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By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D. LECTURE XXXVIII. HEZEKIAH. WITH the death of Jotham, a change passed over the face of the Jewish monarchy. The hollow religion which had called forth the warnings of Isaiah, during the latest years of Uzziah and during the reign of Jotham, was unable to hold its ground against the heathen wor- ship, with which the vices of the Jewish aristocracy naturally allied themselves. The increasing power and neighborhood of Assyria brought new divinities and new forms of worship into view. Of this supersti- tion, the King himself was the centre. He seems, without fanaticism, to have had a mania for foreign religious practices. Not only did he employ to the utmost all the existing sanctuaries, but he intro- duced new ones in every direction. The worship of Molech, the savage god of Ammon, was now established not only on the heights of Olivet, but in the valley of Hinnom, in a spot known by the name of Tophet, close under the walls of Jerusalem. There the brazen statue of the god was erected, with the furnace within or at its feet, into which the children were thrown. To this dreadful form of human sacrifice Ahaz gave the highest sanction by the devotion of one or more of his sons. To this extreme conclusion had the sacrificial system of the previous reigns been carried, and it was this which in all probability provoked from Micah the Prophetic protest in a form which, though couched in language drawn from the ancient history of the people (perhaps from that of an alien and heathen nation), almost antic- ipates the Christian system. Not the thousand rams at the altar, nor the torrents of sacred oil, not even the sacrifice of the first-born son, could so propitiate the Divine favor as justice, mercy, and faith. As Tetzel called forth Luther, so it may almost be said that to the extreme superstition of Ahaz we are indebted for one of the most sublime and impassioned declarations of spiritual religion that the Old Testament contains. More innocent customs or superstitions appeared in every part of the country and city. Golden and silver statues glittered throughout Judea. Soothsayers came from the far East; wizard, familiar spirits, ghosts, were consulted, even by the most outwardly religious. Altars were planted in the corners of the streets. In the palace was raised a flight of steps, on which the sun's shadow fell; in all probability suggested by some Babylonian traveller. To the Temple itself the same Oriental influences penetrated, and even materially affected the structure and appearance of the building. On its roof were erected little altars, apparently for the worship of the heavenly bodies of the Zodiac. At the entrance of its court were kept chariots dedicated to the sun, with their sacred white horses, as in Persia and Assyria, ready to be harnessed on great occasions. The King's chief work, and that apparently on which he most prided himself, was the new altar, framed after the model of one which he had seen at Damascus. The High Priest Urijah, the friend of Isaiah, lent himself to this innovation. The venerable altar of David, which had always been somewhat out of keeping with the magnificence of the Temple, was now displaced, and re- mained apart on the north side of the Temple court, reserved for any use which the innovating King might think fit to make of it. To the new altar he devoted all his reverence, and, with all the royal state of the ancient sacrifices, he came there morning and evening to present in his own person the accustomed offerings. With these additions to the grandeur of the temple worship, were combined changes of a very different kind. Not only were sacred treasures confiscated, as often before, to appease the invaders, but the sacred furniture and vessels themselves despoiled. The bra- zen bulls, which stood beneath the great basin, were taken away, and the basin placed on a pedestal of stone. The curious brazen engines of the lesser basins, as well as the canopy of brass over the royal stand, and the brazen ornaments of the royal entrance, were re- moved, as if belonging to an inferior age. Towards the end of his reign, the great doors of the Temple were shut up, the sacred lamps were not lighted, nor incense offered inside, and the whole interior left to decay and neglect. It was not without strong outward pressure that these spoliations were made. The neighboring nations had taken advantage of the weak character of the young prince to assert again an independence which the vigorous rule of the three previous kings had kept at bay. Now took place that formidable union of Syria with Israel which has been before described. Far down to the Gulf of Akaba the shock of the invasion was felt. Elth, the favorite seaport of Jehoshaphat and Uzziah, was recovered from Judah and made over to the adjacent Edomites. Jerusalem itself was threatened; a usurper was to be established on the throne of David. The alarm was extreme in the royal family when the news of the hostile alliance came. It was as if a hurricane had passed over the city, and every heart heaved and rustled in the wind of the general alarm. The King and the nobles, in their survey of the weak points in the fortifications and water-works of the city, had reached a well-known public spot just outside the city walls, when Isaiah, with his eldest son, suddenly ap- peared before them. The importance of the crisis was worthy of the Prophet's decisive messages. In words, and by signs, now difficult to decipher, he fore- told the rapid destruction of the two hostile powers. There was to be a sudden and wonderful birth of a child, bearing a Divine name, whose childhood should not be finished before the deliverance came. The deliverance was to appear unexpectedly, through the coming of the distant Assyrians. There was inscribed in large letters, in the public square of the city, Rapid spoiler, speedy prey, which within the year became the name of another child of the Prophet. An heir was to spring up to the throne of David, combining all the noblest qualities of God and man. In the same amal- gamation of the highest and widest hopes with con- temporary events, which is familiar to us through the fourth Eclogue of Virgil, in part, possibly, founded on this very passage. The expectation of an actual child within a short time, and the endeavor to