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Chapter 13

Joseph Wheless

                28 page printout, page 231 - 258
                          CHAPTER XIII

                THE "PROPHECIES" OF JESUS CHRIST

     THROUGHOUT the four gospel biographies of Jesus, the Christ,
there are frequent references to and quotations of sundry passages
in the Old Testament, which are appealed to as "prophecies"
concerning Jesus Christ, and are asserted to foretell his birth and
death, as well as many incidents of his life, and to have been
fulfilled by these several incidents. The Jews bad for centuries,
ever since their captivity, lived in the fervent belief and
expectation of a Messiah, an anointed king of the race and lineage
of David, who should at last arise, overthrow all their enemies)
restore the Kingdom of Israel, and reestablish the throne of David
forever." Gabriel assured Mary, with respect to her son: "God shall
give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign
over the house of Jacob for ever" (Luke i, 32, 33). Many
"pretenders" to the vacant Messiahship had from time to time arisen
and asserted their false pretenses to be the promised Messiah; and
even Jesus was not the last who arose to proclaim himself the
Messiah or Christ. This Jesus himself declared: "For many shall
come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many. ...
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there;
believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false
prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if
it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. xxiv,
5, 23, 24; Mark xiii, 6, 21, 22). And the intervening verses
between those cited are filled with a long catalogue of "great
signs and wonders" which these pretenders should work in proof of
their false claims.

     How and why these false pretenders to Messiahship could "come
in my name" -- in the name of Yahveh's genuine Messiah, who had
already come and by his own "signs and wonders" had demonstrated to
the satisfaction of all who believed them that he thus "fulfilled
all the law and the prophets" and was indeed the Messiah and thus
closed the lists -- is not at this day very evident. But,
admittedly, the working of such "great signs and wonders" --
miracles -- was no authentic badge of Messiahship, but was the
common stock in trade of any bogus pretender. Of this fact there
are many scriptural assurances and instances besides the admission
just made by Jesus.

     A very curious instance of pretended Messiahship after Jesus,
noted in the New Testament, was Simon Magus, the sorcerer, who
notoriously "used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria,
from the least to the greatest," so that all the people said: "This
man is the great power of God," and "of a long time he had
bewitched them with sorceries" (Acts viii, 9-11). The case of
Elymas Bar-Jesus is somewhat in point (Acts xiii, 6, 8); as is also
that of the "damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, which
brought her masters much gain by sooth-saying" (Acts xvi, 16), or
common fortune-telling. And even greater "signs and wonders" were
worked by common charlatans. Thus even total strangers to Jesus
Christ, uncommissioned by him, disbelievers in him, common fakirs,
could exercise the divine power of "casting out devils" in his
name, to the great scandal of the disciples (Mark ix, 38; Luke ix,
49).

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     Yet all these miraculous powers were clearly not of God, and
prove no divine mission or authority of the wonder-workers. To be
sure, Nicodemus declares: "No man can do these miracles that thou
doest except God be with him" (John iii, 2). And Jesus himself
appealed to this very power of working "signs and wonders" as the
culminating proof and patent of his divine authority and
Messiahship, greater and more persuasive than the inspired
assurances of his only human witnesses, the gospel-writers: "But I
receive not testimony from man. ... But I have greater witness than
John; for ... the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that
the Father hath sent me" (John v, 34, 36); and, "though ye believe
me not, believe the works" (John x, 38); and again, "Believe me for
the very works' sake" (John xiv, 11). But such "works," such "great
signs and wonders," are proved by the Bible to prove nothing -- as
Jesus himself has just admitted -- except the great credulity of
the people. And elsewhere Jesus denied positively that he ever
worked any "signs and wonders," and refused to perform any (Matt.
xii, 38-40; xvi, 4; Mark viii, 11-13; John vi, 30). Jesus discounts
his own claims for himself by declaring: "If I bear witness of
myself, my witness is not true" (John v, 31). The proof of the
divine mission and authority of Jesus as the Christ must,
therefore, derive from some more valid evidences than that of mere
popular wonder-working.

     With the testimony of "man," John and gospel-biographers,
discounted; with his own testimony for himself declared "not true";
with the "witness of the works" discredited as being the common
arts of charlatans and false pretenders, we must needs, in seeking
satisfying evidences of the truth of claims that Jesus Christ is
the true "promised Messiah" of the Hebrew prophets, turn to and
examine these "prophecies," and the "internal evidences" of the
gospels.

                       THE GOSPEL RECORDS

     The Jews, the people who lived in the devout expectation of
the coming of the Messiah and who are said to have seen all the
"great signs and wonders" of Jesus, as well as of the numerous
"false Christs" whom Jesus decried, did not believe in Jesus as
Messiah and king. After the death of Jesus, when a new generation,
which had not seen these "great signs and wonders," had grown up,
the gospel biographies and epistles began to be written, to further
the propaganda of the new faith. The Jews still looked for their
Messiah, promised and prophesied, it is said, in their ancient
Scriptures. Obviously there could be no Messiah who did not fulfil
these various prophecies. Hence the very first obligation for any
pretender to the Messiahship -- for the "false Christs" who, as
Jesus avers, abounded -- was that he make himself fit into the
"prophecies," or be made out by his propagandists to have done so.

     Ample stores of alleged "prophecy of Messiah" were at hand, in
the Scriptures. Of these prophecies the most curious feature,
betraying a blood-relationship to Delphic oracles, is their utter
meaninglessness, or their capacity to mean anything or everything
according to the necessities of the person invoking them to serve
selfish purposes or the cause he seeks to promote. One would think,
it may be remarked in passing, that an All-wise God, intent upon 

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revealing his awful purposes for the future of his Chosen People
and in the instance of the Christ, for the redemption of all the
human race -- would speak, not in "dark sayings," but in plain,
intelligible Hebrew, so that everyone might understand the prophecy
and recognize clearly its wonderful fulfillment. Thus only, one
would think, could Yahveh's own test of true prophecy be
intelligently and certainly applied when a question arose: "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"
(Deut. xviii, 22). Rather, as we will see, the chief characteristic
of prophecy, as of oracle, is lack of precision of meaning, which
gives it a latitude of interpretation and lends itself admirably to
even maladroit manipulation by everyone who raises the cry: "Lo,
here is Christ, or there." But the "prophecies of the Messiah." and
the gospel interpretation of them, may now be let speak for
themselves.

     The Jews knew their Scriptures and what sort of "Messiah" they
were promised: a lineal descendant of David King of Israel, who
should himself be King of Israel and "establish the throne of David
for ever" in the restored national land. Most special of all
qualifications of promised Messiahship was: "He shall deliver us
from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land" (Micah v, 5, 6).
None of the "false Christs" had met any of the "prophetic"
prescriptions; and Jesus was hailed by the rabble as king but for
one day. In beginning his campaign among the people, he sent forth
his adjutants or disciples, and straitly commanded them: "Go not
into the way of the Gentiles; ... But go rather to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel" (Matt. x, 5, 6) So "he came unto his own,
and his own received him not" (John i, 11). But when his own
received him not, and repudiated both his claim of Messiahship and
his claim to be the actual virgin-born Son of God (which was not an
attribute of the prophesied Messiah), "Lo, we turn to the Gentiles"
(Acts xiii, 46), says Paul, who from being the chief persecutor of
those who believed had become the chief propagandist of the new
faith of dogma, formulated by himself.

