle; and Abram swore to him by their common
God El-Elyon that he would justly close the bargain (xiv, 21,
22). Thus, clearly, El, exalted as El-Elyon, was a common Semitic
deity, which the pagan Melchizedek served as priest just as Abram
did, and the pagan King of Sodom shared the same religious cult.
As Melchizedek was altogether a pagan priest, and is never shown
to have been "converted" to Yahveh, it is curious that Paul
several times avers that Jesus Christ was "called of God an high
priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. v, 10).

     This same Melchizedek was the most original of recorded
personages; like the government mule, he was "without pride of
ancestry or hope of progeny," according to the anonymous scribe 

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of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Here the Holy Ghost, speaking
through the sacred writer, assures us that this pagan prototype
of the Christ was born and lived "without father, without mother,
without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of
life" (Heb. vii, 3)! It is added, for confirmation of faith, that
he was "made like unto the Son of God" and "abideth a priest for
ever." This comparison is not borne out in all details, for the
Christ is said to have had a Ghostly Father and a carnal mother,
and to have gone back to heaven alive after death, while
Melchizedek, prototype, too, of the Wandering Jew, must still be
serving somewhere as priest.

                     A "KINGDOM OF PRIESTS"

     During the patriarchal times, down to the traditional
"giving of the law" on Sinai, and for a thousand years
afterwards, every man who pleased was his own priest and made his
own bloody sacrifices: Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Moses and Aaron, before and after the "law"; and Joshua, Gideon,
and all the judges, Samuel, David, Solomon, and other kings,
after the "law"; not one of them was specially ordained a priest.
No sooner had the fleeing Chosen arrived at Sinai than Yahveh
himself is recorded as proclaiming: "Ye shall be unto me a
kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex. xix, 6); that is,
every man should be at liberty to act for himself as priest and
make his own altars and sacrifices "for the atonement of his
soul" unto Yahveh.

     And under the very shadow of Sinai, the day after the first
giving of the law to Moses, Moses himself "builded an altar under
the hill, and twelve pillars [phallic mazzebahs] according to the
twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of
Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace
offerings of oxen unto Yahveh" (Ex. xxiv, 4, 5).

                 REVELATION OF PRIESTLY MONOPOLY

     But Moses had been brought up in the royal-priestly court of
Egypt and was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts
vii, 22). Consequently Moses received a "revelation" from Yahveh
that Brother Aaron should be high priest, and the four sons of
Aaron should be priests: "It shall be a statute for ever unto
their generations" (Ex. xxvii, 21; xxviii, 1) -- just as Mohammed
afterwards reserved the priesthood for his own family. Yahveh
complaisantly again decreed: "And thou shalt anoint them, as thou
didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the
priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an
everlasting priesthood throughout their generations" (Ex. xl,
15).

     Having got this divine commission in perpetuity for Brother
Aaron's family, it was necessary to sanction it with awful
Jahvistic pains and penalties, to prevent sacrilegious meddling
with the monopoly. The penalty of death was therefore decreed for
any interference with the priestly monopolists: "Thou shalt
appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their priesthood:
and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death" (Num.
iii, 10)! And it was repeated: "The man that will do 

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presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest, ... even
that man shall die" (Deut. xvii, 12). The priests of Yahveh were
as jealously exclusive as was their God whose name was Jealous;
and they were protected in their monopoly by the fatal enactment
on Sinai: "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto Yahveh
only, he shall be utterly destroyed" (Ex. xxii, 20); and these
deadly penalties were enforced by their beneficiaries.

     Of course, none of this ever historically happened; it was
put into the mouth of "Yahveh by the hand of Moses" many
centuries later, by Ezra or his priestly successors after the
return from captivity, when the ritualistic priestly system was
established in the restored remnant of the Jews to give sanction
and sanctity to their exclusive system. None of the many priests
named in the whole history after Aaron, from Eli to Hulda, the
priestess who officiated at the "finding of the law," was of the
monopolistic priesthood of Aaron; and none of them, nor of the
many non-priestly sacrificers, Gideon, Saul, Samuel, David, and
the kings of Judah and Israel, who sacrificed to many "other
gods" besides Yahveh, was ever "utterly destroyed" or put to
death for either of these flagrant violations of "the law." This
is good proof that "the law" prohibiting these practices under
penalty of death was not existent through all those centuries.
The recorded instances of infliction of these penalties were
therefore clearly anachronistic and apocryphal, related only to
terrify the "strangers who should come nigh" to question or to
meddle with the "restored" priesthood.

     Two of the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, who seem not to
have been well initiated into the mysteries of their new office,
put strange fire into their censers, "and offered strange fire
before Yahveh"; and, lo, "there went out fire from Yahveh, and
devoured them, and they died before Yahveh" (Lev. x, 1, 2). Moses
commanded Brother Aaron, in the name of Yahveh, that he and his
family should not mourn for the murdered sons, "lest ye die, and
lest wrath come upon all the people" (x, 6). Thus decreed the God
of all Compassion -- "even as a father pitieth his children."

     We are given a horrible example of the jealousy of Yahveh in
favor of his priestly monopolists which it is worth while to cite
somewhat fully. Yahveh declared, as we have seen, that the whole
holy nation of Chosen should be "a kingdom of priests" (Ex. xix,
6). Three of the renowned representatives of the Chosen, Korah,
Dathan, and Abiram, with 250 of the "princes of the
congregation," rose up before Moses and Aaron, and said unto
them: "Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are
holy, every one of them, and Yahveh is among them: wherefore then
lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of Yahveh?" (Num.
xvi, 2). Moses was very wroth, as was his wont, at this challenge
of his family monopoly, and he taunted them, saying: "Seek ye the
priesthood also?" (xvi, 10); and Moses challenged them to a
contest of incense-offering, saying: "Yahveh will shew who are
his, and who is holy" (xvi, 6). And Moses the meek "was very
wroth, and said unto Yahveh, Respect not thou their offering"
(xvi, 15).

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     Yahveh at first told Moses and Aaron to stand aside, and
threatened to smite and consume all the rest of the millions of
the holy congregation in a moment. But Moses evidently reflected
that there would be nothing to the priestly monopoly if all the
faithful were consumed; so he expostulated with Yahveh, saying:
"O El, Elohe of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and
wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?" Yahveh-El-Elohe
saw the point, and told Moses to have all the congregation keep
away from the tents of "these wicked men"; and he put a taboo
upon all their possessions, saying: "Touch nothing of their's,
lest ye be consumed" (xvi, 26). Such taboos, of the perfect
Hottentot type, riot throughout the holy pages of the Hebrew
Bible.