concentrate on that child the far loftier aspirations with which, as it were, the air was full, is almost the same in the Hebrew Prophet and the Roman poet. In Isaiah's case the immediate prediction was fulfilled. There was a severe battle, in which three of the chief officers of the Court were killed, and many prisoners were taken; but it was the last of such attacks from the neighbor states. The appearance of the Assyrians on the scene, and the readiness of Ahaz to purchase their alliance, at once broke the power of Damascus, and in the next reign destroyed no less the nearer power of Israel. See Merivale's History of the Romans under the Empire, iii. 231. "Scribonia was about to give a child to Octavius, Octavia to Antonius. Pollio had also two sons born nearly at the same time. . . . The near co- incidence of all these distinguished births is connected with one of the most intricate questions of literary history. In his fourth Eclogue, ad- dressed to Pollio, Virgil celebrates the peace of Brundisium, and an- ticipates apparently the birth of a wondrous boy who shall restore the Saturnian age of gold. . . . We are impelled to inquire to whom among the most illustrious offsprings of this suspicious age the poet's glowing language may be fitly referred. . . . After all their claims have been weighed and dismissed, we are still at a loss for an object to whom, in the mind of the writer, the sublime vaticination can be consistently ap- plied." This might be said almost word for word of the difficulty of adjusting the claims of the children of Isaiah's time——whether his own sons or the prince Hezekiah——with the exalted predictions of the Divine Child in Isa. vii. 14-20; ix. 6, 7 See Ewald, Proph. 213. 2 Chr. xxviii. 5-15. For a de- fence of this account, and a good statement of the importance of the war, see Caspari, Ueber den Syrische- Ephraimitische Krieg, p. 28-72. But Judah itself would have been subjected to its powerful ally, had not Ahaz been succeeded by a prince of a very different character from himself. The reign of Hezekiah is the culminating point of interest in the history of the Kings of Judah. Whether or not the contemporary prophecies, foretelling the birth of a divine heir to the throne, contained any reference to the son of Ahaz, then a mere child, it is certain that no other Prince since the death of David could so well have answered to them. There is a strong Jewish tradition that he applied to himself, not only the predictions of Isaiah, but the 20th and 110th Psalms. It was a saying of Hilel that there would be no Messiah for Israel in future times, because He had already appeared in Hezekiah. He himself, it was said, with the expecta- tion of immortality thus engendered, took no care to marry or secure the succession till startled by his alarming illness. In point of fact, he was the centre of the highest Prophetic influence which had appeared since Elijah. Isaiah was his constant counsellor. His maternal grandfather Zachariah may have been not improbably the favorite Prophet of Uzziah. First of the royal family since David, he was himself a poet. He gives the first distinct example of an attempt to collect the sacred books of his country. By his orders a large part of the Proverbs of Solomon,——to which Jewish tradition adds the Prophecies of Isaiah, the Book of Ecclesiastes, and the Canticles——were written out and preserved. The Psalms of David, and of Asaph the seer, the musical services prescribed by David and by David's two attendant Prophets, gad and Nathan, were revived by him. The services of the Temple, and the instructions established by Je- hoshaphat, were restored. The same antiquarian turn, if one may so call it, showed itself in the continuance of his father's passion for collecting costly works of art. The Palace at Jerusalem was a storehouse of gold, silver, and jewels; the porch of the palace was once more hung with splendid shields. Even in the changes which he introduced into the Temple, he spared all the astrological altars and foreign curiosities which Ahaz had erected. Both in the capital and the country, he promoted the arts of peace like his ances- tor Uzziah. Towers and enclosures sprang up for the vast herds and flocks of the pastoral districts. The vineyards, olive-yards, and cornfields were again cul- tivated. The towers and fortifications of Jerusalem, the supply of water to the town, both by aqueduct from without, and by a reservoir hewn out of the solid rock, were for centuries connected with his name. "Peace and truth" were the watchwords of his reign. When the merits of the Kings were summed up after the fall of the monarchy, Hezekiah was, by a deliberate judgment, put at the very top. There was, "after "him, none like him among the Kings of Judah, nor "any that was before him." In descending from this general picture to the details of the reign, the difficulty of any consistent chrono- logical arrangement of the events is almost insuperable. It will be best to take them as they occur in the sacred narrative, open to such corrections as the various dis- coveries of chronologers may impose. 1. The "Conversion" of Hezekiah, as in modern times it would be called, was due not to Isaiah, but to a less famous contemporary. It would seem that the corrupt state of morals and religion, against which the Prophets of the age of Uzziah complained, continued into Hezekiah's reign. Suddenly, in the midst of an assembly, in which the King himself was present, there appeared the startling apparition, in the simplicity of his savage nakedness, of the Prophet Micah. With the sharp, abrupt, piercing cry peculiar o his manner, he commanded each class to hear him. The people listened with awe to the bitter satire with which the nobles were described as preparing their cannibal feast out of the flesh and bones of the poor. They heard him denounce the unholy compact then first begun between the mercenary Priests and the traitor Prophets. They were startled by the energy with which he turned fiercely round on his own Pro- phetic order for selling their divinations at a price, and their blessing or their threats according to the good eating with which their followers supplied them. They heard him hail as a blessing the entire extinction of the order; when its sun should set, when the sun should go down over the Prophets, and the day should be night over them. They must have been yet more amazed when