     The gentiles were the superstitious pagans of Palestine, Asia
Minor, and parts thereabouts; they were steeped in belief in all
the fables of all the gods of the heathen world. They knew nothing
of the Jewish Scriptures or of the promised Messiah; they had no
critical sense in religion, but, like Paul and his converts,
"believed all things and hoped all things." A new God was to them
just one more god among many. The Greeks had an altar erected even
"To the Unknown God" (Acts xvii, 23). The Gentiles believed already
in virgin-born gods and in resurrections from the dead: the myths
of Attis, Adonis, Isis, and Tammuz were accepted articles of their
pagan faiths; fertile ground for a new faith with little or nothing
new or strange about its beliefs and dogmas. So to the pagan
gentiles the propagandists turned, and fortified their propaganda
with marvelous tales of venerable "prophecies" wonderfully
fulfilled: "and when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and
glorified the word of Yahveh" (Acts xiii, 48).

     It was among these pagan gentiles that the propaganda of the
new faith was chiefly conducted and was most successful; and for
them the "Good News" and epistles were chiefly written -- a whole 

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generation and more after the death and disappearance of the Divine
Subject about whom it all was. Pagans whose articles of faith were
the myths of the gods of Greece, Egypt, and Rome, and all the
pantheon of the orient had little difficulty in being "converted"
from these crude superstitions to the new God, whose "coming" had
been prophesied in the ancient books of Israel and was wonderfully
fulfilled -- they were told -- in the miraculous birth, life,
death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Yahveh, Elohe
Israel.

     The inspired formula of the new faith is Paul's own
confession: "Believing all things which are written in the
prophets" (Acts xxiv, 14); and "believing all things, hoping all
thing" (2 Cor. xiii, 7), their faith was to them "the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. xi, l) --
and not knowable; "Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man
seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" (Rom. viii, 24).

     We shall now respectfully view the Divine Comedy -- the
supreme tragedy -- of the "promised Messiah," and the wonders of
"prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ."

            1. The Miraculous "Virgin Birth" of Jesus

     Matthew, whose gospel was written later, comes first in the
order of gospels in our printed collections, for the reason that he
gives a detailed "revelation" of the manner of miraculous
conception and virgin birth of the Subject of his biography. He
begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus, which we elsewhere
take notice of. He then proceeds with inspired pen to record:

          "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as
     his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came
     together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then
     Joseph her husband, being a just man, not willing to make her
     a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But
     while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of Yahveh
     appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of
     David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that
     which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall
     bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he
     shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. i, 18-21)

     The foregoing is pure fiction; here follows the crowning
instance wherein "the false pen of the scribes hath wrought
falsely":

          "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which
     was spoken of the Lord [Heb., Yahveh] by the prophet, saying,
     Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a
     son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being
     interpreted is, God with us."

     For this "prophecy" of the virgin birth of the Child Jesus,
the marginal reference is to the Old Testament, Isaiah vii, 14, as
the inspired "source" of the assertion made by Matthew. True, it 

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says nothing of any miraculous pregnancy of any woman by the Holy
Ghost, who was wholly unknown in the Old Testament; but this we do 
find, as rendered by the "false pen of the scribes" who translated
Isaiah:

          "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
     Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall
     call his name Immanuel." (Isa. vii, 14)

     The King James, or Authorized, Version, or translation, puts
into the margin opposite this verse the words "Or, thou, O virgin,
shalt call." Nothing like this is in the Hebrew text.

     We turn to the Hebrew text of this most wonderful of the
"prophecies," and may well be amazed to find that it is falsely
translated. The actual Hebrew words, read from right to left, and
transliterated, so that the reader who knows no Hebrew may at least
catch some words already become familiar, are:

     "laken yittan adonai hu lakem oth hinneh ha-almah harah
     ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel."

     Literally translated into English, in the exact order of the
Hebrew words, the "prophecy" reads:

          "Therefore shall-give my-lord he [himself] to you sign
     behold the-maid conceived [is pregnant] and-beareth son and-
     calleth name-his immanuel."

     Here the word harah (conceived) is the Hebrew perfect tense,
which, as in English, represents past and completed action; there
is not the remotest hint of future tense or time. No doctor of
divinity or scholar in Hebrew can or will deny this.

     Moreover, this is confirmed by the more honest, yet deceptive,
Revised Version. In its text of Isaiah vii, 14, it copies word for
word the false translation of the King James Version; but it
inserts figures in the text after the words "a virgin" and "shall
conceive," and puts into the margin opposite, in small type, which
not one in many thousands ever reads or would understand the
significance of, the true reading: "the virgin" and "is with
child." It was thus not some indefinite "a virgin," who 750 years
in the future " shall conceive" and "Shall bear a son," and "shall
call" his name Immanuel; but it was some known and designated
maiden to whom the "prophecy" referred, who had already conceived,
or was already pregnant, and whose offspring should be the "sign"
which "my lord" would give to Ahaz. The dishonesty of Matthew and
of the translators in perverting this text of Isaiah into a
"prophecy" of Jesus Christ is apparent.

                    "VIRGIN" OR "YOUNG WOMAN"

     Another false, or at best misleading, translation is that of
"virgin" in Isaiah. The Hebrew word used by Isaiah and translated
"virgin" is almah, which does not at all signify "virgin" in the
sense in which we understand it, of an unmarried woman who, in the
often-repeated biblical phrase, "hath not known man by lying with 

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him." The exegetes of the Biblical Encyclopedia thus correctly
define it: "Virgin, Heb., almah; i.e., a young woman of
marriageable age" (Vol. III, p. 117) -- not necessarily, or even
presumptively, of intact virginity. The Hebrew word for a woman
actually a virgin is bethulah; and throughout the Hebrew Bible the
two words almah and bethulah are used with a fair degree of
discrimination of sense, as shown by the instances which I think it
pertinent to cite, for a clear understanding of this important
point.

     In the Hebrew texts the word almah is used seven times, always
simply in the sense of a young female, and is rendered "damsel"
once, "maid" twice, and "virgin" four times. The word bethulah
occurs fifty times, rendered "maid" seven times, "maiden" eight
times, and "virgin" thirty-five times. All fifty times it has the
technical sense of virginity. For example, Rebekah was a "bethulah,
neither had any man known her" (Gen. xxiv, 16). "He shall take a
wife in her virginity [bethulah]. A widow, or a divorced woman, or
profane, or a harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a
virgin [bethulah]" (Lev. xxi, 13, 14). "If a damsel [naarah] that
is a virgin [bethulah] be betrothed," etc. (Deut. xxii, 23). If a
husband find his new wife "not a maid [bethulah]," then on his
complaint her parents must "bring forth the tokens of the virginity
[bethulah] of the maid [naarah]" (Deut. xxii, 14, 15). Jephthah's
daughter, doomed to be a living sacrifice to Yahveh, asked time to
"bewail my virginity [bethulah]" (Judges xi, 37, 38). These
instances suffice to make clear the correctness of the definitions:
"Bethulah conveys the idea of virginity, of a young unmarried
woman; almah is used simply of a young woman of marriageable age"
(New Standard Bible Dictionary, p. 939); and they show the
befuddled folly of all the labored fictions invented by Matthew,
Luke, and the dogma-forgers to make out the wife of Joseph the
carpenter a perpetual virgin-mother of Jesus and half a dozen other
offspring. Isaiah's ha-almah need not have been, and the term did
not signify that she was, strictly a virgin. Again "the false pen
of the scribes hath wrought falsely." The gospels are all priestly
forgeries over a century after their pretended dates.

                 THE "SIGN" OF A FALSE PROPHECY

     What really was Isaiah "prophesying" about and whereof was the
"sign" which he persisted in thrusting upon Ahaz after the king had
flatly refused to listen to it and had piously protested: "I will
not ask [for a sign], neither will I tempt Yahveh"?