     The contest of incense-burning to which Moses had first
challenged the anti-monopolists was called off; and Yahveh, after
the people had stood aside, caused "these wicked men" to stand
forth in the doors of their tents, with "their wives, and their
sons, and their little ones," all doomed to a common massacre by
the merciful Yahveh, who benignly avows that he visits "the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and
fourth generation." Then Moses stood forth and proclaimed:
"Hereby ye shall know that Yahveh hath sent 'Me to do all these
works" (xvi, 28); and -- behold the righteous judgments of Yahveh
-- "the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth
opened her mouth, and wallowed them up, and their houses, and all
the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods." So
they "went down alive into the pit [Sheol], and the earth closed
upon them: and they perished from among the congregation" (xvi,
31-33). The wrath of Yahveh being not yet satiated, "there came
out a fire from Yahveh, and consumed the two hundred and fifty
men that offered incense" to their compassionate God. At the
further command of Yahveh, and as a fearful warning for all who
should dare to meddle with the priestly monopoly, the censers in
which these "wicked men" had offered their incense were beaten
out into a brazen covering for the bloody altar of Yahveh, "to be
a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which
is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before
Yahveh" (xvi, 40).

     Even yet the wrath of Yahveh was not appeased. For on the
morrow all the congregation of the Children of Yahveh murmured
against Holy Moses and Brother Aaron, saying: "Ye have killed the
people of Yahveh." Then Yahveh ordered Moses to stand aside,
"that I may consume them as in a moment" (xvi, 46); and he sent a
plague and killed 14,700 more of them (xvi, 49). Yahveh is indeed
a merciful and a jealous God. One admission of the falsity of the
record mitigates this wholesale murder; for inspiration elsewhere
flatly contradicts the inspired assertion that "all their
households" were swallowed up alive: "Notwithstanding the
children of Korah died not" (Num. xxvi, 11).

     To confirm the priestly monopoly of the Aaron family, Yahveh
resorted to a rod-conjuring contest reminiscent of the contests
in Egypt. He ordered Moses to take twelve rods, according to the
twelve tribes, and write the name of the chief of each tribe on
the respective rods, putting Aaron's name on the rod of the tribe

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of Levi, and to lay the rods up overnight. "And it shall come to
pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and
I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of
Israel, whereby they murmur against you" (Num. xvii, 1-5) --
though their murmurings never did cease. So Moses took the twelve
rods, representing the phallic "staff of life," and laid them up
overnight in the tent where the Ark of the Covenant was housed;
and, lo, on the morrow, "the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi
was budded ... and yielded almonds" (xvii, 7, 8)! Thus
vindicated, 'Yahveh told Moses: "Bring Aaron's rod again before
the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and
thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they
die not" (xvii, 10). Who would not love such a benign Deity? The
Chosen were filled with godly fear, saying unto Moses: "Behold,
we die, we perish, we perish all. Whosoever cometh any thing near
unto the tabernacle of Yahveh shall die" (xvii, 12, 13). To cap
the climax of divine sanction for the priestly monopoly, and
everlastingly secure the priests in their power and profit, Moses
cajoled from Yahveh on Sinai this fatal and priestly decree: "The
man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the
priest, ... even that man shall die" (Deut. xvii, 12). Thus were
the priestly fetters firmly riveted on the neck of the
superstitious people, where they have galled humanity until this
very year of his Son Christ. But humanity is coming to know the
truth, and the truth shall make men free.

                    THE PRIESTLY PERQUISITES

     A large part of the "Five Books of Moses" is taken up with
sacred prescriptions by Yahveh for the holy incantations and
bloody ceremonials of the sect of priests, and for the
enforcement of their sacred perquisites. Yahveh himself fully
initiated Moses into the sacred mysteries of smearing the blood
of victims on the right ear-tips and big toes of Brother Aaron
and his sons, and in teaching them to dip their fingers in the
blood of the victims (Ex. xxix, 20; Lev. xiv). But, naturally,
the most important feature of the holy ministry was the rules and
regulations of their divinely ordained spoils from all Israel.

     This was a gigantic guerdon; for when the priestly
assistants (the Levites) were "numbered at the commandment of
Yahveh, all the males of the Levites were twenty and two
thousand" (Num. iii, 39). It was ordained amid the fires and
thunders of Sinai, that "No man shall appear before me empty when
he cometh to make atonement for his soul" (Ex. xxiii, 15). No
pay, no atonement.

     It would be impossible, in this outline, to go into the
details of the priestly system of tribute. Every act of life,
from the cradle to the grave, must be accompanied by sacrifices
and offerings, at which the priests must officiate, and for which
receive their holy pay. There 'were sin-offerings, peace-
offerings, trespass-offerings, and other revenue-producing
offerings too numerous to catalogue. In most instances, Yahveh
got the "sweet savor" of the burnt smell of them, and the holy
priests got the solid nourishment which the sacrificed animals 

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afforded. These offerings were frequently simply "waved before
Yahveh." After this ceremony, "it shall be thine, and thy sons'
with thee, by a statute for ever; as Yahveh hath commanded" (Lev.
x, 15).

     Chapter vii of Numbers, with 89 verses, is a marvelous
account of rich donations made to the priests by the principal
leaders of the Chosen; these just-escaped slaves could only have
stolen them when, a few weeks before, they "spoiled the
Egyptians" -- unless indeed, it never happened at all, or
occurred ages later, when the priestly system was well
established and the "law" was "found" by Hilkiali the priest.
Numbers xviii gives a precious view of this whole scheme of
priestly rewards ordained to Aaron and his kin. A few lines must
suffice: "All the best of [everything] have I given thee. And
whatsoever is first ripe in the land ... shall be thine. ...
Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine. Every thing that
openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto Yahveh,
whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the
firstborn of man, ... and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt
thou redeem" (Num. xviii, 12-15), for a fixed price, which the
priests got. All the gold and silver spoils of war are declared
"consecrated unto Yahveh: they shall come into the treasury of
Yahveh" (Josh. vi, 19), for the priests. "And, behold, I have
given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an
inheritance" (xviii, 21). Every time the people were "numbered,"
every one of them over twenty years old had to pay a half-shekel
for "a ransom for his soul unto Yahveh, ... that there be no
plague among them, when thou numberest them" (Ex. xxx, 12) -- a
very fruitful source of income.

     The first-fruits of all the land, and the best of everything
else, "Without spot or blemish," and a tenth of everything were,
in a word, the perpetual income of these holy servers of Yahveh.
It is stated that a common resort of shiftless loafers of Israel
shall be to come to a priest and bow down to him for a piece of
silver and a loaf of bread, saying,: "Put me, I pray thee, into
one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread?' (1
Sam. ii, 36). The custom has ever since been popular.