he attacked the popular use even of the doctrine of his great contemporary, Isaiah, "God is with us," "Immanu-El," the pledge of the invincibility of Zion, had passed into an exaggerated and unmeaning dogma. "They lean upon Jehovah, saying, Is not Jehovah in the midst of us? No calamity shall come upon us." It was to contradict this in the most direct manner that he drew his picture of the crowded fortress of Zion turned into a ploughed field, and the stately palaces of Jerusalem sunk into a heap of ruins, and the rocky site of the Temple once more like a mountain forest. There was a pause when he concluded. It would seem as if for a moment an indignant King and people would rise and crush the audacious seer. But Hezekiah was not a mere tool in the hands of nobles, or priests, or prophets. Micah was left unscathed, and the dark prediction was never fulfilled. "The Lord repented Him of the evil "which He had pronounced against them." And even in the Prophet's own lifetime——succeeded the promise of a prosperity before unknown; when the nation should in peace be like the gentle dew, in war like the lion in forest and fold, or like a fierce bull treading down his enemies on the threshing-floor, with horns of iron and hoofs of brass. The wild dirge of Micah had been aimed against the moral evils of the nation. The neglect of the Temple, the total abeyance of the Mosaic ritual, were as nothing in his eyes. On the other hand, of any moral reforma- tion the Chronicler tells nothing. But the outward reformation which he describes was doubtless the ex- pression of an inward change also. The great doors of the Temple so long closed were opened. The King himself took the command. The Priests hung back from the revolution which swept away the neglect which the head of their order, Urijah, must in some measure have countenanced. But the Levites, more closely connected with the general educa- tion of the people, lent themselves heartily to the work. Both joined in the ceremonial of a vast sacrifice offered by the King and Princes in expiation of the national guilt. The people went along with the change, sudden as it was. Immediately on this followed the revival of the Pass- over, of which no celebration had been recorded since the time of Joshua. Like the Feast of Tabernacles, at the dedication of Solomon's Temple, it was commemorated by the addition of a second week of rejoicing. Not only the whole population of the southern kingdom attended it, but, although reluc- tantly, some even of the northern, especially of the most northern, parts. It was characteristic of the true spirit of the religion of David, that, when these unusual guests arrived, without the prescribed ablutions, the King over- looked it in consideration of their pure intentions. "The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth his "heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though "he be not cleansed according to the purification of the "sanctuary." From this restoration of the worship of JEHOVAH, Hezekiah proceeded to the removal of supersti- tions which had existed from the earliest times. Beside the Temple worship in Jerusalem, had descended what may be called the rural worship of the "high places," at Bethel, at Beersheba, at Moriah, on the mountains of Gilead, at Ophrah, on the hills of Dan, at Mizpeh and Ramah, on the top of Olivet, on Mount Carmel, at Gibeon. They had been sanctioned by the Patriarchs, by Samuel, by David, by Solomon, by Elijah, by Asa and Jehoshaphat, by Joash and the High Priest Jehoiada, by the four first books of the Pentateuch, if not expressly, at least by implication. The "high place," properly so called, though doubtless originally deriving its name from the eminence on which it stood, was a pillar of stone, covered, like Mussulman tombs, or like the sacred house of the Kaaba, with rich carpets, robes, and shawls. An altar stood in front, on which on ordinary occasions, oil, honey, flour, and incense were offered, and, on solemn occasions, slain animals, as in the Temple. Round about usually stood a sacred hedge or grove of trees. Such a grove, as we have seen, was allowed to stand even within the Temple pre- cincts. There was a charm in the leafy shade of the oak, the poplar, and the terebinth, peculiarly attractive to the Israelite and Phœnician devotion. With these was joined, within the walls of Jerusalem itself, the time-honored worship of the Brazen Serpent. It had been brought from Gibeon with the tabernacle, and before it, from early times, incense was offered up, as it would seem, by the norther as well as the south- ern kingdom. Innocent as these vestiges of the ancient religion might seem to be, they were yet, like the Golden Calves in the northern kingdom, and on exactly similar grounds, in- consistent with the strict unity and purity of the Mosaic worship, and had an equal tendency to blend with the dark polytheism of the neighboring nations. It was reserved for Hezekiah to make the first onslaught upon them. He was, so to speak, the first Reformer; the first of the Jewish Church to protest against institutions which had outlived their usefulness, and which the nation had outgrown. The uprooting of those delight- ful shades, the levelling of those consecrated altars, the destruction of that mysterious figure "which Moses had "made in the wilderness," must have been a severe shock to the religious feelings of the nation. There was a wide-spread belief, which penetrated even to the adja- cent countries, that the worship of Jehovah Himself had been abandoned, and that His support could no more be expected. The Sacred Serpent, the symbol of the Divine Presence, had been treated contemptuously as a mere serpent, a mere piece of brass, and nothing more. The altars where Patriarchs and Kings had worshipped without rebuke had been overthrown, and the devotion of the nation restrained to a single spot. Was it possi- ble that the faith of the people could survive, when its most cherished relics were so rudely handled, when so little was left to sustain it for the future? so has the popular conservative instinct of every age been terrified at every reformation, and maintained, with the alarmists of the time of Hezekiah, that, as one destructive step leads to another, we must have all or nothing. Hezekiah has been often quoted, and quoted justly, as an example that reform is not revolution, that Religion does not