A DIFFERENT STORY. From the beginning.

45.  APPENDIX I – HISTORY IN THE PSALMS

The real pre-Christian history of the eastern-Mediterranean world was clearly related in the Old Testament Book of Psalms … many of which are attributed to initiate ‘magicians’ David, Melchizedek and even back to Abraham. Despite the distortion of several cycles of translation and Christianised interpretation the original story still shines through in the plain English of the KJV.

The Psalms now appear as a collection of repetitive and vacuous prayers of praise to an awesome and almighty ‘god’, rather in the style and language of the (translated) Egyptian Book of the Dead. The expressions of awe and grovelling praise were originally related for the ancient Hebrew perception of ‘YHWH’ … an impersonal, inanimate, ineffable manifestation of light and mysterious fire. But somehow early Church translators re-interpreted and distorted this inanimate phenomenon into terms of the new Christian personalised, grandfatherly ‘God the Father’ … or occasionally ‘Lord’, or even ‘Lord of lords’ (plural). The degree of misinterpretation or deliberate deception is unbelievable.

Anonymous Hebrew scribes wrote of the wonders of old in Egypt, where the lords (plural) made the great lights which caused vapour to ascend and brought rain to make  grass grow for the salvation of man. The power of the light was awesome out of its holy mounts, and it went forth as thunder and lightning, in a cloud of fire and wind.  The mysterious power was later taken to Israel where it dwelt in Mt Zion … and came forth as ‘the rod’ to smite enemies. Out of Zion YHWH shined … and a fire devoured before him … he was terrible in his doings to the children of men.

In many respects the language and imagery of the Psalms is very similar to the older Egyptian Book of the Dead … which may be partly due to the Book of the Dead being mistaken as ‘religious’ and translated in quasi-Biblical language by 19th-century scholars.

All the elements of the story were there, including common misrepresentations of:

Humanised ‘God’ or ‘Lord’ … for the impersonal phenomenon of YHWH.

‘Mountains’, ‘hills’, ‘heavens’, ‘treasuries’ or ‘pillar’ … for the mount [pyramid in Egypt]

‘Holy’ hill … for sacrosanct, isolated, unapproachable

‘Clouds’… for cloud [of vapour] or aura [of radiation]

‘Tempests’, ‘storms’, ‘waters’ or ‘floods’ … for winds or maelstrom.

‘Firmament’, or ‘stars of light’ … for crystals.

‘Angel spirits’… for amorphous tongues of fire.

‘Lord of hosts’… for a geometric array [of crystals].

‘Tabernacle’ … for stone naos

Despite the losses in translation the underlying story remains quite clear.

  1. The Hebrew scribes of the Psalms knew of the wonders of YHWH that their fathers saw earlier in Egypt:

… marvellous things did he in the sight of our fathers in the land of Egypt [Ps 78]

… give thanks to the lord of lords [plural]. To him alone who doeth great wonders … to him that made the great lights.  [Ps 136]

… he caused the vapour to ascend, he maketh the lightnings for the rain, he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.  [Ps 135]

… he makes the earth tremble, the hills to smoke, he coverest thyself with light, maketh clouds his chariot, maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire. [Ps 104]

… he watereth the hills from his chambers, he causeth the grass to grow. [Ps 104]

… he covereth the heaven with clouds, he prepareth rain for the earth, which maketh grass to grow. [Ps 147]

… thou did send a plentiful rain when [earth] was weary.  [Ps 68]

… let the redeemed [saved] give thanks to the lord, he brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death. [Ps 107]

2. They knew the general effects of the great lights:

… the earth shook and trembled, there went up smoke out of his nostrils, fire out of his mouth, he rode upon a cherub [of fire]. He flew upon the winds, he thundered in the heavens, a brightness was before him, he shot out lightnings. [Ps 18]

… remember thy wonders of old … the clouds poured out water, thy thunder was in heaven, lightnings lightened the world, the earth trembled and shook. [Ps 77]

… clouds and darkness are around him, a fire goes before him, his lightning lightened the world. [Ps 97]

3. The early Hebrews knew of the great lights … but they did not understand the technology, even though they had seen it in a book:

… who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt. [Ps 106]

… thy works are wonderful, but by ‘usward’ cannot be reckoned. [Ps 40]

… such knowledge is too wonderful for me, I cannot attain unto it. [Ps 139]

… marvellous are thy works, fearfully and wonderfully made, made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

[but] the substance was not hidden… your eyes did see my substance … all my members were written in a book. [Ps 139]

4. They did not understand the mechanism but they did know some of the physical details:

… great is god [YHWH] in the mountains of his holiness.  [Ps 48]

… exalt the lord in the holy hill, he spake to them in the cloudy pillar. [Ps 99]

… I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help;

my help cometh from the lord who made heaven and earth. [Ps 121 & 124]

… the heavens declare the glory of god and the firmament [crystal] sheweth his handiwork [skill],

the lord of hosts is the king of glory. [Ps 24]