                     THE HOLY FAKIR PROPHETS

     The prophets, as described by Inspiration, were a precious
set of lazy and worthless vagabonds of Israel, the exact
counterpart of the howling dervishes and divination-mongers of
their cousin Ishmaelites. In speaking of prophets one thinks
naturally of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and such reputed "holy
men of God": these are but a few signal ones out of thousands of
unkempt and unclean loafers, who went publicly naked -- as did
Aaron, Saul, Samuel, David, Isaiah -- or wore old bran-sacks for
clothes -- like John the Baptist and others -- and wandered about
begging, and selling sorceries and magic, and talking in a wild
sing-song jargon of which they themselves did not know the
meaning. The usual term to describe them was in the Hebrew
language meshuggah (frenzied); they wandered about "prophesying,"
or, as the Hebrew word actually signifies (see the Revised
Version) razing through the land. Their current Hebrew name was
Nabi, which "signified to speak enthusiastically, 'to utter 

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cries, and make more or less wild gestures,' like the pagan
mantics" (Cath. Encyc., Vol. XII, p. 477, art. Prophecy, Prophet,
and Prophetess). They were "seers," fortune-tellers, and
diviners, through pretended dreams and trances, and by the use of
sacred dice and arrows, and phallic images of Yahveh.

     The job of a prophet was a free-for-all occupation, which
any one who pretended to feel the divine afflatus, or was a
fluent liar, could take up at will and without license. The
prophet Amos frankly states his own case, which was typical and
has passed into a proverb: "I was no prophet, neither was I a
prophet's son; but I was an herdsman; ... and Yahveh took me as I
followed the flock, and Yahveh said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my
people Israel" (Amos vii, 14, 15). Elisha, the baldpate, was a
farmer, who when Elijah passed by, dropped his plough and ran
after him, and became a prophet too. After this manner are many
modern "divines" self-"called."

     Jeremiah describes their single qualification: "Every man
that is mad [ish meshuggah], and maketh himself a prophet" (Jer.
xxix, 26). Hosea also declares the same truth: "The prophet is a
fool, the man that hath the spirit is mad [meshuggah]" (Hos. ix,
7). Elisha is called "this mad fellow [meshuggah]" (2 Kings ix,
11). A thousand instances prove the truth of these candid
admissions that the prophets were a rabble of frenzied fakirs. We
have seen the example of Saul, when "the spirit of Yahveh came
mightily upon him, and he prophesied" (Heb., raved), along with
the whole band of howling, naked prophets (1 Sam. xix, 6); and
frequently afterwards it is related of him: "The evil spirit from
the gods came upon Saul, and be prophesied" (raved; xviii, 10).
Like the devils that came down from among the tombs, their name
was Legion; they infested the land like the locusts of the
Egyptian plague. Jeremiah describes them gadding about the
country, crying: "I have dreamed, I have dreamed," and, saith
Yahveh, "prophesying [raving] lies in my name" (Jer. xxiii, 25).

                      THE FRENZIED PROPHETS

     The word "prophet," as a name for these nomadic conjurers
and fortune-tellers, is a late Biblical term; they were
originally called -- just as the fortune-tellers and trance-
mediums of to-day describe themselves in their advertisements --
"seers"; people who "see things" in their imaginations, or
pretend for pay to see them. Samuel, who well describes the
grafting practices of this gentry, testifies to this: "Before-
time in Israel, when a man went to enquire of the gods [ha-
Elohim], thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer [roeh]:
for he that is now called a Prophet [Nabi] was beforetime called
a Seer [Roeh)" (1 Sam. ix, 9). We may note here another sidelight
on Bible editorship: as the word "Roeh" ("Seer") is used
throughout the Books of Samuel and elsewhere, it is evident that
these books were compiled long afterwards, when "Nabi" ("raver,"
hence "prophet") was the word in current use, so that the
original and then obsolete word, "Roeh," had to be explained.

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                   THE DIVINE TEST OF PROPHECY

     The ear-marks and badge of authenticity of a prophecy-manger
are prescribed in the law, in terms of sufficient vagueness to
allow considerable latitude of practice in the craft: "If there
be a prophet among you, I Yahveh will make myself known unto him
in a vision, and will speak unto him in a drearh' (Num. xii, 6)
-- a test obviously lending itself to the objection afterwards
made by Yahveh himself, through Jeremiah: "I have heard what the
prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have
dreamed, I have dreamed" (Jer. xxiii, 25). Again, the credentials
are thus prescribed by Yahveh: "If there arise among you a
prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a
wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass. whereof he spake
unto thee, saying [things idolatrous and mischievous]; Thou shalt
not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of
dreams: for Yahveh your God proveth you, to know whether ye love
Yahveh your God. ... And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams,
shall be put to death" (Deut. xiii, 1-5). Certainly an odd sort
of roving commission and a barbarous punishment for the poor dupe
of Yahveh.

     But a more comprehensive and soul-satisfying, though
precarious test of the authenticity and veracity of the prophet
is again laid down by Yahveh:

          "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not
     hearken unto my words which [the prophet] shall speak in my
     name, I will require it of him.
          "But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in
     my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that
     shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet
     shall die.
          "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the
     word which Yahveh hath not spoken?
          "When a prophet speaketh in the name of Yahveh, if the
     thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which
     Yahveh hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it
     presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut.
     xviii, 19-22)!

     That this latter is the real, though negative, test of true
prophecy, is not only thus averred by Yahveh, but he gives a
remarkable example of its efficiency. When from the burning bush
Yahveh ordered Moses to bring the Children of Israel out of
Egypt, and Moses demurred, Yahveh reassured him: "And this shall
be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast
brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve the gods
[ha-elohim] upon this mountain" (Ex. iii, 12). Though, by the
same divine token, Isaiah prophesied "presumptuously" and falsely
when be told Ahaz that the two kings would fail before Jerusalem
(Isa. vii), for the city was captured by them and nearly
destroyed (2 Chron. xxviii).

     This same safe test of prophecy is stated in its affirmative
form by the shifty Jeremiah: "When the word of the prophet shall
come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that Yahveh hath 

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truly sent him" (Jer. xxviii, 9). For how long, O Yahveh, must
the expectant and impatient votary wait to know whether the "man
of the Gods" [ish haelohim] has missed his guess or not, and his
message was or was not of Thee? Isaiah prophesied a "sign" in the
Virgin-born son Immanuel (Isa. vii, 14), and not till 750 years
later, as Matthew says, was it "fulfilled which was spoken of
Yahveh by the prophet" (Matt. i, 22); whereas Jesus himself
prophesied that his second coming would be in the lifetime of
those hearing him speak (Matt. xvi, 28) -- and in nearly two
thousand years the event has not proved the truth of the
prophecy. Full faith and credence may, however, charitably be
awarded to these prophecy-mangers, at least until the event
proves that "they speak lies in my name." Having thus satisfied
our minds, if not our souls, as to the official character and
tests of veracity of prophets, we will return to the revelations
of their inspired methods of plying their sacred trade.