lose but gain by parting with needless encumbrances, however hallowing by log traditions or venerable associations. But whatever murmurs there may have been, they were checked by the approach of a great calamity, the deliverance from which was the best proof that God had not deserted his people, because He was worshipped with more truth and more simplicity. The rise of the Assyrian power has been already de- scribed. A new king was on the throne of Nineveh, whose name is the first that can be clearly identified in the Hebrew, Assyrian, and Grecian annals,——Sennacherib (Sin-akki-irib). His grandeur is attested not merely by the details of the cuneiform in- scriptions, but by the splendor of the palace, which, with its magnificent entrances and chambers, occupies a quarter of Nineveh, and by the allusions to his con- quests in all the fragments of ancient history that con- tain any memorial of those times. With a pride of style, peculiar to himself, he claims the titles of "the "great, the powerful King, the King of the Assyrians, "of the nations, of the four regions, the diligent ruler, "the favorite of the great gods, the observer of sworn "faith, the guardian of law, the establisher of monu- "ments, the noble hero, the strong warrior, the first of "kings, punisher of unbelievers, the destroyer of "wicked men." Such was the King who for many years filled the horizon of the Jewish world. He entered from the north. His chariots were seen winding through the difficult passes of Lebanon. He climbed to the lofty "heights," to the highest caravanserai of those vener- able mountains. He passed along the banks of the streams which he drained by his armies, or over which he threw bridges for them to cross. It was his boast that he had penetrated even to the very sanctuary of Lebanon, where, on its extreme border, was the mysterious "park" or "garden" of the sacred cedars. He was renowned far and wide as their great destroyer. Inscriptions in his Assyrian palace record with pride that the wood with which it was adorned came from Lebanon. He was himself regarded as the Cedar of cedars. They shrieked aloud——so it seemed to the ear of the wakeful Prophets of the time——as they felt the fire at their roots, and saw the fall of their comrades. They raised a shout of joy when the tidings reached them that he was fallen. He de- scended by the romantic gorge of the river of the Wolf. His figure is still to be seen there carved on the rock, side by side with the memorials of the two greatest empires of the world before and after him,—— the Egyptian Rameses who had preceded him by a thousand years, and the Emperor Antoninus who by a thousand years succeeded him. From Arvad or Sidon he must have embarked for Cilicia, with a view to occupy the Phœnician island of Cyprus; and there took place the first encounter between the Greeks and the Asiatics. There, also, Tarsus is said to have been founded, and, by a curious association, the city of the Apostle of the Gentiles derived its origin from the sagacious selection of the Assyrian conqueror. The main object of Sennacherib was not Palestine, but Egypt, the only rival worthy of his arms. To have dried up the canals of the Nile was the climax of his ambition. It was as the outpost of Egypt that the fortresses of southern Palestine stood in the way of his great designs. Already Sargon, his predecessor, had sent his general against the strong Philistine city of Ashdod, then governed by an independent King. There was an army of Ethiopian and Egyptian auxili- aries to defend it. But the city was taken, its de- defenders were carried off, stripped of their clothing and barefoot, and their King fled to Egypt. Sennacherib now followed his father's example. His immediate object was Lachish, as Sargon's had been Ashdod. But it would have been useless to occupy any Philistine city, whilst the strong fortress of Jerusalem remained in the rear. It is this which brings him and his army within the view of the Sacred History. All intervening obstacles, north, and east, and west, had been swept away. Monarchies had perished, of ancient renown, but whose names have survived this devastation; the king of Hamath and the king of Arphad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah. Calno had become as Carchemish, and Hamath as Aphad; there was not one of them left to tell their story. Damascus was a heap of ruins. The fortress of Ephraim had ceased. Tyre had been attacked, and greatly weakened. The desolation of Moab had roused once more the Prophetic dirge. The wild Arabs of Dumah asked fearfully of the night of the future. The caravans of the Dedantes fled from the sword and bow of the conqueror. The glory of Kedar failed before him. Even in western nations Sen- nacherib was known as King of the Arabs. Philistia, which had for a moment rejoiced in her rival's danger, shrieked in terror as she saw the column of smoke advancing from the north, and sought for help from her ancient foe. each stage of the march of the army into Judea was foreseen. He was first expected at Aiath. There was the renowned defile of Michmash,——the Rubicon, as it seemed, of the sacred territory,——the precipitous pass, on the edge of which he would pause for a moment with his vast array of military baggage. They would pass over, and spend their first night at Geba. The next morning would dawn upon a terror- stricken neighborhood. Each one of those Benjamite fortresses, on the top of its crested hill, or down on its deep ravine, seems ready to leave its rooted base and fly away,——Ramah, Gibeah, Michmash, Geba,——and the cries of Gallim and Laish are reverberated by Ana- thoth, the village of echoes. It is a short march to Jerusalem, and the evening will find him at Nob, the old sanctuary on the northern corner of Olivet, within sight of the Holy City. "He shall shake his hand "against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill "of Jerusalem." It was as if the great rivers of Mesopotamia——the sealike rivers, as they seemed to the Israelites——had burst their bonds, and were sweeping away nation after nation, in their irresistible advance. From a distance the sound of their approach had been as the roaring of wild beasts, as the roariing of the sea. The multitudes of many people, a rushing of nations, "like the rushing of mighty waters." And now these waves upon waves had passed over into Judah, and overflowed "and gone over," and