… in them he has set a tabernacle for the sun, there is nothing hid from the heat thereof   [Ps 19]

… our god [YHWH] is in the midst of the holy place of the tabernacles the lord of hosts …  is most terrible. … what desolations he has made on Earth.   [Ps 46-47-48]

… he telleth the number of the stars, his understanding is infinite. [Ps 147]

… praise him in the firmament of his power … [Ps 150]

… all ye stars of light which created fire and hail, and vapours and stormy winds. [Ps 148]

5. The great light originated elsewhere but was taken to Israel …  where it dwelt in Mt Zion

… sing praises to the Lord which [now] dwelleth in [Mount] Zion [Ps 9]

… the lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle in thy holy hill. [Ps 15]

… he was born [originated] in Rahab [Jericho], and Babylon, and Philistia and Ethiopia [Nubia] …but [now] the lord loveth the doors of Zion, his foundation is in the holy mountain. [Ps 87]

… he cast upon them [Egyptians] the fierceness of his anger and wrath by sending evil angels among them … fire consumed their young  men, and maidens were not given to marriage [barren?]. [Instead] he chose the tribe of Judah in Mount Zion. [Ps 78]

… the hill of god [Zion] is where god [now] desireth to dwell …among thousands of angels …   his strength is in the clouds … thou art terrible out of thy holy places.  [Ps 68]

6. The original great light was benevolent but it later reappeared as the malevolent ‘rod’ used to defeat enemies:

… he teacheth my hands to war, he delivereth mine enemies and I did not turn away until they were consumed.    [Ps 18]

… the lord teacheth my hands to war … touch the mounts and they shall smoke, cast forth lightning, scatter them [enemies] and destroy them. [Ps 144]

… thy enemies thou shall make them as a fiery oven, the Lord shall swallow them in his wrath, and fire shall devour them.   [Ps 21]

… the greatness of thy power shall make thy enemies submit … how terrible thou art … he is terrible in his doings toward the children of men. [Ps 66]

… god is the lord which shewed us the light … nations compassed me about [but] in the name of the lord I destroyed them … they were quenched by the fire of thorns. [Ps 118]

… out of Zion YHWH hath shined … god shall come and not be silent, a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous around him. [Ps 50]

… lord remember thy people which thou saved by the rod [of] Mount Zion wherein thou dwelt. [Ps 74]

7. And they knew the perils of exposure and the protections available:

… upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone and a horrible tempest. [Ps 11]   … lord thy wrath presseth me sore [causing] no soundness in my flesh, my wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled and bowed down greatly, my loins are filled with a loathsome disease, I am feeble and broken, my strength faileth me.  [Ps 38]

… the poor and the needy when they were sick wore sackcloth [Ps 35]

[but] the daughters of kings were anointed with oil, their cloths smelt of myrrh, and they wore clothes of wrought gold. [Ps 45]

8. The power passed into Israel:

… the lord said [to David] sit at my right hand  … thou art a priest [magician] like Melchizedek … the lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.   [Ps 110]

… his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten the victory. [Ps 98]

… though I walk in the midst of trouble thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against mine enemies. [Ps 138]

… lord of hosts that dwellest between the cherubims [in the ark] shine forth … and we shall be saved … he delivered, he answered from the secret place of thunder. [Ps 80-81]

9. That mysterious power was used to occupy Canaan:

…  we have heard from our fathers what work thou didst in the times of old.

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone and a horrible tempest. [Ps 11]

… he cast out the heathen … he cast upon them the fierceness of his anger … sending evil angels among them … and made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.   [Ps 78]

… thou didst drive out the heathen, afflict the people and cast hem out.  They [our fathers] did not get the land by their sword … but by thy right hand and the light of thy countenance  [Ps 44]

… with fire, tempest and storm he persecuted the tribes of Edom, Ishmael, Moab, Hagar, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, Assur, Lot, Middan, Sisera, Jabin, Kison, Endor, Oreb, Zeeb, Zebah and Zalmunna  … they were confounded and became dung for the earth. [Ps 78]

All of that story was known at one time, but became fragmented, confused and distorted. What started out as hymns of praise for the lords [plural] who built the great lights to bring salvation from the darkness to all men … merged into praise for the awesome and awful rod out of Zion which selectively aided the Israelites over their enemies … and eventually morphed unaccountably into the ‘glory’ of the Christian invention of a humanised God the Father.

So, in a supreme irony, countless millions of pious Christians have gazed upward to ethereal heavens and sung the melodious praises of their imaginary God in the words of the 23 rd Psalm …

the Lord is my shepherd, in pastures green he leadeth me by the still waters … though I walk in the valley of death I will fear no evil , because I have thy rod to comfort me.

Naive Christians offered praises to their grandfatherly figure for leading them by the hand through a benign Garden of Eden  … but what the original text actually expressed was that the Israelites feared no evil because they were armed with the ‘rod’ … the atomic ray gun.  Great was YHWH in the mountains of his holiness, [but] he was terrible in his doings toward the children of men. [Ps 48, 66]

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