                 SAMUEL, DEAN OF THE PROFESSION

     The great "meshuggah" Samuel was stark frenzied, like all of
the howling bands of fakir-prophets with whom he paraded naked up
and down the land. A graphic picture of them is given by Samuel
himself, or whoever wrote his biography. David had fled from the
wrath of Saul, and Saul "sent messengers to take David"; but as
each squad of messengers came upon "the company of the prophets
prophesying [raving], and Samuel standing as appointed over them,
the spirit of the Gods was upon the messengers of Saul, and they
also prophesied [raved]." After three details of messengers had
"failed" in this way, Saul himself went on his own mission; and
as he went, "the Spirit of the gods was upon him also, and he
went on, and prophesied [raved], until he came" to where all the
others were assembled. The whole outfit were stark naked and
raving; and Saul "stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied
[raved] before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that
day and all that night" (I Sam. xix, 14-24). And by this token of
rank insanity and phallic idolatry, was "Saul also numbered among
the prophets," to the derision of the public.

     Samuel himself was a well-known "seer," or fortune-teller
and prophecy-monger, as appears from 1 Samuel ix. It is related,
by divine inspiration, that Kish, the father of Saul, had several
asses which had strayed, and he sent young Saul and one of the
family servants to "go seek the asses." After beating the
country-side for several days without success, when Saul was on
the point of giving up and returning home, the servant said:
"Behold now, there is in this city a man of the gods [ish-ha-
elohim], and he is a man that is held in honor; all that he saith
cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can
shew us" where to find the lost asses. But Saul replied --
showing that he well knew the raison-d'etre of the fortune-
telling craft -- that he had no money, nothing with which to pay,
-- "there is not a present to bring to the man-of-the-gods" [ish-
ha-elohim].

     But the servant rescued him from this difficulty: "Behold, I
have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that
will I give to the man of the gods, to tell us our way" (ix, 8). 

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As they went into the city, they met some girls, and asked them:
"Is the seer [Heb., roeh] here?" And the girls told them that
Samuel was in town that day, having come to town expressly to
attend a big picnic sacrifice held by the people of the town in
the Baalic high-place of the city, "for the people will not eat
until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice" (ix, 13).
This, incidentally, proves the heathenish practices of this holy
man of the gods, and of all the people; and proves that the "law"
pretended to have been promulgated by Moses long before did not
yet exist; for this "law" a thousand times denounces the "high
places" as a heathenish abomination, and prohibits under penalty
of death the performance of sacrifices by any but the holy
monopoly of priests.

     Saul and his servant started on their search for Samuel; and
as they went along, they met a man to whom Saul said: "Tell me, I
pray thee, where the seer's house is." The man replied: "I am the
seer." Samuel then invited them to dinner; and without waiting to
be asked about the asses, he said: "As for thine asses that were
lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are
found." After several other matters which need not be related,
Samuel told Saul a number of things which he should see as he
returned along the road, among which was a "company of prophets
coming down from the high place" (of phallic Baal-worship),
playing a diversity of musical instruments, "and they shall
prophesy [rave]" (x, 5). This proves precisely the wild and
incoherent nature of "meshuggah" practice. And Samuel said to
Saul: "The Spirit of Yahveh will come upon thee, and thou shalt
prophesy [rave] with them" (x, 6). And so it came to pass; and
when the people who knew Saul saw that he "prophesied [raved]
among the prophets," they said: "What is this that is come unto
the son of Kish." Is Saul also among the prophets?" (x, 11). Then
they all went up to the phallic high-place together. All this I
have stated at some length, in order to give a graphic idea, from
the Sacred Scriptures, of what manner of men were these holy
prophets of Yahveh, and what was the manner of their practices.,

                             ELIJAH

     Elijah the Tishbite was a typical "meshuggah"; he was "an
hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins" (2
Kings i, 8); he lived in deserts and caves, and angels and ravens
fed him; he saw and talked with Yahveh in great and strong winds
which rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks, in
earthquakes, in fires, and in a still small voice. He had a
wonder-working phallic staff, with which he parted the waters of
rivers so that he could walk across dry-shod; and he is said to
have raised a dead child to life by laying the stick upon him (2
Kings iv, 29).

     Elijah murdered two companies of fifty soldiers and their
captains by calling down fire from heaven to consume them in
order to prove "if I be a man of the gods" (2 Kings i, 12); and
he murdered the 450 priests of Baal and the 400 "priests of the
groves" (asherah), for the same purpose. As Elijah himself
admits: "I, even I only, remain a prophet of Yahveh" (1 Kings
xviii, 22); and as there were at that time only seven thousand 

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persons in all Israel who "bent not the knee to Baal" and kissed
not the Baalic phallus, as the sacred text says (I Kings xix,
18), it would seem that this mighty "meshuggah" of Yahveh used
drastic means to vindicate his very minor dignity and importance.

                             ELISHA

     Even old Elisha, who had a double portion of the spirit of
his partner Elijah shed upon him, could not get his prophetic
conjuring up until he was put into a trance by music -- the
instrument of prophetic trance being preferably (and
appropriately) the lyre, as is instanced in 2 Kings iii, 15.
Elisha had Yahveh murder forty-two little children because, in
their childish simplicity and want of good manners, they said:
"Go up, thou bald head." As these two old cronies, Elijah and
Elisha, walked along and talked one day, "behold, there appeared
a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both
asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" --
something more than a million light years distant. How these
fiery objects could have come so close to Elisha without burning
him or the mantle of Elijah, which fell from him as he went up,
is not explained. Elisha organized a posse and beat the woods for
Elijah for three days (2 Kings ii, 17), thinking evidently that
the driver of the fiery chariot had kidnapped him. This would
seem to discount the inspired statement that Elijah was visibly
whisked away into heaven before the very eyes of Elisha.

     Elisha continued to go about alone and do much potent magic,
such as making an ax-head swim, "healing" water that tasted bad,
by casting salt into it, and going into a weird trance until "the
hand of Yahveh came upon him," in order to be able to "prophesy"
to the kings, during a drought, that they could get water by
digging the low valley of the Jordan full of trenchess -- a trick
that any farmer's prentice could have told them just as well.

                             ISAIAH

     The great Isaiah was a "meshuggah of the meshuggahs." He
admits it himself, and everything which he uttered attests it: he
appears never to have had a lucid interval. He was certainly
stark mad when, as he says, at Yahveh's dread command, he took
the old bran-sack from off his loins and the shoes from his feet,
and "walked naked and barefoot, three years for a sign and wonder
[as indeed it must have been!] upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia"
(Isa. xx, 2, 3); and he had not recovered when he wrote about it,
or he would never have told it.

