96:7.1 Under the leadership of their sheiks and priests the Hebrews became loosely established in Palestine. But they soon drifted back into the benighted beliefs of the desert and became contaminated with the less advanced Canaanite religious practices. They became idolatrous and licentious, and their idea of Deity fell far below the Egyptian and Mesopotamian concepts of God that were maintained by certain surviving Salem groups, and which are recorded in some of the Psalms and in the so-called Book of Job.
96:7.2 The Psalms are the work of a score or more of authors; many were written by Egyptian and Mesopotamian teachers. During these times when the Levant worshiped nature gods, there were still a goodly number who believed in the supremacy of El Elyon, the Most High.
96:7.3 No collection of religious writings gives expression to such a wealth of devotion and inspirational ideas of God as the Book of Psalms. And it would be very helpful if, in the perusal of this wonderful collection of worshipful literature, consideration could be given to the source and chronology of each separate hymn of praise and adoration, bearing in mind that no other single collection covers such a great range of time. This Book of Psalms is the record of the varying concepts of God entertained by the believers of the Salem religion throughout the Levant and embraces the entire period from Amenemope to Isaiah. In the Psalms God is depicted in all phases of conception, from the crude idea of a tribal deity to the vastly expanded ideal of the later Hebrews, wherein Yahweh is pictured as a loving ruler and merciful Father.
96:7.4 And when thus regarded, this group of Psalms constitutes the most valuable and helpful assortment of devotional sentiments ever assembled by man up to the times of the twentieth century. The worshipful spirit of this collection of hymns transcends that of all other sacred books of the world.
96:7.5 The variegated picture of Deity presented in the Book of Job was the product of more than a score of Mesopotamian religious teachers extending over a period of almost three hundred years. And when you read the lofty concept of divinity found in this compilation of Mesopotamian beliefs, you will recognize that it was in the neighborhood of Ur of Chaldea that the idea of a real God was best preserved during the dark days in Palestine.
96:7.6 In Palestine the wisdom and all-pervasiveness of God was often grasped but seldom his love and mercy. The Yahweh of these times "sends evil spirits to dominate the souls of his enemies"; he prospers his own and obedient children, while he curses and visits dire judgments upon all others. "He disappoints the devices of the crafty; he takes the wise in their own deceit."
96:7.7 Only at Ur did a voice arise to cry out the mercy of God, saying: "He shall pray to God and shall find favor with him and shall see his face with joy, for God will give to man divine righteousness." Thus from Ur there is preached salvation, divine favor, by faith: "He is gracious to the repentant and says, `Deliver him from going down in the pit, for I have found a ransom.' If any say, `I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not,' God will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and he shall see the light." Not since the times of Melchizedek had the Levantine world heard such a ringing and cheering message of human salvation as this extraordinary teaching of Elihu, the prophet of Ur and priest of the Salem believers, that is, the remnant of the onetime Melchizedek colony in Mesopotamia.
96:7.8 And thus did the remnants of the Salem missionaries in Mesopotamia maintain the light of truth during the period of the disorganization of the Hebrew peoples until the appearance of the first of that long line of the teachers of Israel who never stopped as they built, concept upon concept, until they had achieved the realization of the ideal of the Universal and Creator Father of all, the acme of the evolution of the Yahweh concept.
96:7.9 [Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]