seemed to "have "filled the sacred land," to be dashed against the very rock of Zion itself. Out of those mighty waters the little kingdom alone stood uncovered. Nothing else was in sight. The fenced cities of Judah were taken ——Zion alone remained. The desolation was as if the country had been held up like a bowl, and its inhabi- tants shaken out of it. It was even regarded as the first act of the captivity of Judah. Up to this point Hezekiah had been firm in main- taining the independence of his country. But now even he gave way. The show of resistance which he had assumed on the death of Sar- gon he could sustain no longer. He paid the tribute required. The gold with which he had covered the cedar gates and the brazen pillars of the Temple, he stripped off to propitiate the invader. Peace was con- cluded. Both at Nineveh and Jerusalem we are able to read the effects. At Nineveh, if we may trust the inscriptions, Sennacherib spoke as follows:——"And "because Hezekiah, King of Judah, would not submit "to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of "arms, and by the might of my power, I took forty- "six of his strong fenced cities, and of smaller towns "which were scattered about, I took and plundered a "countless number. And from these places I captured "and carried off as spoil 200,150 people, old and "young, male and female together, with horses and "mares, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless "multitude. And Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jeru- "salem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building "towers round the city to hem him in, and raising "banks of earth against the gates to prevent his "escape. . . . Then upon this Hezekiah there fell the "fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to "me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem, with "thirty talents of gold, and eight hundred talents of "silver, and divers treasures, and rich and immense "booty. . . . All these things were brought to me at "Nineveh, the seat of my government, Hezekiah hav- "ing sent them by way of tribute, and as a token of "his submission to my power." In Jerusalem there was a strange reaction of policy. The invading army passed in long defile under the walls of the city. It was composed chiefly of two auxiliary forces——one, the Syrians of Damascus, dis- tinguished as of old by their shields; the other——a name here first mentioned in the Sacred history—— Elam or Persia, with the archers for which it was famous throughout the ancient world. The chariots and horses, in which both Syria and Assyria excelled, filled the ravines underneath the walls. The horsemen rode up to the gates. Their scarlet dresses and scarlet shields blazed in the sun. The veil of the city was, as it were, torn away. The glorious front of Solomon's cedar palace and the rents in the walls of Zion were seen by the foreigners. But, instead of regarding this as a day of humilia- tion, "a day of trouble and treading down and per- "plexity," the whole city was astir with joy at this deliverance through their unworthy submission. The people crowded to the flat tops of the houses, in idle curiosity, to see the troops pass by; instead of "weep- "ing and mourning, and cutting off the hair and sack- "cloth," there was joy and gladness, slaying of oxen and killing of sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. Whatever evil might be in store, they were satisfied to live for the day. "Let us eat and drink, for to- "morrow we die/" Isaiah was there, and looked on with unutterable grief. "Look away from me, I will "weep bitterly. Labor not to comfort me." In the midst of the revelry, an awful voice sounded in his ears, "that this was an iniquity which could never be for- "given on this side of the grave." Amongst the advisers of the King in this act of submission, there was one who obtained a fatal eminence. It was Shebna, the chief minister, who was over the household, and bore the key of state. His chariots were of royal state. The tomb which he had prepared for himself in the rocky sides of Jerusalem was conspicuous in height and depth. On him the Prophet poured forth a malediction which, for its personal severity, stands alone in his writings; the only expression in his writings that in any way recalls the fierce imprecations of the Psalter. He was to be driven from his station, and pulled down from his state. "Behold the Lord shall sling and sling, "and pack and pack, and toss and toss the away like a "ball, into a distant land, "and there thou shalt die." 
from The History of the Jewish Church, Vol. II: From Samuel to the Captivity, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Dean of Westminster Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879; pp. 505 - 524
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Black Pigeon Speaks asks "why don't we question the Holocaust" and attempts to rewrite the history of "Western civilization"

On YouTube there exists a community of content creators who make videos whitewashing history and glorifying fascist and imperialist powers. One of these channels is Black Pigeon Speaks (BPS). In this review, I will examine two BPS videos, “Does the West HATE itself?” and “Chattel Slavery & How the UK Redeemed Humanity”. Since Three Arrows has already created a response video to “Does the West HATE Itself”, this post will critique points from “Does the West HATE itself” not mentioned by Three Arrows, respond to “Chattel Slavery & How the US Redeemed Humanity” and expound on how BPS creates an overarching narrative of fascist and imperialist apologia through both videos. My review is intended to complement and expand upon Three Arrows’ response.
Links to the videos:
Note: “Does the West HATE itself” has been removed, likely because BPS engages in Holocaust denial in the video; I have instead linked to Three Arrows’ response to that video.
Slavery has a long and particularly diabolical history in the Muslim world. Slavery as well as sexual slavery is not only condoned by Allah in the Quran but his apostle Muhammad bought and sold human beings...Human slavery has existed since the beginning of human history...in almost all human societies. Strangely however, it is Western civilization that is singularly blamed for a practice it did not create. But is given no credit for being the society that brought open slavery to an end. Globally...