     Isaiah had chronic intestinal trouble, which may have been
what caused him to be so "meshuggah"; for he groans "my bowels
shall sound [or, Revised Version, "will boil"] like an harp"
(Isa. xvi, 11), and he says his loins are "filled with pain:
pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that
travaileth. ... My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me" (Isa.
xxi, 3, 4); and he despairingly avowed: "I will weep bitterly,
labor not to comfort me" (Isa. xxii, 4). No wonder he saw and
said things which even Aristotle could not unriddle. His dream-
book is entitled "The Vision of Isaiah"; and his raving
"prophecies" are divided into paragraphs headed, in the English 

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translation, "the burden of Jerusalem," of Egypt, of Babylon,
etc. The Hebrew word of the original means "the oracle
concerning"; like the "prophecies" of all the "meshuggahs," they
are just as pellucid in style and innocent of intelligent meaning
as the incoherent jargon of the Greek oracles of Apollo or of the
Pythoness.

     In the year in which King Uzziah died, Isaiah says he "saw
Yahveh sitting upon a throne. ... Above it stood the seraphims:
each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with
twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly," and the
whole place was filled with smoke, until Isaiah cried: "Lord, how
long?" (Isa. vi, 1, 2, 11). Afterwards he saw Yahveh riding upon
a swift cloud going to Egypt; it was on this trip that Yahveh was
to be received triumphantly with an "altar to Yahveh in the midst
of the land of Egypt, and a mazzebah ["pillar"] at the border
thereof" -- a phallic device which he says "shall be for a sign
and for a witness unto Yahveh Sabaoth in the land of Egypt" (Isa.
xix, 19, 20).

     In His frenzy, Isaiah calls upon the ships of Tarshish to
howl (Isa. xxiii, 1); and says that the earth shall reel to and
fro like a drunkard, and the moon shall be confounded, and the
sun ashamed; that Yahveh with a great and strong sword shall
punish Leviathan the serpent, and shall slay the dragon that is
in the sea. He displays his inspired notions of cosmical
geography by speaking of the "ends of the earth" (Isa. xl, 28;
xli, 5) and the "four corners of the earth" (Isa. xi, 12) -- a
bit of inspired ignorance which held the world benighted for
centuries, to the great credit of inspired infallible church and
its holy Inquisition, until heretical Columbus proved that
uninspired pagan Pythagoras, Aristotle, Seneca, and Ptolemy were
better diviners of the truth than was Yahveh's own Prophet. Burns
sang of "rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire"; it is all that, and
something less poetic besides.

     But Isaiah, as is well known, did not write the Book of
Isaiah, or wrote only fragments of it; the book is a patchwork of
various authors and editors, covering two centuries and more
after the death of Isaiah. The book describes itself as "The
Vision of Isaiah" (Isa. i, 1), and thus, according to the
definition of the term "vision" in Numbers xii, 61 is confessedly
a "dream-book" rather than a chronicle of actual happenings. The
"visions" are supposed to have been seen "in the days of Uzziah,
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah," between the years
760-700 B.C., the latter year being accepted as that of Isaiah's
death. But they include the story of the murder of Sennacherib by
his sons (Isa. xxxvii, 37, 38) which occurred in the year 681
B.C. More notorious anachronisms are the references to Cyrus:
"Babylon is fallen, is fallen" (Isa. xxi, 9) -- captured by Cyrus
in 538 B.C.; "That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd" (Isa. xliv,
28); "Thus saith Yahveh to his messiah, to Cyrus, whose right
hand I have holden" (Isa. XIV, 1); "I will direct all his ways,
he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives" (xlv,
13). This relates to the return from captivity, nearly two
centuries after the death of Isaiah. Large portions of the book
are post-exilic. Chapter xxiii howls over the destruction of 

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Tyre, which was wrought by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. Some
portions (e.g., chapter lxiii) are assigned by the scholars to a
period as late as the Hasmonean, about 165 B.C. Consequently our
prophet must be acquitted of many of the absurdities orthodoxy
attributed to him, as well as robbed of the halo of ultra-
sanctity ascribed to his "prophetic" oracles.

                            JEREMIAH

     The Wailing Prophet, Jeremiah, was little less "meshuggah"
than Isaiah himself. He says: "Since I spake, I cried out, I
cried violence and spoil" (Jer. xx, 8). He also was diseased: he
agonizes and cries out: "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my
very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me" (iv, 19); he cries
aloud: "I am full of the fury of Yahveh; I am weary with holding
in" (vi, 11)! He avers that "Yahveh put forth his hand and
touched my mouth, and said unto me, Behold, I have put my words
in thy mouth," and told him to "Go, cry against Jerusalem."
Jeremiah fulfilled his divine mission to the letter; and then,
for good measure, added his weeping Lamentations, in which he
again complains: "Behold, O Yahveh; for I am in distress: my
bowels are troubled" (Lam. i, 20). And yet after these two
pitiful appeals, the "Great Physician" did not so much as
prescribe bitters for his poor sick prophet.

                             EZEKIEL

     The most perfectly frenzied of the whole troupe of prophets,
so far as the record goes, is Ezekiel. His regular diet seems to
have been bread made of human dung; but for some unrevealed
reason, Yahveh indulgently gave him a substitute of cow's dung,
and commanded him: "Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's
dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith" (Ezek. iv, 15).
And he assures us that Elohe Yahveh "put forth the form of an
hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted
me up between the earth and the heaven" (viii, 3); and that "the
heavens were opened, and I saw visions of Yahveh" and things
unspeakable.

     Neither man nor beast, before or since, except maybe in
heaven, ever looked like what Ezekiel tries to describe: "Every
one had four faces, and every one had four wings. [Isaiah says
(vi, 2, 11), each one had six wings; but probably he couldn't see
to count because of the smoke]. ... They four had the face of a
man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had
the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face
of an eagle: Thus were their faces.

     Their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like
the appearance of lamps; and the fire was bright, and out of the
fire went forth lightning." They had wheels (or perhaps it was
Ezekiel himself), and works inside like "a wheel in the middle of
a wheel"; and they had four rings "full of eyes round about"
(Ezek. i, 6-18).

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     Ezekiel too had cramps of the stomach, even worse than
Jeremiah's, if possible, for Yahveh made him eat the roll of a 
book, and fill his belly with it (iii, 1-3); and it tasted in his
mouth "as honey for sweetness." The apoplectic John of Patmos had
to eat a similar book (or maybe it was the same one rehashed),
which also tasted like honey, but which, says, made his belly
bitter (Rev. x, 10). Both instances are proof of the Shaksperian
remark: "Things sweet to taste are to digestion sour." Their
dyspepsia must have been something awful, to judge from the
nightmare visions they had and the excruciating things they saw
and uttered.

                             DANIEL

     The greatest dream-book extant is that of Daniel, to which
those of Isaiah and Ezekiel are only close seconds. Daniel avows
that Yahveh endowed him with "understanding of all visions and
dreams"; so that he was "ten times better than all the magicians
and astrologers" in all the king's realm (Dan. i, 20). He several
times relates (e.g., in viii, 18) that "as [Yahveh] was speaking
with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground," --
his favorite attitude for wooing nightmare revelation.

