Verses 17, 18 & 19: – “Likewise thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own hearts, and prophesy thou against them, and say, Thus saith the Lord God: Wo to the women that sew pillows to all arm-holes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?” There were and are females as well as males that prophesy out of their own hearts; and such prophesy lies in the name of the Lord. Those who prophesy out of their own hearts, prophesy the deceit of their own hearts, and have nothing else to prophesy but deceit; for the heart is deceitful above all things. We have a fair sample of this in Jezebel, daughter of Ethobaal (king of the Zidonians) and wife of Ahab, in stirring up Ahab to murder Nahoth, together with her supporting so many false prophets, cutting off the prophets of the Lord, threatening Elijah, and the multitudes of her whoredomes and witchcrafts; which seems to be at least hinted at by the Revelator, and appears to be presented as a leading character in the scriptures among such females as lead multitudes into a false religion. The character is set forth as a teacher, and one that seduces to wickedness by teaching. Such therefore as prophecy out of their own hearts, sew pillows to all arm-holes or elbows, (see the margin) and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls, are following in her train; and their business is endeavouring to destroy the life and power of the religion of Jesus, by introducing a false one; and to kill or drive from the face of the earth such as they cannot seduce. They as a body form a character like the one spoken of by Nahum 713 years before the birth of Christ, when he spake of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts. I will therefore notice their sewing pillows to arm-holes. Neatly patching up their garments, when the elbows peek out and shew themselves through their tattered self-righteousness; and fixing a cushion to ornament their idolatry. Making kerchiefs upon the head of every stature: to deck with an attracting appearance the religion of their depraved hearts in its natural height. Of this we see abundance in the present day. The principle part of the novels, tracts, religious newspapers and popular religious discourses that I read or hear are of this description. They profess to set forth the nature of virtue and vice; and whoever is acquainted with the principles of virtue set forth in the gospel may easily discover the difference between them, and their opposition to each other. The ostensive object of the great union of effort, in which so many are engaged at the press and in the pulpit, is to hunt souls. They will hunt the souls of God’s people; not to comfort them with gospel truth – with bread from heaven, for this they have not, they will hunt them to harass, perplex and destroy them; but they will not, they cannot save the souls alive that come unto them. And they will pollute the Lord (speaking after the prophetic manner) among his people, for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread. That is, religion with them is of so little consequence without money, that they will turn it into that shape that they think will bring the greatest revenue. Many have formerly been slain by the influence of their lies; and I have no doubt many more soon would be, were the influence of the characters above spoken of sufficient to bring them into power. They have formerly professed, and some do now profess to forgive sins for money; and others want money to pay for their services they perform for the salvation of men. And I know not which are the worst.
In the 8 and 9 verses it is said, Therefore thus saith the LORD God; because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, Beloved, I am against you, saith the LORD God. And my hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, that divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel; neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD God. For the want of room, I extract from the 12-13-14-15 and 16 verses. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Thus saith the Lord God, I will rend it with a stormy wind in my fury, I will break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it to the ground, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof. To wit, the prophets of Israel, which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace saith the Lord God.
From the 20 verse to the end of the chapter. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord God; behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Because with lies ye have made of the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hearts of the wicked; that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life. Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver my people out of your hand; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Thus we have a description of the false prophets, and the declaration that God will execute his judgments upon them by destroying them, and their works. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people swaith your God. Consoling indeed is the experience of that perfect safety there is in trusting in God, in the midst of the flourish of power, and prosperity that appears among his, and our enemies; as well as in the storm of his wrath, when he executes his judgments upon them; for the deliverance of his chosen.
These from your fellow servant in the cause of God,
In opposition to a false religion.
Signs of the Times
Volume 7, No. 17.
September 1, 1839