     No lawyer or other intelligent person would for a moment jump
at the meaning of a document from an isolated paragraph; he would
stultify himself if he should pretend to form an opinion without a
careful study of the whole document. The passage on which the
opinion is sought must be taken with all its context. As this of
the "prophecy" of the alleged "virgin birth of Jesus Christ" is the
keystone of the whole scheme of Christianity, it is of the highest
importance to clearly understand, from the context, what Isaiah is
recorded as so oracularly delivering himself about. The whole of
chapter vii, or at least the verses bearing upon the subject-matter
of his "prophecy," must be presented to the reader.

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     In a word, Isaiah was speaking of a then pending war waged
against Ahaz, King of Judah, by the kings of Israel and Syria, who
were besieging Jerusalem; Isaiah volunteered his "sign of virgin
birth" in proof of his "prophecy," -- shown false by the sequel --
that the siege and the war would fail by the defeat of the allied
kings. Here is the inspired text:

          "1. And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz, king of
     Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah, ... king of
     Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could
     not prevail against it. ... Then said Yahveh unto Isaiah, Go
     forth now to meet Ahaz; ... And say unto him, Take heed, and
     be quiet; fear not, neither be faint-hearted. ... Thus saith
     Yahveh Elohim, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to
     pass. ...

          "Moreover Yahveh spake again unto Ahaz [here Isaiah is
     not the medium], saying, Ask thee a sign of Yahveh thy God;
     ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz
     said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt Yahveh. And he
     said, Hear ye now, O house of David; It is a small thing for
     you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? [here
     apparently Isaiah or some unknown medium is again speaking].

          "Therefore my Lord [Heb., adonai, my lord] himself shall
     give you a sign.; [honestly translated]: Behold, the maid is
     with child, and beareth a son, and called his name Immanuel.

          "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to
     refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child
     shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, [that is,
     soon after its birth] the land that thou abhorrest shall be
     forsaken of both her kings." (Isa. vii, 1-16)

     This about eating butter and honey so that the child should
know good from evil is none too lucid of meaning; and the assurance
that before this should come about, "the land which thou abhorrest
shall be forsaken of both her kings," is hardly more intelligible.
But if meaning it has, it means -- as elucidated in chapter viii --
that very soon after the promised "sign," Samaria, the land of
Israel and its king Pekah, under the suzerainty of Rezin King of
Syria, should be overthrown; and that the two kings should not
prevail in their war against Judah. "It will not succeed. Notice
the positive tone of the prophet," says the Biblical Encyclopedia
(Vol. III, p. 116), commenting on verse 7.

     Verses 17 to 25, completing chapter vii, which give the unique
information that "Yahveh shall hiss for the fly that is in ...
Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria" (vii, 18),
and that Yahveh shall "shave with a razor that is hired" (vii, 20),
are altogether too oracular and cabalistic for modern
understanding; but they are recommended as a rare bit of
inspiration.

     Isaiah carries his peculiar line of "prophecy" over into
chapter viii, and after several utterly unintelligible verses,
strikes the trail of his war prophecy again, thus:

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          "Yahveh spake also unto me again, saying, Forasmuch as
     this people ... rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son [Pekah];
     Now therefore, behold, Yahveh bringeth ... upon them ... the
     king of Assyria, and all his glory: ... And he shall pass
     through Judah; he shall overflow and go over; ... and the
     stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy
     land, O Immanuel." (Isa. viii, 5-8)

     No clearer proof could be that Isaiah, whatever he was trying
to say, was not speaking of Jesus. In chapter vii, he spoke of the
war of the kings Rezin and Pekah, son of Remaliah, and offered a
"sign" that their expedition would fail, this sign being the
virgin-born child Immanuel. Immediately afterwards he predicts a
further war upon Judah by the King of Assyria, and addresses his
allocution to this same infant Immanuel, and says that Assyria will
overrun "thy land, O immanuel." Isaiah spoke simply, and falsely,
of a "sign" to King Ahaz regarding the then pending war. Yet
Matthew says that this Immanuel was a prophecy of Jesus; but how
Jesus could be Immanuel and a "sign" of the result of a war 750
years previously, or the subject of the remarks of Isaiah about the
Assyrian war of the same period, is not explained in any revelation
I have yet come across. Such a post-mortem "sign" would be of no
use to Ahaz anyhow. This pretence by Matthew is clearly unfounded
and false.

     Moreover, as this "sign" of the virgin-born child Immanuel was
proclaimed by Isaiah as a proof of the truth of his prophecy as to
the outcome of the pending war, I call special attention to the
historical record of the result of this expedition of the Kings of
Syria and Israel against Jerusalem and Ahaz. This is from the
Second Book of the Chronicles of Israel and Judah:

          "Ahaz ... reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did
     not that which was right in the sight of Yahveh. ... Wherefore
     Yahveh his God delivered him into the land of the king of
     Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude
     of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was
     also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote
     him with a great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew
     in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were
     all valiant men; because they had forsaken Yahveh Elohim of
     their fathers. ... And the children of Israel carried away
     captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons,
     and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and
     brought the spoil to Samaria." (2 Chron. xxviii, 1, 5, 6, 8)

     So the "prophecy" is seen to be false, though the history is
contradictorily recorded in 2 Kings vi, 1-9.

                   2. Where the King was Born

     The second statement in which Matthew appeals to the prophets,
is that when the "Wise Men" came from the East to Jerusalem in
search of the new-born "King of the Jews," Herod sent for the chief
priests and scribes and "demanded of them where Christ should be
born" (Matt. ii, 1-6). How Herod could call a baby a few days old,
of whom he knew nothing, "Christ" is beside the present issue. 

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"Christ" means "anointed," and Jesus was not "anointed" in any
sense until thirty-odd years later, when the woman broke the box of
ointment over him just before his death. But Matthew asserts:

          "And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judeea: for thus
     it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land
     of Judeea, art not the least among the princes of Judea; for
     out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people
     Israel." (Matt. ii, 5, 6)

     The marginal source reference of this prophecy is to the book
of Micah (v, 2)., This, with its pertinent context, reads as
follows:

          "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little
     among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come
     forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings
     forth have been from of old, from everlasting. ... And this
     man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our
     land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we
     raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men. And
     they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the
     land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver
     us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when
     he treadeth within our borders." (Mic. v, 2, 5, 6)

     Now, whatever this may have referred to, it referred to some
leader who should arise to oppose the Assyrians. Nineveh, "that
great city," the capital of Assyria, was destroyed, and Assyrian
power ceased to exist, 606 years before Christ. This makes it most
evident that Micah had no reference to Jesus; and it may seem an
oddity that the chief priests and scribes, who always opposed and
denied Jesus during his life, and sent him to his death, should
have wittingly furnished Matthew with so potent a prophecy
concerning him, when Jesus was but a few days old. If the chief
priests and scribes, who earnestly looked for the prophesied
Messiah, knew that the infant Jesus was the Messiah, the
fulfillment of Micah's prophecy, it may be wondered why they did
not help him to become indeed "a ruler in Israel" and its great
deliverer from the thraldom of Rome.

                        3. "Out of Egypt"

     Matthew's third invocation of the prophets, although the
matter referred to was a past fact and not a prophecy, is also
found in chapter ii, when the angel is said to have appeared to
Joseph in a dream and told him to take Jesus to Egypt in order to
escape Herod.

          "When [Joseph] arose, be took the young child and his
     mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until
     the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was
     spoken of Yahveh by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I
     called my son." (Matt. ii, 14, 15)

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     The marginal reference for the source of this prophecy is to
Hosea (xi, 1). This chapter is entitled by the Bible editors, "The 
ingratitude of Israel unto God for his benefits," and refers
entirely to the past record of the people of Israel.