     He certainly saw some fearful and wonderful things: he
describes his "control" as having a "face as the appearance of
lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his
feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words
like the voice of a multitude" (x. 6). It is no wonder that all
Daniel's "comeliness was turned ... into corruption" within him,
all his strength left him (x. 8); and he had abdominal disorders,
and pains in his head. He says: "I was grieved in my spirit in
the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me"
(vii, 15).

     Poor Daniel spent much time in "prayer and supplications,
with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes" (ix, 3), and would mourn
for three full weeks at a time, without eating or making his
toilet (x, 2, 3). It was enough to derange anybody. He would hear
the terrible voice of Yahveh as he was in his deep sleep on his
face, with his face towards the ground; and Yahveh would "set me
upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands" (x, 9, 10); and
while he was in this graceful but uncomfortable posture, on all
fours, Yahveh told him many incomprehensible things, as Daniel
himself frankly admits: "I heard, but I understood not" (xii, 8).
Nor has anyone else understood ever since. These visions' which
he had, of "all the wonders' that would be," were very explicitly
scheduled to come to pass within the very precise period of "a
time, times, and a half" (xii, 7) -- whenever that is. I remark
only that among the myriads of Babylonian monuments and records
which have so far been unearthed and deciphered, thanks to modern
science, the one which records how good old King Nebuchadnezzar,
a heathen special friend of the Yahveh of Israel, by whom he was
given the dominion of the earth (Jer. xxvii, 6-8), turned ox and
ate grass for seven years has not yet appeared, nor is the name
of the prince regent during that interregnum yet recovered. And
no monument preserves the name of the inspired prime minister
Daniel, or records the incidents of the lions' den or the fiery 

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furnace. Perhaps all this will be found on the next monument or
in the next court record to be translated by the scholars. Let us
hope so, for the sake of dear old Daniel's veracity.

     So far as profane history has yet discovered, however, none
of these inspiredly related events happened as recorded.
Nebuchadnezzar had no son and successor of the name of
Belshazzar; there was no such king as Daniel's hero of the
"handwriting on the wall," his last King of Babylon, slain at the
great feast, from whom "Darius the Median took the kingdom" (Dan.
v.). Babylon was taken by Cyrus in 538 B.C. from Narbonidus, last
King of Babylon. Darius (not a personal name, but a title, like
"Pharaoh"), whose name was Hystaspes, was chosen king about 522
B.C., after the death of Cambyses, son and successor of Cyrus. He
was a Persian, not a Mede. The whole Book of Daniel is simply a
legend, a Jewish apocalypse, written, according to the consensus
of scholarly opinion, in the Maccabean times, about 165 B.C. The
fateful "handwriting on the wall" vanishes before our eyes in the
shadows of myth, and Daniel's "prophecies," all ex post facto, go
glimmering into the same limbo.

                   YAHVEH'S HOWLING DERVISHES

     The so-called prophets, major and minor, are one and all
typical examples of the howling dervish of the desert. Hear them
howl! What a string of howls from the great howl-master Isaiah:
"Howl ye, for the day of Yahveh is at hand" (Isa. xiii, 6)!
"Howl, O gate; cry, O city" (xiv, 31)! "Every one shall howl"
(xvi, 7)! "Howl, ye inhabitants of the isle" (xxiii, 6)! "Ye
shall howl for vexation of spirit" (lxv, 14)!' Jeremiah swells
the refrain: "Lament and howl: for the fierce anger of Yahveh"
(Jer. iv, S)! "All the inhabitants of the land shall howl"
(xlvii, 2)! Ezekiel, he who saw things inexplicable, joins in:
"Cry and howl, son of man" (Ezek. xxi, 12)! "Howl ye, Woe worth
the day!" (xxx, 2). And the "minor league" joins the chorus:
"Howl, ye inhabitants!" cries Zephaniah (Zeph. i, 11); "Howl, O
ye oaks of Bashan!" bellows Zechariah (Zech. xi, 2); "The songs
of the temple shall be howlings!" howls Amos (Amos viii, 3). Joel
not only howls himself, but wants everybody else to howl: "Awake,
ye drunkards, weep and howl! Lament, ye priests! Howl, ye
ministers of the altar! Alas, for the day of Yahveh is at hand!
How do the beasts groan! Yahveh also shall roar out of Zion!"
(Joel, passim). Poor Job -- but then he was not a prophet but a
pagan, and it is not known how he got into the Bible. Job is the
only one who does not howl; be wails: "My bowels boiled; ... the
days of affliction prevented me" (Job xxx, 27)! Micah exults in
his frenzy, crying: "I will wail and howl; I will go stripped and
naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as
the owls" (Mic. i, 8)

                       PROPHETIC EROTICISM

     These prophets had other peculiarities which are not
overmuch to their credit or to that of their Yahveh. Hosea was
apparently the subject of neuropathic erotomania. His induction
into prophecy was a vision in which Yahveh commanded him: "Go,
take thee a wife of whoredoms" (Hos. i, 2), as he proceeds to do 

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without any recorded reluctance. He has by her a couple of
children, without being married. He has to make these children
"plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither
am I her husband"; begging her to "put away her whoredoms ... and
her adulteries" (ii, 2), so as to indulge in them only with this
holy one, who threatens to "strip her naked" (ii, 3), if she
doesn't quit them. But she kept it up; for Hosea tells us, she
"went after her lovers and forgat me"; and Yahveh tried to help
him win her back, for Yahveh says: "Behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness" (ii, 14). This kindly divine
Go-between seems to have failed of success, for Yahveh tells
Hosea: "Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an
adulteress" (iii, 1). This also he does without delay. This new
lady-love seems to have highly pleased the amorous Hosea, for he
tells her: "Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not
play the harlot and thou shalt not be for another man; so will I
also be for thee" (iii, 3). The erotic visions of Hosea quite
rival the amatory Canticles of Solomon, and take all the romance
out of Don Juan Tenorio.

     Amos had visions likening Yahveh to a choleric fisherman,
swearing unto his people by his holiness, "that he will take you
away with hooks, and your posterity with fish-hooks"; and while
they didn't wear trousers in those days, he swears (perhaps of
the posterity in pants), "and ye shall go out at the breaches"
(iv, 2, 3). He promises that Yahveh shall break out like a fire
and devour Israel, and there will be none to quench it; and he
says that Yahveh says he will command the serpent and it shall
bite them (ix, 3).

     Jonah should be passed with a sympathetic tear; for surely
he had great disappointment, after all his vicissitudes, in
Nineveh's being spared after all, and had some reason to complain
to Yahveh, "It is better for me to die than to live" -- as nobody
these days doubts. He should not be expected to tell us about his
experiences with much calmness of reason.