At the start of “Chattel Slavery & How the UK Redeemed Humanity” BPS poisons the well by stating how slavery is “inherent” to the Muslim world. BPS also noticeably singles out Islamic polities as being horrendous, even though his moral equivocation of slavery in Western nations with slavery worldwide could be applied to the Arab slave trade. Thus his lack of moral equivocation of slavery in Islamic polities is the first indication BPS seeks to disseminate a narrative of Western moral exceptionalism. Though BPS discusses slavery in Christian nations like Britain, he only mentions Islam promoting slavery while ignoring that Christian religious texts also condone slavery. To quote the Bible “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ”. 5 Further, slavery apologists from Western countries like America used the Curse of Ham from the Old Testament to justify black people being enslaved.10 Also, likewise with Christianity, there are also anti-slavery interpretations of Islam. Abul A'la Maududi, an Islamic philosopher, noted “On this point [Islam’s opposition to slavery] the clear and unequivocal words of Muhammad are as follows ‘There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgement. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money’ “.7 Thus, by providing only a few quotes from the Quran without discussing any interpretations of the text or how Muslim polities applied Islam to slavery, BPS forgoes comprehensively developing his arguments or engaging with opposing views. From a material perspective, what is more relevant to understanding the connection between religion and slavery is how societies construe and enact religious tenets rather than a few factoids on prophets and religious texts What BPS does is justify the preexisting biases of his audience as being “evidence-based”. .
While the British did, like the other societies of the time, practice slavery in their colonies, by the 19th century, not only did they end slavery in those colonies, but, the UK went about putting an end to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Opposition to slavery, however has a long history in the UK. The British viewed themselves above slavery, at least in the Home Islands. And through common law it was established any slave...on the British Isles were..free men as “England was too pure an air for slaves to breathe.” In 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act ended slavery throughout the Empire with the exception of territories held by the East Indian trading company. The government then set aside 20 million pounds, or 5% of GDP to compensate slave owners for their losses. To get an idea of how much money that would be today, 5% of GDP would be equal to roughly 100 billion pounds.
BPS continues his video by providing an assemblage of facts to buttress his Western moral exceptionalism narrative. This video doesn’t provide much context as to why the British abolished slavery, even though the West being unique in abolishing slavery is his primary argument. To BPS, the industrial scale and length of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or that race developed as a concept to justify the enslavement of blacks appear to not be unique factors of European colonial slavery.14 Further, he fails to contextualize the events he does present, like the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act, as he ignores how massive resistance from British slaves, political gains by abolitionists at the expense of the West India lobby and shifts in the British economy from sugar to cotton led to the bill passing.17 It is telling that BPS spends a portion of this video discussing the size of the compensation provided to slave owners by the British government. Rather than showing how this indicates the political power of planters even after the 1832 Reform Act17, BPS implies this is a material manifestation of the British commitment to abolition. However, the facts the British state did not compensate slaves for their unpaid labor and the government mandated slaves be apprenticed to their former owners for six years depict the limitations of British efforts to truly emancipate the slaves.17 Another illustration British legal efforts to abolish slavery did not entirely care for the humanity and dignity of black slaves is BPS’ common law quote: it does not state human freedom is a universal right, but rather the island of Britain is too moral for slavery to exist there specifically. A likely reason why BPS does not thoroughly explain the background behind the British abolition movement will become clearer later as he explicitly ties Western exceptionalism with race.
However like a good automaton, Ms. Allen keeps repeating the self-flagellating history so loved by the left...So Ms. Allen the next time you see a white British man, say “Thank you kind sir, for all your people have done to better mankind.”
At the end of “Chattel Slavery and How the UK Redeemed Humanity”, BPS directly reveals the agenda he is pushing: whites are morally superior. Hence, he presumably does not contextualize the British abolition movement because it would contradict the narrative he is disseminating. His statement of Lilly Allen being an automaton is ironic given that morally equivocating European colonial slavery while singling out Arabic slavery as barbaric is not a novel interpretation of the history of slavery. Given that BPS lives in Japan, it is also ironic that he disregards that Japan banned slavery in 1590, centuries before Western nations did so.6 By singling white British men for praise, BPS ignores the efforts of hundreds of thousands of black slaves who revolted against slavery in conflicts like the the Baptist War and efforts by black abolitionists like Olaudah Equiano11 and female abolitionists like Mary Birkett Card.9 BPS also groups plantation owners who fiercely opposed liberating slaves with Quaker abolitionists. This deprives the abolition movement of its agency and indicates he does not care about accurately depicting British abolitionism. When taking into account BPS never explicitly mentions a single male, white abolitionist and insists Lilly Allen thank only white British men, it appears BPS believes the fact the British abolished slavery is enough proof in and of itself that abolitionism consisted of solely white British men. His opinion nurtures the preconceptions of his target audience rather than expand their understanding of abolitionism.
“Also, say thank you good sir, for your people’s opposition to and fight to end open slavery in nations that weren’t even your own.”