          "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my
     son out of Egypt. ... He shall not return into the land of
     Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they
     refused to return." (Hos. xi, 1, 5)

     Now, there is a marginal reference at this passage to Exodus,
iv, 22, 23, as the source of Hosea's allusion to the people called
"Israel" as the "son" of Yahveh, and refers to the fact of this
"Son" being in Egypt, and being "called" out of Egypt by Moses.
Never once does the text say: "I will call" -- but "called." The
historical allusion, with its context, is as follows:

          "And Yahveh said unto Moses, Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh,
     'thus saith Yahveh, Israel is my son, even my first born: And
     I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me." (Ex.
     iv, 21-23)

     From this it is clear that Hosea was looking into the far past
and speaking of the exodus of the Children of Israel out of Egypt;
not peering into the dim future and speaking of the flight of the
Joseph family into Egypt. So Matthew makes another false appeal to
"prophecy."

                     4. "Out-Hereding" Herod

     The fourth venture of Matthew in citing the prophets is in the
same chapter, after the account of the "Massacre of the Innocents"
by Herod in his effort to murder the infant Jesus.

          "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the
     prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation,
     and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her
     children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."
     (Matt. ii, 17, 18)

     The marginal reference opposite this citation is to the Book
of Jeremiah (xxxi, 15). The weeping prophet was speaking of the
utter desolation of the people on account of the Babylonian
captivity and threats of further destruction by Nebucbadnezzar, as
any one reading the chapter may see.

          "Thus saith Yahveh; A voice was heard in Ramah,
     lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her
     children refused to be comforted for her children, because
     they were not. Thus saith Yahveh; Refrain thy voice from
     weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for ... they shall come
     again from the land of the enemy." (Jer. xxxi, 15, 16)

     Jeremiah speaks of an event which had already happened, and
quotes Yahveh as speaking in the past tense "a voice was heard,"
because of the great afflictions caused by the Babylonians, and
promises the "return from captivity," over six hundred years before

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the episode related of Herod. The reader may draw his own
conclusions as to the honesty of Matthew's use of this "prophecy"
and its fulfillment under Herod. Uninspired human history records
not a word of such an impossible massacre by the Roman king.

                        5. The "Nazarne"

     The fifth reference to the prophets occurs in the same
chapter.

          "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it
     might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall
     be called a Nazarene." (Matt. ii, 23)

     This is a bit of fancy falsehood. There is not a word in the
Old Testament of this "prophecy" or anything like it, or of such a
place as Nazareth, which did not exist in Old Testament times, or
of Nazarenes. The marginal references to this verse are two: Judges
xiii, 5, and I Samuel i, 11. These verses, and their context, refer
to matters so far removed from Matthew's alleged "prophecy" that it
is idle to quote them. But here they are. In the first instance, an
angel of Yahveh appeared to the childless wife of Manoah and said:

          "Lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor
     shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite
     [Heb., Nazir] unto God from the womb; and he shall begin to
     deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges
     xiii, 5)

     The product of this angelic visitation was the giant-killer
Samson, and he was to fight the Philistines; Jesus never did.

     The second reference has to do with a like angelic aid to
Hannah, who made a vow never to let a razor come upon the head of
her prospective son Samuel. Those unkempt offsprings of angelic
intercourse were called Nazarites. This is the closest that the Old
Testament gets to Nazareth, and its inhabitants, Nazarenes.
Matthew's invocation of the "Prophets" is far afield both in form
and substance.

                       6. The Great Light

     The sixth so-called "prophecy" relating to Jesus which Matthew
invokes is in chapter iv, 12-16, a paragraph standing unrelated to
anything else in the chapter.

          "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prisons
     he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and
     dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the
     borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled
     which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of
     Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea,
     beyond the Jordan Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which
     sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in
     the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Matt. iv,
     12-16)

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     We are given as marginal reference of authority for this
Isaiah ix, 1, 2. As Matthew so mutilates and distorts his
quotation, I shall have to direct attention to the several marked
discrepancies and contortions which he makes of his texts, and
explain, by their context, what Isaiah was really saying:

          "Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her
     vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of
     Zebulun and the land of Naphtah, and afterward did more
     grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan,
     in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness
     have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the
     shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (Isa. ix,
     1, 2)

     It will be noticed that Matthew entirely omits all the words
which show that Isaiah was speaking of some accomplished historical
fact, relating to the afflictions which the tribal sections
mentioned had already suffered. These explanatory and historical
words, to repeat them for the reader's better catching their
significance, are: "Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as
was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted Zabulon
and Naphthah, and afterward did more grievously afflict her." After
depriving the verse of all sense, Matthew retains the simple
geographical names: "the land of Zabulon, and the land of
Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the
Gentiles." Both places are west of the Jordan. If "beyond" means
"west of," Isaiah must have been written in Babylonian captivity,
as no doubt it was. Matthew converts these meaningless words, taken
out of their sense in an historical past context, into a prophecy,
which he says was fulfilled because Jesus went to the town of
Capernaum, in that part of the country.

     But there is more to it. The verse opens with the words:
"nevertheless the dimness." Necessarily this refers to something
which has preceded in the text. This is found in chapter viii, of
which chapter ix is simply a continuation. But chapter viii is so
incoherent, speaking of "seeking unto them that have familiar
spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter," that it is
hardly possible to know what Isaiah is "raving" about. In the last
verse, however, he denounces such seekers after wizards, and
delivers himself of this: "And they shall look unto the earth; and
behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be
driven to darkness" (Isa. viii, 22). Then chapter ix opens with the
words quoted: "Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in
her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of
Zebulun and the land of Naphtah, and afterward did more grievously
afflict her," etc. Isaiah then continues: "The people that walked
in darkness have seen a great light," etc. All this, whatever
unapparent sense there may be in it, refers to past events, and the
reader may judge of Matthew's accuracy in calling it a "prophecy"
fulfilled by Jesus going to Capernaum.

                   7. He Bore Our Infirmities

     The seventh appeal of Matthew to "Prophecy" is in chapter
viii, as follows:

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     "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were
possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word,
and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities,
and bare our sicknesses." (Matt. viii, 16, 17)

     For this the marginal reference carries us to Isaiah liii, 4:

          "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our
     sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and
     afflicted."

     All this is in the past tense, showing Isaiah lamenting over
some departed friend, who was esteemed to have been "smitten of
God," and is now dead. It can have no possible reference to Jesus
Christ, Yahveh's "beloved son in whom I am well pleased," engaged
in the divine work of casting out devils and healing the sick and
smitten; never was Jesus at any time "smitten of God." So Matthew
again uses a few words out of their context, misquotes them at
that, and calls a lamenting statement over some past fact a
"prophecy" fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

                      8. The "Bruised Reed"

     The eighth instance of Matthew's adapting what he calls
"prophecy" to his own uses, as proof that his account is the truth,
occurs in chapter xii. The passage is long, but as it is necessary
to compare it with the reputed "prophecy" in order to show
Matthew's singular misquotation and misuse, I copy it entire:

          "Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against
     him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he
     withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed
     him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should
     not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was
     spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom
     I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I
     will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the
     Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man
     hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not
     break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send
     forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the
     Gentiles trust." (Matt. xii, 14-21)

     The marginal reference for the source of this is Isaiah, xlii,
1-4:

          "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my
     soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring
     forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up,
     nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed
     shall be not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench;
     he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail
     nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth:
     and the isles shall wait for his law."

 

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     Who "my servant" upon whom "I have" put my spirit, here spoken
of is, Isaiah does not tell us; but certainly the description does
not in the least fit Jesus. Jesus was discouraged, and he enjoined
secrecy on all his followers and fled to Gethsemane, where he
collapsed in despair, as the whole unhappy scene in the Garden
shows, and he never saw "victory"! And Isaiah never at all said
what Matthew attributes to him in v. 21: "And in his name shall the
Gentiles trust"; this is entirely new, made of the whole cloth, and
the whole "prophecy" is misquoted and misapplied.