     The rest of the herd of "minor" prophets likewise gadded
about, with their various "burdens" sore upon them, preaching
divine wrath and destruction in like frenzied and incoherent
fashion, dealing damnation round the land. Malachi reaches the
climax of low-comedy vengeance with the holy Yahveh's picturesque
threat: "I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your
faces" (Mal. ii, 3); and he winds up with the promise or threat
of the "great and dreadful day of Yahveh," that shall burn as an
oven, and shall burn up as stubble all those who do wickedly, and
Yahveh shall "smite the earth with a curse" (iv, 6). As if the
infliction of the whole of Yahveh's dread and holy Word upon
humanity were not curse enough already.

     This ends the unprofitable tale of the prophets, told in
their own frenzied, incoherent, fury-breathing jargon, and proves
their just right to their title of meshuggah. All the foregoing
is inspired revelation of what "prophesying" was among the holy
fraternity of Hebrew prophets. We have an awesome idea of
"prophecy" as the speaking by divine inspiration of the truths of
God and the inspired revealing of the hidden things of the 

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future, for so our Sunday schools teach, and pious "divines"
preach. But "God's Word" reveals something quite different. All
the frenzied fakirs whom we have seen wandering up and down,
naked and crazed and "raving," were not "prophesying" truths of
God nor revelations of the future. Crazed to start with, and
worked into a howling frenzy by wild "jazz" music of a barbarous
kind (I Sam. x, 5; 2 Kings iii, 15; et passim), they truly
"raved" frothy and incoherent non-sense.

                    PROPHETIC LYING FACTIONS

     With the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon,
followed by constant civil war and partisan hatreds, the prophets
split into factions filled with hatreds -- just like some
Christian churches at the time of the American Civil War; and
they prophesied lies against each other patriotically. At one
time Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and Ahab, King of Israel, made
common cause against the common enemy's the king of Syria; a
story which illustrates several tricks of the prophetic trade (I
Kings xxii). Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to "enquire at the word of
Yahveh to-day" about the expedition; and Ahab "gathered the
prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them,
Shall I go ... to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go
up." But these four hundred were prophets of Israel, and the King
of Judah mistrusted them, and wanted one of his own party; so he
asked: "Is there not here a prophet of Yahveh besides, that we
might enquire of him?" Ahab replied that there was one, Micaiah,
"but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but
evil" (xxii, 8).

     Jehoshaphat insisted, however, and Micaiah was sent for. The
messenger told him that all the other prophets had "declared good
unto the king with one mouth," and asked him to speak good
likewise. But Micaiah replied that he would speak only "what
Yahveh saith unto me." So when Micaiah came before the kings, he
prophesied also: "Go up, and prosper; for Yahveh shall deliver
the city into the hand of the king." Then Ahab, mistrusting, said
to him: "How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me
nothing but that which is true in the name of Yahveh?" (xxii, 16)
Micaiah then retorted with this lying prophecy of conspiracy,
which is a blasphemy against any real God of heaven: "Hear thou
therefore the word of Yahveh: "I saw Yahveh sitting on his
throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him. ... And
Yahveh said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall
at Ramoth-gilead? ... And there came forth a spirit, and stood
before Yahveh, and said, I will persuade him. And Yahveh said
unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be
a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said,
Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so"!
And, said Micaiah, "Behold, Yahveh hath put a lying spirit in the
mouth of all these thy prophets, and Yahveh hath spoken evil
concerning thee" (xxii, 19-23). What precious revelation of God!

     It is curious that after Yahveh had framed this conspiracy,
and inspired four hundred of his prophets to lie and entice Ahab
to his death, Yahveh should be so careless as to let another of
his holy prophets "spill the beans" by revealing the conspiracy.
All that Micaiah got for his word of truth was the kingly order: 

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"Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with the bread of
affliction and with water of affliction" (xxii, 27). As Micaiah
was led away to his doom, be fired this Parthian shot at Ahab:
"If thou return at all in peace, Yahveh hath not spoken by me"
(xxii, 28). And this time the event proved the case for Micaiah,
for Ahab was struck by an arrow shot at a venture, and was killed
(xxi, 35-37), and the other four hundred prophets of Yahveh were
proved wholesale liars by the "lying spirit from Yahveh."

     This scene is not the only instance of unbecoming jealousy
and tribal hatred between these holy ones of Yahveh. The kings of
Judah and Israel together besought the "word of Yahveh" from
Elisha, and this venerable baldpate, being of the faction of
Judah, scorned to deal with the king of Israel, saying: "What
have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father,
and to the prophets of thy mother" (2 Kings iii, 13). But after
expostulation by the king of Israel, Elisha spit back: "As Yahveh
liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard
the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look
toward thee, nor see thee" (iii, 14).

     An interesting instance of personal altercation and
recrimination between two of the holy men of Yahveh is related by
Jeremiah. This holy wailer had prophesied that the king of
Babylon, in the pending war, would finish the destruction of
Jerusalem; while a rival prophet, one Hananiah, had declared:
"Thus speaketh Yahveh Sabaoth, the Elohe of Israel, saying, I
have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon" (Jer. xxviii, 2).
The altercation proceeds through the chapter to this comical and
fatal climax: "Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the
prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; Yahveh hath not sent thee; but thou
makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith
Yahveh; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth:
this year thou shalt die. ... So Hananiah the prophet died the
same year" (xxviii, 16, 17)! An edifying instance, this, of post
hoc, ergo propter hoc; and a first-class illustration of
prophetic ethics, and the inodus vivendi of the whole holy class.

     It is impossible to relate all the trumperies and lies and
false prophecies of these inspired prophets of Yahveh; the Holy
Bible is too full of them. Elisha told a bare falsehood, saying:
"This is not the way: ... follow me, and I will bring you to the
man whom ye seek" (2 Kings vi, 19); and he led the blinded
messengers astray to capture and all but death. The false
prophecy of Isaiah as to the outcome of the war between the kings
of Israel and Syria against Judah, warped into a foretelling of
Jesus Christ, will in due order be fully shown (Isa. vii).
Jeremiah tells several patent lies and makes false prophecies,
besides being a traitor to his country; for instance, he agreed
with the king to make a false report about their conference
together (Jer. xxx . win, 25); and he prophesied falsely to
Zedekiah that he should die in peace (xxxiv, 2-5), though he
himself unblushingly relates that the King of Babylon captured
Zedekiah, put out his eyes, and kept him languishing in prison
until the day of his death (lii, 10, 11). Every one of these
"prophets" seems to have considered himself the only one who 

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spoke the truth of Yahveh, and all the others impostors and
liars, as they unanimously and eloquently testify in the only
truthful utterances which grace their gibberish.

