Zen for the Hot and Bothered, Book of the Brow Beaten, Book II
Prelude to the Messiah
I guess it came
to pass that the Lord's people, the Israelites, were taken from the
I guess it came to pass that all the tribal elders were gathered around the shem horn. They blew it a few times and listened. But they heard no one coming. The head elder ask the other elders the sacred question:
"Any sign of an invading army that wishes to take us away and put us to hard work so we might toil away for hundreds of years and then through the power of God we rise up, cast off our chains, put our pagan oppressors to the sword, ravage their women a good bit, re-conquer the Holy Land and then fall from the Lord's grace because we start worshiping foreign gods or we get a king that takes one too many foreign wives or something like that. Do you hear any of that at all?"
"No," answered Joffa the Elder.
So the elders waited around for a couple weeks but still nothing came. They grew restless. If an army didn't come along soon, the people would tear the elders from office and put in charge elders that knew how to attract a really vicious pagan people like those Philistines. There was a people that really knew how to maltreat God's Chosen Ones.
Now, I guess I have to explain that the Israelites didn't like being put into bondage. No one does. It's just that when God's nation was enslaved, eventually God would come to the rescue and the pay off would be great. It's sort of like young couples who keep breaking up because the short period of reconciliation is so much more pleasant than the daily relationship grind: the nagging, the going out for brews with the boys to get away from the women, feeling guilty for buying new mag chrome rims for the car when you should haven taken your girlfriend to the Sting concert instead. That sort of thing. Anyway, the Israelites always got an arc or a temple out of the deal. But nothing had come by in the last bit.
The people cried out to the elders.
"Come on, do something. Do something! The last temple the Lord gave us is in pretty shabby condition. We want a new temple! This time, one with private boxes, a retractable copper dome, and maybe a four-star inn attached."
Well the elders
were stunned. The lottery grants for temple building had all but dried up.
And the chances of an effective invasion was looking pretty slim as God had
helped the Israelites put asunder any opposition in the holy land. They had
given the Babylonians, the Philistines, the Hittites, the Kickites, and the
Things were looking grim until Joffa came up with an idea.
"How about if we told the people that the next enslavement won't come for a very long time."
"What are you talking about?" cried the other elders. "We already have our bags packed. We'd hate to have to unpack them only so we have to repack them 230 years later. Someone summon a guard and have Joffa's hands removed."
Joffa protested. "Wait, just hear me out. What if we tell the people since the enslavement won't come for such a long time, the eventual compounded daily payoff will be so great, it could only be eternity."
Eternity. The other elders like the sound of that. At least it sounded better than recent suggestions of Elder term limits.
Joffa now had the other elders' attention.
"Go on," they said. "We're listening."
"We'll tell them that from the House of Moe will be born a messiah! On the back of a donkey he will ride in and deliver his people but not before being sacrificed by the enslavers. In dying he will have done a far far better thing than he has ever done before. He shall win his people eternity."
The elders sat in silence for a bit and contemplated Joffa's idea. It sounded good. Maybe a little too good. Parts of it sounded like he stole it from a book, like one of those Ammonite One Minute Mysteries that were all the rage a few years ago.
"We like the idea," they said. "But who are we going to get to be the patsy?"
"The patsy?" Joffa asked.
"You know, who's the clown that's going to get snuffed? A eunuch?"
"Well, no," said Joffa, "we won't actually have to choose anybody. This is the beauty of it. If we word our prediction generally enough, someone quite independently of us is going to get it into his head that he's the messiah. Unintentionally, he's going to do all our dirty work."
"Oh we get it. The old-bait-and-self-fulfilling-prophesy switch. We like it, Joffa. It's pretty airtight except for the House of Moe. Why not predict he'll come from the House of David? The House of Moe is an unassuming lot. Now those House of David types? they're pretty smug bastards.
"Alright," said Joffa.
All in agreement, the elders set to work on their disinformation campaign.
I guess here ends the Prelude to the Messiah for Zen for the Hot and Bothered, Book of the Brow Beaten, Book II.