                      9. "The King Cometh"

     The ninth resort by Matthew to this pettifogging method of
proof that things done by Jesus were fulfillment of ancient
prophecy. is as follows:

          "And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to
     Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two
     disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against
     you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt
     with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man
     say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them;
     and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it
     might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
     Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto
     thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an
     ass." (Matt. xxi, 1-5)

     This is a misquotation of alleged prophecy, as is shown by
turning to the marginal reference, Zechariah ix, 9:

          "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter
     of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just,
     and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon
     a colt the foal of an ass."

     The book of Zechariah treats of the return of parts of the
Jewish tribes from captivity in Babylon, by leave of King Darius.
Zechariah is jubilant over it, and indulges in some flighty
exaltations. In chapter viii, Zechariah declares:

          "Thus saith Yahveh of hosts; Behold, I will save my
     people from the east country, and from the west country; And
     I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of
     Jerusalem." (Zech. viii, 7, 8)

And, in chapter ix, after the verses about the "entry of the King,"
and amid other exaltations, Zechariah exclaims:

          "Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: ...
     And Yahveh their God shall save them in that day: ... For how
     great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall
     make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids." (Zech.
     ix, 12, 16, 17)

     Zechariah is here not very lucid, but in any event he was
exulting over the return from the captivity, and not over Jesus 
entering Jerusalem, as Matthew would have us believe.

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                      10. What is this One?

     Matthew's tenth appeal to the prophets (Matt. xxvi, 51-56) is
too general to permit of specific contradiction by comparing his
authority. It is in connection with the story of Peter's cutting
off the ear of the high priest's servant with a sword on the night
of the arrest of Jesus. Jesus told him to put up his sword, and
said that he could call down twelve legions of angels to his
defence if he should pray for them. And be asks:

          "But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that
     thus it must be?" (Matt. xxvi, 54)

Then Matthew says:

          "But all this was done, that the scriptures of the
     prophets might be fulfilled." (Matt. xxvi, 56)

He does not say which scriptures nor which prophets; but the Bible
editors come to his aid and give a marginal reference to the much
abused Isaiah bewailing his anonymous "departed friend" who was
"smitten of God" (liii, 7), which we have above referred to and
shown to be all in the past tense. Another editorial reference is
to the Lamentations (iv, 20), which may be offered for what it is
worth:

          "The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Yahveh, was
     taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we
     shall live among the heathen."

     Jeremiah is here bewailing the desolation of Jerusalem under
the captivity of the "heathen" Babylonians, as appears from the
entire book of woe, but particularly in these verses:

          "Yahveh hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out
     his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath
     devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and
     all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that
     the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates
     of Jerusalem." (Lam. iv, 11, 12)

     It is plain that the writer was speaking of the ruin of
Jerusalem. But it further appears of whom he was speaking by the
terms "the breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Yahveh." All the
Jewish kings were the "anointed of Yahveh" -- just as modern ones
also are said to be. A marginal reference opposite these words of
Lamentations is to Jeremiah lii, 9, which I shall quote together
with the preceding and following verses, so as to get the full
context:

          "But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king,
     and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his
     army was scattered from him. Then they took the king, and
     carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land
     of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him. And the king of
     Babylon slew the Sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he, slew
     also all the princes of Judah in Riblah."

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     Hinc illa, lacrimae! So Matthew is seen again twisting
historical facts into pretended prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.

                    11. The "Potter's Field"

     For the eleventh time Matthew invokes the prophets, the
passage being from the story of Judas and the thirty pieces of
silver (xxvii, 3-10). Matthew says that Judas repented of his
bargain of betrayal and took the money back to the chief priests,
threw it at their feet, and went and hanged himself. The holy
priests who had paid the thirty pieces for the "betrayal of
innocent blood" were punctilious about putting the price of the
blood into the treasury of Yahveh.

          "And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's
     field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called,
     The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that
     which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, staying, And they took
     the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued,
     whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them
     for the potter's field, as Yahveh appointed me."

     If I were arguing this as a case in court, I should indict
this in strong terms as pure charlatanism. But as I am simply
offering appeals to "prophecy" with a little necessary comment, I
merely let the reader compare it with Jeremiah's words (Jer. xxxii,
6-15). They have no more to do with the high priests' buying the
potter's field with the thirty pieces of silver than with my buying
my house in this city. They refer simply to Hanameel's coming to
Jeremiah in prison, "according to the word of Yahveh," and saying
to him:

          "Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth; ... And
     I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in
     Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of
     silver." (Jer. xxxii, 8, 9)

This is all there is to "that which was spoken by Jeremy the
prophet," pretended to be fulfilled by buying the potter's field
with the blood-money of Judas Iscariot.

     But the Bible editors give another marginal reference, not to
"Jeremy the prophet," but to Zechariah, for the reason, presumably,
that a "Potter" and "thirty pieces of silver" are mentioned. So
that no opportunity to let Matthew and his editors vindicate
themselves may be denied them, I quote these incoherent verses,
without comment -- except to say, what the reader can readily see,
that they have no earthly connection with Iscariot's thirty pieces,
or with anything else sanely imaginable:

          "And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder,
     that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the
     people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the
     flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of Yahveh.
     And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and
     if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of
     silver. And Yahveh said unto me, Cast it unto the potter; a 

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     goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the
     thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the
     house of Yahveh. Then I cut asunder my other stair, even
     Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and
     Israel." (Zech. xi, 10-14)

                      JUDAS HANGED HIMSELF?

     Before passing from Matthew's story of Judas, who, be says,
"departed, and went and hanged himself" (xxvii, 5), I call
attention to the fact that Matthew is flatly contradicted on this
point by whoever wrote The Acts of the Apostles (supposed to be the
evangelist Luke). This authority, also indulging in some dubious
references, makes Peter tell a different story from Matthew's:

          "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the
     disciples, and said, ... Men and brethren, this scripture must
     needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth
     of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to
     them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had
     obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field
     with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst
     asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out." (Acts i,
     15-18)

     According to this delicate gloating over the ill fate of an
apostate brother apostle, it was Iscariot himself who bought a
field -- and not a "potters field," but an estate -- with the
thirty pieces which he had received as "the reward of iniquity"; be
did not, therefore, "repent" and return the money to the priests.
Nor did he go hang himself; he accidentally fell and ruptured
himself fatally.

     Peter's reference to David as speaking, a thousand years
before, of Judas, is of a piece with some of the false pretenses of
Peter's pretended "successors." The reference for David's reputed
remarks about Judas is to Psalm xli, 9:

          "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which
     did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

     Now, David had troubles of his own, without bothering himself
with Judas a thousand years ahead. The whole psalm shows that Peter
ignorantly or wilfully falsified. David was pleading with Yahveh
for himself alone, as appears by these verses:

          "I said, Yahveh, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for
     I have sinned against thee. Mine enemies speak evil of me,
     When shall he die, and his name perish? Yea, mine own familiar
     friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath
     lifted up his heel against me. But thou, O Yahveh, be merciful
     unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them." (Psalm
     xli, 4, 5, 9, 10)

     No words are needed to show that David was speaking of his own
troubles, and nothing else. He prays his Yahveh to be merciful and
raise him up, so that he can take vengeance on his enemy.