                   CONFESSIONS OF THE PROPHETS

     The confessions of the Prophets of Israel of the truth about
their sacred profession and fellow-professionals, priests and
prophets, are extremely enlightening, and have the unique merit
of being the only honestly true things any of them ever said. It
is like the fleeing thief's cry of "Stop thief!" pointing to
another; or the cordial mutual recriminations of Catholic and
Protestant, and sect and sect, denouncing the lies and heresies
of all the others -- all alike false and mendacious, while each
one for itself, Pharisaically, like old Elijah, says: "I, even I
only, remain a prophet of Yahveh"! An acute and apposite
observation is that of the historian of civilization: "It is
interesting to observe the eagerness with which the clergy of one
persuasion expose the artifices of those of another. By comparing
their different statements, laymen gain an insight into the
entire scheme." (Buckle, History of Civilization in England, Vol.
2 Pt. 1, chap. 2, note 78.)

     Isaiah denounced the Chosen of Yahveh as a whole: "This is a
rebellious people, lying children" (Isa. xxx, 9); and then he
said, "as with the people, so with the priest." And there is no
difference in favor of the prophet. Ezekiel had a special divine
mission by the word of Yahveh which came to him, saying: "Son of
man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and
say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye
the word of Yahveh; Thus saith Yahveh: Woe unto the foolish
prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O
Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. ... They
have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, Yahveh saith: and
Yahveh hath not sent them" (Ezek. xiii, 1-6), and "Thus saith
Yahveh Elohim, when Yahveh hath not spoken" (Isa. xxii, 28).
These confessional exposures and denunciations run through the
whole gamut of prophets, major and minor, embracing priest and
prophet in the same sweeping, scathing anathema.

     Hear the word of Yahveh out of the mouth of his holy
prophets, each telling the truth about all the others. The
master-"meshuggah" Isaiah makes this confession of their
drunkenness and befuddled wits: "The priest and the prophet have
erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they
are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they
stumble in judgment" (Isa. xxviii, 7). Jeremiah confesses the
rapacity, mendacity, and fraud of the whole fraternity: "From the
least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given
to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every
one dealeth falsely" (Jer. vi, 13); and chapter xxiii entire is
an inspired invective against them for the whole teeming
catalogue of their crimes: "For both prophet and priest are
profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith
Yahveh. ... And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria;
they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I
have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: 

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they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the
hand of evildoers. ... Thus saith Yahveh of hosts, Hearken not
unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: ... they
speak a vision out of their own heart, and not out of the mouth
of Yahveh. ... Behold, I am against them that prophesy false
dreams, saith Yahveh, and do tell them, and cause my people to
err by their lies; ... therefore they shall not profit this
people at all, saith Yahveh. ... And as for the prophet, and the
priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden [oracle] of
Yahveh, I will even punish that man and his house; ... for ye
have perverted the words of the living God" (Jer. xxiii, 11-36).
He indicts the whole tribe of impostors and people: "The prophets
prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and
my people love to have it so" (v, 31) -- God's truth to this very
day!

     In Lamentations (iv, 13) is a lament "for the sins of her
prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the
blood of the just." Hosea confesses their bloodiness and
immorality: "The company of priests murder in the way by consent:
... they commit lewdness" (Hos. vi, 9). Micah confesses the
bribery and corruption of all Jewry: "The heads [of Israel] judge
for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the
prophets thereof divine for money" (Mic. iii, 11). Zephaniah
confesses that "her prophets are light and treacherous persons:
her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence
to the law" (Zeph. iii, 4). For they are all idolaters, admits
Jeremiah: "The prophets prophesied by Baal" (Jer. ii, 8); and
again: "Their priests and their prophets [say] to a stock, Thou
art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth (ii,
26). By Malachi, the last of the "Meshuggahs," Yahveh addresses
the whole tribe: "O Priests, that despise my name" (Mal. i, 6)!

     The revolting record does not close with the Hebrew
Scripture, but continues into the gentile era; it was the priests
of Yahveh and the elders of the people who (it is said) delivered
the Christ to the martyrdom of the cross.

                THE PROPAGANDISTS OF CHRISTIANITY

     That doughty pillar of Christianity, Simon Peter, he whose
"ministry" was founded on the hope of exceeding great reward:
"Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we
have therefore?" (Matt. xix, 27); he who like a braggart swore
that although all others should desert his Lord, he would stay by
him to the end; who like a bully carried a sword to the place of
prayer and smote off the ear of one of the Lord's captors, and
then cowardly ran away from the scene of capture, and like a
thief in the night sneaked along far behind to the place of
trial; then like a craven thrice lyingly denied his persecuted
Master; and then hypocritically wormed himself into the highest
seat in the new priestly propaganda, and falsely wrested a self-
serving meaning out of several meaningless mummeries of pretended
"prophecy" -- this Peter delivers himself of a solemn bit of
inspiration: "Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost"
(2 Pet. i, 21)! Oh, Innocence!

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     This seems highly inept in view of the many inspired
definitions and characterizations of prophecy we have just heard
from those who were professional prophets, and who knew a good
deal more about it than Fisherman Peter did. There was no Holy
Ghost on record in those days; but the old "meshuggahs"
confessedly "followed their own spirit," as Ezekiel avers (Ezek.
xiii, 2), and Jeremiah confirms: "They prophesy unto you a false
vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of
their heart" (Jer. xiv, 14); so that Yahveh himself declares,
through Jeremiah: "I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you,
and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten" (xxiii, 40).
This book helps Yahveh to that end. Thus Peter is seen to have
erred in his interpretation of scripture; which is not to be
marveled at, but rather excused, seeing that he was an "unlearned
and ignorant man" (Acts iv, 13).

     This Peter, this "rock" upon which the Christ punningly said
that he would build his Church, was later expressly and
scathingly repudiated by the Christ: "He turned, and said unto
Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: Thou art an offence to me: for
thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be
of men" (Matt. xvi, 23). It was this same Peter who scoffed at
the reports of the resurrection as "idle tales," and "believed
them not" (Luke xxiv, 11); yet later, and to this day through his
self-styled "successors," Peter himself is the prime sponsor for
the alleged truth of these same idle tales.

     Such are confessedly the Holy Prophets of Israel. These are
the old fakirs and howling dervishes of Israel, over whom for a
score of centuries the credulous Christian world has ecstasized,
calling them inspired of God, and the almost divine oracles and
ambassadors of their fictitious pagan Yahveh -- Jehovah. Upon
their frenzied incoherent "ravings" the dogmatists of Christian
theology, errantly, as we shall more than amply see, perverting
their "ravings" into inspired "prophecies of Jesus Christ," have
founded and built up the labored system of dogmas and creeds,
sanctioned by dire threats of hell fire and eternal damnation to
him who believes not their Holy Word.

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    Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?
                               by
                         Joseph Wheless
                              1926

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