BPS’ second thank you remark is also quite telling as it disseminates propaganda employed by the European colonial powers during the Scramble for Africa to justify their major colonial expansion. At the Berlin Conference, the European powers resolved to end slavery, emphasizing the need to eliminate the Islamic slave trade. However, slavery did not end in the European colonies. Besides the infamous atrocities committed by the Congo Free State, the French and German Cameroons instituted slavery for rubber extraction.8 The British also employed forced labor in their African colonies in the 19th and early 20th centuries on public works projects and other work sites.12 The Arab slave trade served as a convenient scapegoat for the European powers to deflect from the fact they continued to practice slavery past the dates they formally abolished it.8 Revolts by the Herero and Namaqua against German colonial practices led to the Germans massacring them.8 Due to the utilization of concentration and extermination camps, synergy of industrialization and genocide and use of racial supremacy to justify colonialism and genocide, the Herero and Namaqua genocide serves as a precedent for the Holocaust.15 As the title of this review suggests, BPS has a clear political reason to not mention any continuities between European imperialism and fascism: justifying colonialism and fascism requires a selective telling of history. He leverages the relative lack of public remembrance of events like the Herero and Namaqua genocide to his advantage. But, as BPS’ video “Does the West HATE Itself?” illustrates, there are limits to the extent he can avoid historical events that damage his narrative.
But, in the rush to make sure the Germans would never rise up again, the same mental virus of cultural shame, self-loathing and self-contempt for what had become had been contracted by the so-called victors Western of the fratricidal war. In the summer of 1914, Western civilization, it could be argued was at its zenith. It stood across the world, powerful, prosperous, growing and most importantly, confident.
“Does the West HATE Itself?” commences with little pretense; BPS divulges his fascist stance by calling WWII a “fratricidal” war of Nazis “rising up” and labeling the Wester Allies as “so called” victors. BPS frames the genocide of millions of Allied civilians and troops as a war between “brothers” caused by the Nazi seeking to overthrow an oppressor he never explicitly mentions. When taking into account his fascist apologia statements, BPS’ claim of the Allies engaging in “self-loathing” appears to be a projection of his own, enraged emotions on the postwar history of the West. Highlighting his opinion the West declined in the postwar era, BPS labels 1914 as the “peak” of “Western civilization”. Three Arrows already mentions that many groups in Western nations did not have the right to vote, yet there were also other material problems faced by many people in Western nations around 1914. In the Edwardian Era in the UK for example, the Liberal Party had passed welfare reforms shortly before WWI.13 Though these policies did improve the health, financial stability and safety for the elderly, the working class, the unemployed and the youth, these improvements were limited by the narrow scope of the reforms; National Insurance did not cover workers’ families and old age pensions were restricted to those over 70.13 Hence, though the imperial might of the Western powers was significant, large sections of these countries remained impoverished. BPS’ analysis of the conditions of Western nations in 1914 could explain why he focused on the size of the compensation paid to slave owners by the British state in “Chattel Slavery: How the UK Redeemed Humanity”. He is extrapolating the perceived experiences of the ruling classes of Western countries as the material conditions of these nations as a whole. It is as if the majority of the population of Western nations do not exist to BPS ,unless they can be used as props to bolster his narrative. Unlike “Chattel Slavery and How the UK Redeemed Humanity”, BPS does not go through the pretense of providing factoids to buttress his arguments. Though the rampant inaccuracies and vagueness of BPS’ narrative make it relatively straightforward to debunk, BPS does not care about the factual weaknesses of his argument since he is mainly appealing to the fears of his audience, as will become clearer later.
The only real value, topic, or event that is held as sacrosanct and cannot be mocked, joked about, or even questioned, on pain of imprisonment in many countries in Europe, is the Holocaust. Throughout the Western world in its entirety, to question even the details of the Holocaust is to have yourself shun by society and made a social pariah. Just ask Andrew Angelin at the now defunct Daily Stormer. Instead of the sacred being that which is sacred, venerated and mysterious in nature, it is instead the Holocaust, a crime against humanity. Simply put, our new, WWII foundation myth is an extremely negative one, and has poisoned the spirit of Western civilization and has caused it to lose all confidence in itself, its values and even the reason for its very existence. And give it time, will destroy it. Utterly.
It is this section of the video that BPS fully reveals his intention of disseminating a pro-fascist and imperialist historical narrative.. Three Arrows already covered how BPS clearly is engaging in Holocaust denial by “asking questions” about the nature of the event and using the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer as proof of his claim. What can be further elucidated from this video is how BPS confronts the Holocaust to promulgate a fascist narrative to a wider audience free from the historical and moral implications of Nazi genocide. As can be seen throughout both videos shown in this review, BPS sees facts as tools to advance his narrative, rather than shape his perspective on history. Because of this, both of the videos being reviewed consist primarily of BPS discussing his feelings on historical topics rather than actually critiquing common historical tropes like he claims he is doing. In fact, BPS’ insistence that the “foundation myth” of the West is inherently negative and centered around the Holocaust is much more telling of the foundation of BPS’ narrative rather than the postwar history of the West. When mentioning events before WWII and the Holocaust, BPS could cherry pick factoids to spin his narrative on fascism and imperialism being moral without feeling the need to directly confront history that contradicts this narrative. However, due to widespread dissemination of the Holocaust and how it clearly represents the genocidal nature of fascism, BPS’ narrative cannot ignore the Shoah, leading to him becoming saddled with “white guilt”. To absolve his ideology of its guilt of committing the Holocaust, BPS deflects by “asking” why the Holocaust to instill doubt in his audience on the veracity of an extremely well-documented genocide.4 “Hiding” the promotion of fascism behind Holocaust revisionism is a tool neo-Nazis utilize to make their message more marketable and “PC”.