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     But in this harangue of Peter there are more bungles of
falsity and flat contradictions of other inspired passages. It is
odd, in the first place, that Peter should make such a speech "in
the midst of the disciples" (Acts i, 15), telling them tales they
must have known as well as he; and he proceeds to tell them also
about the "field of blood," thereby contradicting Matthew. After
speaking of Judas's taking the thirty pieces of silver and buying
the field, and then bursting asunder bloodily, he conveys to them
this bit of information: "And it was known unto all the dwellers at
Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue,
Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood" (i, 19). This speech
was made almost immediately after the ascension of Jesus, related
in verses 1-14. Peter then, "in those days" (i, 15), made this
speech in Jerusalem. As the betrayal of Judas had taken place only
a few days before, it is strange that Judas's field should already
have acquired this historic name, and be known to all the town. But
it is more strange that Peter, speaking Aramaic to peasant
disciples who also spoke Aramaic, in which Aceldama is a vernacular
word, should translate it into Greek, "field of blood," which
neither he nor his hearers understood. Somebody wrote this speech
long afterwards in Greek, for Greek-speaking converts, and
translated Aceldama into Greek for their benefit.

     But Peter contradicts Matthew as to the origin of the term.
Matthew says that the priests to whom the thirty pieces were
returned by Judas "took counsel, and bought with them the potter's
field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The
field of blood, unto this day" (Matt. xxvii, 7, 8); "unto this day"
showing, too, that the tale was written long after.

     Peter further falsely quotes David as speaking of Judas: "For
it is written in the book of Psalms, ... and his bishoprick let
another take" (Acts i, 20). For this the supporting reference is to
Psalm cix, a perfect gem of anathemas against "my adversaries"
(cix, 4), who "fought against me without a cause" (cix, 3). Among
other picturesque evils which Yahveh is invoked to bring upon the
adversary, "Let Satan stand at his right hand; ... let his prayer
become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office"
(cix, 6-8). So Peter joins the chorus of "lying prophets" and
Jesus-propagandists. His appeals to "prophecy" regarding Judas are
absolutely false and ridiculous.

                    12. Parting His Garments

     The twelfth and last of Matthew's appeals to the prophets is
indulged in at the time of all others when the occasion would seem
to have led him to quote accurately and to tell the truth. Under
the very shadow of the cross, he says:

          "And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting
     lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
     prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my
     vesture did they cast lots." (Matt. xxvii, 35)

     The reference is to Psalm xxii, 18 and by it David is again
made responsible for a pretended prophecy -- though David is not
usually "numbered among the prophets." Matthew misquotes the words 

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of David, spoken in the present tense, by putting them into the
past tense and changing the pronoun "my" to "him," to make it apply
to the acts of the Roman soldiers. The words of David are:

          "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my
     vesture." (Psalm xxii, 18)

     Again David is bewailing his own troubles, in the fanciful
imagery of oriental poetry. He begins the psalm, which is a song
inscribed "to the Chief Musician Aijeleth," with the words quoted
by Jesus on the Cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
and proceeds in what he himself calls "the words of my roaring."
Among the many "roaring" things he says about himself, I quote a
very few:

     "Many bulls have compassed me. ... They gaped upon me with
their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. ... All my bones
are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst
of my bowels. [David evidently wasn't up on anatomy, and didn't
know of the diaphragm]. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of
the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. [It
is a wonder that Matthew didn't use this apt phrase as a prophecy
of what was done to Jesus!] I may tell all my bones: they look and
stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon
my vesture." (Psalm xxii, 12-14, 16-18)

     How far these "words of roaring" applied to Jesus on the
cross, as Matthew avers one verse did, and how correct Matthew is
in his use of so-called prophecy, I leave now with the reader. I
pass now to Mark.

                   MARK'S APPEALS TO PROPHECY

     Mark is quite sparing of prophecy, but no less false and
unsuccessful in its use.

                     1. To "Prepare the Way"

     His book opens with a very fanciful vision of the Day of
Judgment converted into a prophecy concerning John the Baptist as
the herald of Jesus. Mark says:

          "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
     God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my
     messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before
     thee." (Mark i, 1, 2)

     The marginal reference here is to the book of the last of the
prophets, Malachi. The context shows what it was that Malachi was
beholding:

          "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare
     the way before me; and Yahveh, whom ye seek, shall suddenly
     come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom
     ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Yahveh of hosts.
     But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand
     when be appeareth? for, he is like a refiner's fire, and like 

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     fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of
     silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them
     as gold and silver, that they may offer unto Yahveh an
     offering in righteousness." (Mal. iii, 1-3)

     Malachi carried his vision over into chapter iv, which is of
only six verses, and is headed by the Bible editors "Elijah's
coming and office." The pertinent verses are:

          "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;
     and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be
     stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith
     Yahveh of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor
     branch. ... Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before
     the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahveh." (Mal. iv,
     1, 5)

     It is thus clear that Malachi was "seeing things" concerning
the "great and dreadful day of Yahveh," and said that Elijah would
be sent ahead as sort of press-agent and committee of preparations.
This vision certainly has nothing to do with John the Baptist or
with Jesus, who each denied that he was Elijah (John i, 20, 21;
Matt. xvi, 13), though Matthew makes Jesus say that John is Elijah
(Matt. xi, 14).

     In this connection, to show a contradiction of inspiration, it
may be mentioned that Matthew makes a similar claim of prophecy
about John the Baptist, but cites a different source. He says:

          "And in those days came John the Baptist, preaching in
     the wilderness of JudEea. ... For this is he that was spoken
     of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in
     the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahveh, make his paths
     straight." (Matt. iii, 1, 3)

     Matthew's reference is to Isaiah, xl, 3, which reads a little
differently:

          "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare
     ye the way of Yahveh, make straight in the desert a highway
     for our God."

In verse 6 he adds: "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall
I cry? All flesh is grass," etc. John the Baptist is not reported
as having made any such cry in the wilderness; it is simply poetic
frenzy, the meaning of which, if it has any, being not yet revealed
or unraveled.

                2. "Numbered among Transgressors"

     The second and last reference by Mark to "prophecy" is as
follows:

          "And with him they crucify two thieves; ... And the
     scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with
     the transgressors." (Mark xv, 27, 28)

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     Here again we are referred to that inexhaustible source of
pseudo-prophecy, Isaiah liii, which throughout is in the past
tense, a lamentation and eulogy over some dead friend. Any
righteous man who is put to death unjustly or upon false
accusations may be said to be "numbered with the transgressors."
There is no "prophecy" in this.

     The two other evangelists, Luke and John, mention very few
"prophinecies" as being fulfilled in Jesus. One or the other
mentions such instances as riding on the ass and casting lots for
the garments, which we have already introduced from Matthew, and
shall not repeat. The few remaining instances will now be
considered.

                       LUKE CITES PROPHECY

     Luke does not himself invoke the so-called prophecies, but
puts them into the mouth of Zacharias, the father of John the
Baptist. Luke says that when the child John was born "his father
Zacharies was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying"
(Luke i, 67). Now, what Zacharias said related exclusively to his
own child John, but he cites exactly the same "prophecies" as are
always evoked as applying to Jesus. The Bible editors recognized
this, and straddled by heading the chapter, "The prophecy of
Zacharias, both of Christ, and of John." But John was born six
months before Jesus was born. It was on the eighth day after the
birth of John, at his "christening," that Zacharias, having been
stricken dumb as a "sign" of John's birth to the old and barren
Elizabeth, wrote: "His name is John," and then recovered his voice,
"was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied." Being "filled
with the Holy Ghost," be was consequently fully "inspired," and
must have spoken knowingly and truly. Being so filled, he
"prophesied" -- of his own son John -- saying:

          "Blessed be Yahveh God of Israel; for he hath visited and
     redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation
     for us in the house of his servant David: ... And thou, child,
     shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go
     before the face of Yahveh to prepare his ways; To give
     knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of
     their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the
     dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them
     that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our
     feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed
     strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his
     shawing unto Israel." (Luke i, 68, 69, 76-80)

     Zacharias clearly speaks all this only of his son John. But
whether of John or Jesus, or both, the result is the same: it
applies to neither, as is very plain to see. The marginal reference
for Luke i, 69 is to Psalm cxxxii, 17: "There will I make the horn
of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed." This
"anointed" is pretended to be John or Jesus. A few anterior verses
will show who the "anointed" was -- King David himself. He begins
the psalm:

 

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          "Yahveh, remember David, and all his afflictions. ... For
     thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine
     anointed. Yahveh hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not
     turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy
     throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony
     that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon
     thy throne for evermore. For Yahveh hath chosen Zion. ... This
     is my rest for ever: here will I dwell. ... There will I make
     the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine
     anointed." (Psalm cxxxii, 1, 10-14, 17)

     All this is about a long line of kingly successors of the
house of King David: nothing of Zacharias's son John, or of Jesus,
neither of whom ever sat on the throne of David.

                     "GENEALOGIES" OF JESUS

     In entire disproof of this reference to Jesus as being a "bud
of the horn of David," or a "branch of David," I wish to offer a
bit of collateral evidence proving that Jesus was nowise "of the
house of David," as is so often asserted in the New Testament.
Matthew and Luke both give detailed reputed "genealogies of Jesus
Christ, the son of David" (Matt. i, 1-17, Luke iii, 23-38). Matthew
twenty-eight generations between David and Joseph; Luke records
forty-three generations, every name but three between David at one
end and Joseph at the other being totally different. Matthew
derives Joseph from David through Solomon and Bathsheba, and
through Roboam, son of Solomon, down to "Joseph the son of Jacob."
Luke derives the ancestry from David through "Nathan, the son of
David," down to "Joseph, the son of Heli." But in either event
Jesus could not be the son of Joseph, and hence of David, if the
angel spoke true, whom Matthew quotes as having said to Joseph in
a dream:

          "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee
     Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the
     Holy Ghost. ... And thou shalt call his name Jesus." (Matt. i,
     20, 21)

     For as "Joseph, thou son of David" was not, according to this
dream, the father of Jesus, either line of descent from David,
whether Matthew's or Luke's, was broken, and the rather attenuated
blood of David did not at all pass into Jesus. If the first husband
of some woman had been the son of George Washington, but died
without child, and the widow married a Mr. Smith, and they had a
little George Washington Smith, certainly this offspring would not
be a "son" of the Father of his Country, not even by the "bar
sinister."

     The first reference for Luke i, 70 is to Jeremiah xxiii, 5, 6;
verses 7 and 8, which I add, might honestly have been also referred
to. The passage is as follows:

          "Behold, the days come, saith Yahveh, that I will raise
     unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and
     prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
     In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell 

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     safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called,
     YAHVEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come,
     saith Yahveh, that they shall no more say, Yahveh liveth,
     which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of
     Egypt; But, Yahveh liveth, which brought up and which led the
     seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from
     all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell
     in their own land." (Jer. xxiii, 5-8)

     This refers to a righteous king of the dynasty of David, who
"shall reign and prosper." No language could be plainer than that
this "Branch of David" was to be a secular king who should, as
Zacbarias himself says, save us "from our enemies, and from the
hand of all that hate us" (Luke i, 70). Neither John nor Jesus was
this man, or was a king, or did any of these heroic things. And
Jeremiah's "prophecy" failed, for no such deliverance ever came.

     Another marginal reference is to Daniel ix, 24; but Infinite
Wisdom alone could tell what this passage is about, so I pass it.

     This disposes of and discredits Luke. We take up John.

                    JOHN APPEALS TO PROPHECY

                      1. A Prophecy Puzzle

     The first reference to "prophecy" by John is in chapter i,
verse 45:

          "Philip findeth Nathanel, and saith unto him, We have
     found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did
     write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

     This brings on such an intricacy of marginal reference and
crossreference, that merely to try to disentangle such meaning as
they may have would certainly affect one's mind, as Don Quixote's
was affected by his books of knight-errantry. So I shall give only
a few samples, and leave any reader who has nothing better to do to
unravel the rest.

     The first reference is to Genesis, iii, 15, the story of Eve
and the serpent, and Yahveh's saying that there should be enmity
between her seed and the serpent's seed. As nobody rationally
believes that such a scene and colloquy ever occurred, what was not
said does not signify; it means nothing anyhow, as demonstrated
elsewhere. A bona fide God could speak more to the point than this
jargon if he wanted to prophesy, especially of so fateful an event.

     The next marginal reference is to Genesis xlix, 10, from the
account of dying Jacob's blessing on his sons:

          "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver
     from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall
     the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the
     vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his
     garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His
     eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk."
     (Gen. xlix, 10-12)

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     Here we have, for verse 10, a false translation, or, if not,
a notoriously false prophecy, besides an obviously post-Mosaic
passage. Shiloh was the name of a town north of Bethel, where the
Ark was deposited before it was removed to Jerusalem (Josh. xviii,
1; Judges xviii, 31; 1 Sam. iv, 3, 4). Consequently Jacob could
have known nothing about Shiloh, and Moses could not have written
the passage. But the Messiah-mangers have long regarded verse 10 as
an alluring explicit prophecy of Jesus Christ, ridiculously
torturing "Shiloh" into the name of a person. The Revised Version
is loath to give up this false translation; but it does put into
the margin the true rendition of the Hebrew: "Till he come to
Shiloh, having the obedience of the peoples." This "he" is Judah,
son of Jacob, to whom this "blessing" is addressed (Gen. xlix, 1,
8-12); and the passage means, if anything, that supremacy should
not depart from the descendants or tribe of Judah, after the tribe
should possess that town in the promised land, so long as they
retained the obedience of the people (see Encyc. Bib., Vol. IV,
art. Shiloh). To change Shiloh into a person, and that person Jesus
Christ, and to say that the "scepter shall not depart from Judah"
until he came would involve poor Jacob in a false prophecy; for the
scepter did "depart from Judah" forever when Nebuchadnezzar
conquered the land, 586 years before Christ. Whatever this red-eyed
drunkard referred to, it can hardly be believed to be a prophetic
portrayal of Jesus, who was neither a wine-bibber nor held a
scepter as king of Judah.

     The next reference is to Deuteronomy xviii, 18, which, since
Jesus himself is made to refer to this later by John, I will pass
over for the moment. This ends these references to Moses as having
written of Jesus; the other references are to the prophets, many of
which we have already "weighed in the balance and found wanting."
All the others will be found of exactly the same stripe, or even
more meaningless and inapplicable to Jesus.

               2. "For Moses Wrote of Me" (Jesus)

     The second of John's appeals to prophecy occurs where John
puts into the mouth of Jesus a false statement of pretended
prophecy concerning himself. John makes Jesus say:

          "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me:
     for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how
     shall ye believe my words?" (John v, 46, 47)

     The latter verse (v, 47) is reserved for future consideration;
we shall now run down the statement: "for [Moses] wrote of me." A
similar statement is made in Acts iii, 22:

          "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall
     Yahveh your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto
     me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say
     unto you."

     The references opposite these companion verses take us back to
the citations we last reviewed, particularly to the so-called
"Fifth Book of Moses," Deuteronomy xviii, 17, 18. Jesus and the
author of Acts call this a "prophecy" concerning Jesus:

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          "And Yahveh said unto me, ... I will raise them up a
     Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will
     put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all
     that I shall command him."