You learn from a very young age that the ultimate incarnation of pure evil were the Nazis and thus, those that oppose Nazis are the ultimate good. From this stance of ultimate good, Western civilization derives its core goals of anti-nationalism, unity being a weakness and diversity being a strength...Look at the United States. Before the WWII foundation myth supplanted its original foundation myth, its origin was settlers founding a new and just land. Ultimate good was central to the narrative…
Beyond the blatant fascist apologia, BPS’ narrative suffers from its incredibly abstract and vague nature. Throughout this video, BPS attempts to create an all-encompassing narrative on the “foundation myth” of the West and how the Holocaust led to the decline of Western nations that is disconnected from reality. The viewer is left to accept at face value his claim WWII led to a sudden change in the “foundation myth” of “the West”, though as Three Arrows indicated through Germany, there is little evidence postwar societies suddenly became wracked with guilt and negativity. Historical occurrences like the Second Red Scare and resistance to passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in America2 and the success of Gaullism as a political movement in France conflict16 with BPS’ premise on the adoption of the self-loathing “foundation myth” by postwar Western societies Rather, the history of postwar Europe and America indicate Western societies cannot be neatly generalized as BPS insists into one overall movement seeking to destroy “Western values” Conservatism and nationalism as political movements did not collapse after WWII as BPS would seem to imply. Though BPS condemns the sociopolitical movements of the 1960s as rejecting their “ancestors’ values, the abolition movement noticeably escape BPS’ critique, even though it could be argued abolitionism rejected their “ancestors’ values” of the moral superiority of white supremacy.. Since movements opposing the established order predate WWI and WWII while efforts to protect “traditional values” occurred in the postwar era,2 BPS’ fascist narrative fails to encapsulate the diverse range of social movements that have occurred over centuries in the West. His arguments on historical social movements are both internally incongruent and factually groundless.
Further, when analyzing the historical evidence, BPS’ implicit assessment of the prewar “foundation myth” could actually apply to the social movements he disparages. Though BPS argues the postwar “foundation myth” is inherently divisive as opposed to the presumed unity of the prewar “foundation myth”, postwar sociopolitical movements exhibit the unity BPS seems to associate with the prewar era. One example is the Civil rights movement. To paraphrase a statement from a white Freedom Rider, his freedom is inherently tied to the freedom of blacks.1 At marches in places like Selma, Christian and Jewish organizations as well as sympathetic whites joined black religious and secular groups.3 The unity present in many of the postwar social movements sharply contracts with the divisiveness of BPS’ narrative glorifying white wealthy men. Another indication of the incongruity of BPS’ argument is when he argues the US’ prewar “foundation myth” consists of settlers founding a just land based on freedom. Yet the postwar Civil rights, gay liberation and labor movements, for example, could be construed as efforts to convert BPS’ prewar “foundation myth” of America from an abstract nicety into reality.2 It appears BPS would have preferred if the US’ “foundation myth” remained an ideological shield for the suppression of the rights of minorities, LGBT+, women workers, etc. rather than Americans actually addressing the disparity between this myth and their material reality. As with historical events, BPS co-opts the concepts of freedom and justice to legitimize fascism and other forms of oppression.
In conclusion, the videos “Chattel Slavery: How the UK Redeemed Humanity” and “Does the West HATE Itself?” spin a fascist and imperialist narrative devoid of any significant historical basis. BPS has three major goals with his “historical” narrative: reaffirm the biases of his audience, lure undecided people into a fascist way of thinking and provide cover from accusations of fascist propaganda. Facts do not matter to BPS, only the dissemination of his beliefs does.
1 "Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960–1961)" by Eyes on the Prize
2 American History: A Survey, 13th ed. by Alan Brinkley
3 "Bridge to Freedom (1965)" by Eyes on the Prize
4 Debunking Holocaust Denial by Holocaust Denial on Trial
5 Ephesians 6:5 taken from the BibleGateway
6 Frontier Contact Between Choson Korea and Tokugawa Japan by James Bryant Lewis
7 Human Rights in Islam by 'Allamah Abu Al-'A'la Mawdudi
8 King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
9 Mary Morris Knowles (1733-1807) by Brycchan Carey
10 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass
11 Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) by Brycchan Carey
12 Slavery and the Scramble for Africa by the BBC
13 The effectiveness of the Liberal social welfare reforms by the BBC
14 The Atlantic Slave Trade by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
15 The 20th Century’s First Genocide: Not the Holocaust, but the Herero by the Post-Conflict Research Center
16 The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945 to the Present by William I. Hitchcock
17 Why was Slavery finally abolished in the British Empire? by The Abolition Project
Credit: Thank you to Three Arrows for posting his response to “Does the West HATE Itself?” BPS’ Holocaust denial and other fascist apologia can be preserved for the public to witness.
Edit: Thank you for the silver kind stranger!
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