     Who, then, was this prophet whom Yahveh was to raise up out of
"thy brethren" like unto Moses, and to whom they were to hearken in
all things which he commanded them? Moses, or whoever wrote the
Five Books, tells us. For, in Numbers xxvii, 12, Yahveh told Moses
to go up into Mount Abarim, "and see the land which I have given
unto the children of Israel":

          "And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered
     unto thy people. ... And Moses spake unto Yahveh, saying, Let
     Yahveh ... set a man over the congregation, Which may go out
     before them, and ... lead them. ... And Yahveh said unto
     Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the
     spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before ...
     all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
     And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the
     congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. ...
     And Moses did as Yahveh commanded him: and he took Joshua,"
     etc. (Num. xxvii, 13-22)

     It is plain from this and the other alleged "prophesies"
referred to by Jesus and the evangelists that Moses did not write
of Jesus, nor did the prophets speak of him; but of Joshua as the
immediate successor of Moses as leader of the Chosen People.

               3. Who Hath Believed? And Why Not?

     The third attempt of John to fulfil "prophecy" is a two-horned
imposition on Isaiah, as usual.

          "These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide
     himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles
     before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of
     Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake; Yahveh,
     who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of
     Yahveh been revealed? Therefore they could not believe,
     because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes,
     and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their
     eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and
     I should heal them." (John xii, 36-40)

     The first reference, about believing our report, is to that
mine of "near-prophecy," Isaiah liii, 1. I can see no connection
between "not believing our report," which would be of things past
and unknown to the persons to whom the report is made, and not
believing in a person and things seen with one's own eyes, some
seven centuries later, as was the case with those "before" whose
eyes Jesus did "see many miracles." Furthermore, Isaiah is speaking
about the "report" of himself and other prophets: "Who hath
believed our report?" It is idle to say more about this phase of
it.

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     The other horn of this dilemma is utterly false, and implies
an abborrent proposition. John says that the Jews who saw the many
signs of Jesus "believed not on him." But why not? John tells us
why, saying positively: "For this cause they could not believe";
for as Isaiah (vi, 9, 10) had said: "He [Yahveh] hath blinded their
eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should turn [repent], and
I should heal them." It is discouraging to have to point out again
that Isaiah was speaking of his own times and people and troubles.
A few verses will make this evident even to a learned theologian:

          "The vision of Isaiah which he saw concerning Judah and
     Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
     kings of Judah. ... For Yahveh hath spoken, ... they have
     rebelled against me. ... Israel doth not know, my people doth
     not consider. Ah sinful nation. ... How is the faithful city
     become an harlot!" (Isa. i, 1-4, 21) "O house of Jacob, come
     ye, and let us walk in the light of Yahveh" (ii, 5). "For
     Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue
     and their doings are against Yahveh" (iii, 8). "And now, O
     inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you.
     ... And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my
     vineyard: I will break down the wall thereof. ... And I will
     lay it waste. ... Therefore is the anger of Yahveh kindled
     against his people" (v, 3, 5, 25). "And he [Yahveh] said [to
     Isaiah], Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but
     understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. ... And
     make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with
     their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with
     their heart, and convert, and be healed" (vi, 9, 10).

     John craftily omits even the opening words of Isaiah's verse
9, which of itself shows that Isaiah was told by Yahveh to "go and
tell this people" those things, which John then claims that Isaiah
gave as the reason why other Jews, 750 years later, would not
believe Jesus! And the scraps of verses which I have picked from
each of the preceding five chapters, to connect the whole, further
prove what Isaiah was talking about, and to whom he was speaking.

     The "abhorrent thing" which I mentioned is John's remarkable
excuse for Jesus' not being believed by the Jews: "For this cause
they could not believe" -- because Yahveh had "blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts," so that they could not believe and turn
and be healed; that is, repent and be saved! Yet, if this same John
and all his colleagues in inspiration are to be believed, Yahveh
sent his own "beloved Son" into the world that the world through
him might be saved; he called all to repentance, saying: Believe on
me and ye shall be saved, and if ye believe not, ye shall be
damned!

                4. A Cooking Lesson as "Prophecy"

     We pass now to the last reference by John to alleged
"prophecy" of Jesus. This is also a double-barreled blunderbuss,
and scatters shot all through the law and the prophets.

     As Jesus hung on the cross between the two thieves, says John:

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          "Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first,
     and of the other which was crucified with him. But then they
     came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake
     not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his
     side. ...

          For these things were done, that the scripture should be
     fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again
     another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they
     pierced." (John xix, 31-34; 36, 37)

     John appeals to these spurious "prophecies" with great
solemnity, and, as he admits, for the express purpose of making
himself believed: "And he that saw it bare record, and his record
is true: and he knoweth that be saith true, that ye might believe.
For," he adds, "these things were done that the scripture should be
fulfilled" (John xix, 35, 36). What scripture? The marginal
references for verse 36 are to Exodus xii, 46; Numbers ix, 12; and
Psalm xxxiv, 20. I quote these in full, to show the straits of the
evangelist and his editors to find something to fit; and their
context to show what they really refer to: a passover cooking-
lesson for the fugitive slave Jews!

     1. Exodus xii records the establishment of the passover feast,
consisting of unleavened bread and a male lamb or kid (xii, 5).
This was to be prepared and eaten:

          "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with
     fire, and un-leavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall
     eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but
     roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the
     purtenance thereof. ... And thus shall ye eat it; with your
     loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your
     hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is Yahveh's passover.
     ... In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth
     ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye
     break a bone thereof"! (Ex. xii, 8, 9, 11, 46)

     John misquotes this last sentence out of a whole chapter of
minute directions for cooking and eating the passover lamb or kid;
and changes the neuter "a bone thereof" -- that is, "of it," of the
lamb or kid -- so as to make it apply to a man: "a bone of him
shall not be broken." Then he calls it a "prophecy" of Jesus Christ
fulfilled!

     2. The second reference is in practically identical words; it
is identical in subject; and its application to Jesus is identical
in falsity:

          "Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his
     appointed season. ... The fourteenth day of the second month
     at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread
     and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it unto the
     morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all ordinances
     of the passover they shall keep it." (Num. ix, 2, 11, 12)

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     3. The third reference in trying to make this cookery recipe
apply to Jesus on the cross is to Psalm xxxiv. This does not even
squint at the "prophecy" -- "A bone of him shall not be broken."
David is in a good humor with himself and his Yahveh, and he sings:

          "I will bless Yahveh at all times: his praise shall
     continually be in my mouth. ... Many are the afflictions of
     the righteous: but Yahveh delivereth him out of them all. He
     keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. -- (Psalm
     xxxiv, 1, 19, 20)

     This clearly irrelevant last appeal to wholly impertinent
"prophecy" exhausts the series of remarkable attempts of the four
evangelists to torture Old Testament "ravings" of the prophets into
inspired fore-tellings of the Jesus Christ of the New. It is more
than evident from this review that not a single word of the scores
of so-called "prophecies" culled from the old Hebrew Scriptures in
the remotest degree hints at the humble Man of Galilee.

     If a lawyer, pleading his cause before any court in any
civilized country of the world, should resort to the device of
citing records, precedents, and authorities in support of his
contentions, and these should be discovered by his opponent or by
the court to be of the sort appealed to by the gospel writers, he
would be disgraced, branded as charlatan and "shyster," driven from
the profession which he had thus dishonored, and exposed to the
contempt of honest mankind. But gospel writers are yet haloed as
inspired saints, and preachers of the "Word of God" are yet sacred
"divines," who go about redolent of the odor of sanctity, and
listened to with rapt awe when they teach and preach these
"prophecies" and their "fulfillment" to those who have been taught
to believe them and have never thought for themselves or "searched
the scriptures" for the wonders of their most holy faith. Like John
on Patmos, we have "tried them which say they are apostles, and ...
found them liars" (Rev. ii, 2).

                          ****     ****

                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?
                               by
                         Joseph Wheless

                              1926

                          ****     ****

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us, we need to give them back to America.

                          ****     ****

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