To: Arthur Goldwag
From: Jackie Muhammad
Re: Your Rebuke of Minister Farrakhan
You recently wrote a blog in the Atlantic in which you ridiculed The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for his brilliant and magnificent four-and-a-half-hour Saviours’ Day speech on February 26 before a capacity gathering at Chicago’s United Arena and a national and international audience of countless viewers via the Internet.
The object of your criticism, ridicule and scorn of him was to discredit him for his “fascination with flying saucers” and his discussion of his experience on the “Wheel.”
Several Jewish commentators like yourself have sought to belittle The Minister, making him out to be detached from reality because of his account of his experience on the “Wheel.” The “Wheel,” or what some have classified as a UFO, is not a creation of the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. This concept was introduced to the world by the ancient writers of the Bible; in fact, it has its origins in Jewish theology—not NOI folklore. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Hebrew word for this “flying wheel” is merkabah, meaning the Heavenly Throne or God’s Throne-Chariot, a technological marvel the ancient Jews envisioned God would use to defeat His enemies (who are variously described as Satan, the rebellious angels, Gog and Magog, etc.) and usher in a new world order.
The Ma’aseh Merkabah, which literally means the “Work of the Chariot,” is the Jewish theosophical literature concerning God’s Throne-Chariot —“the [Hebrew] conception of Yhwh riding upon cherubim, or fiery cloud-birds, upon the heavens or the clouds; hence His ‘war-chariot’”—with special reference to prophet Ezekiel’s vision. It is a Talmudic term for the esoteric Judaic doctrine of the nature of God and the secrets of God’s throne, and is based on the description of the Divine Chariot in the Book of Ezekiel and on other prophetic descriptions of divine manifestations. According to the ancient Talmudic Rabbi Ammi, the ma’aseh merkabah is a “secret doctrine” that must not be discussed in public and “might be entrusted only to one who possessed [certain] qualities.” The Talmud often describes the perils connected with the unauthorized discussion of the ma’aseh merkabah. Indeed, the ancient Mishnah lays down this rule: “The ma’aseh merkabah should not be taught to any one except he be wise and able to deduce knowledge through wisdom of his own.”
The ancient rabbis sought to suppress the Book of Ezekiel because, they said, it was not for “children.” They taught that only the learned rabbis could read and properly interpret Ezekiel’s vision. The unlearned, they said, would be consumed by fire, or could go mad. Now, to the consternation of the ancient and modern rabbis, Minister Farrakhan is exposing the hidden meaning of the vision of Ezekiel and giving its true interpretation to the whole world.
The understanding of the Wheel is one of the cornerstones of the teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Master Fard Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam and the man The Minister reintroduced to the world on February 26. To make light of what they taught is to belittle that which the prophets, sages and wise men of Judaism espoused themselves. What The Minster teaches about the Wheel is not inconsistent with what has been taught in your own religion or culture. To ridicule The Minister is to ridicule Elijah the Prophet, Abraham, Enoch, Ezekiel, Paul, Moses, and other Biblical figures who had encounters with the Wheel.
For example, wasn’t the Prophet Elijah (2 Kings 2:11; Isaiah 66:15) transported to heaven via the “Chariot of God,” which was likened to a whirlwind? What about Enoch, the friend of God? Wasn’t he transcended (Gen. 5:24) bodily to God without experiencing death? And then there was Abraham. Was he not taken up to heaven in the “chariot of the cherubim”? And, yes, Ezekiel himself was a rider on the merkabah. And there was Paul (2 Cor. 12:2-4), who was “carried off,” transported to heaven and returned, like some of his predecessors.
What about the transfiguration of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-9) on the mountain where he has an encounter with Moses and Elijah? Finally, in Islam we have a similar depiction of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Night Journey. Regardless of the means of transport, the purpose of the merkabah experience was spiritual transcendence. All of these men, including The Minister, experienced a spiritual transcendence.
All of these prophets’ spiritual experiences were enhanced by their encounter with the Wheel. Strange, but I don’t see you criticizing any of these men as having mental aberrations. But when an intelligent, articulate, iconic Black man stands before the world and makes the same claims, you ridicule him. I am sure you’re familiar with the story of the goose and the gander. What’s good for them is good for us.
The English poet John Milton, one of the greatest writers/poets of the seventeenth century, was so affected by the concept of the Wheel that he reconceptualized Ezekiel’s vision in the epic poem “Paradise Lost.” Following on the heels of the Protestant Reformation, Milton envisioned his “Chariot of Zeale” as the means by which God would fight the forces of evil that the founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, identified as the corrupt leaders of the Catholic Church.
Farrakhan’s vision is as real as the experiences of all the ancient sages, but what about today and the modern era in which we live? Are you familiar with the evangelicals who believe that they will be taken up to heaven in a spacecraft to be with God at the end of the world? In his book The Rapture, Hal Lindsey says that the raptured will be transported to heaven in a mother ship. The evangelicals believe that they will be traveling at a rate of speed of 186,000 miles per second to be with their Lord.
The so-called UFOs have been seen by some of the top political leaders in the nation: among them are former President Jimmy Carter, former Governor Fife Symington of Arizona, former presidential candidate and current congressman Dennis Kucinich, and the late President Ronald Reagan.
The late Tim Russert, the longest-serving moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, senior vice president at NBC News, and Washington bureau chief, questioned Congressman Kucinich about his reported sightings of UFOs. During the presidential debates of 2007, Mr. Kucinich acknowledged that both he and former President Carter, on separate occasions, were eyewitnesses to these aerial phenomena. Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington, a pilot and U.S. Air Force veteran, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he sighted a “huge” unidentified flying object in the Phoenix skies on March 13, 1997, an event that was witnessed by “hundreds—if not thousands—of people in Arizona, and my office was besieged with phone calls from very concerned Arizonians.”
Ronald Reagan, as Governor of the State of California, encountered these aircrafts on two separate occasions. The first sighting took place when then Governor Reagan was on his way to a party held by actor William Holden in Hollywood. He and his wife, Nancy, arrived at the party an hour late. He described how he and Mrs. Reagan had seen a UFO while driving down the coast highway to Los Angeles and stopped to watch the event. Comedian Steve Allen and actress Lucille Ball, who recounted the story in her memoir Lucy in the Afternoon, told of the account Reagan had given to the Hollywood elite.
The second event took place in 1974 when Reagan was on his state-owned Cessna Citation jet plane. His pilot, Air Force Colonel Bill Paynter, spotted the craft and was ordered by the governor to follow it. Upon approaching the craft the governor and his pilot saw the craft go from a “normal cruise speed to a fantastic speed instantly,” at which point they lost sight of the craft as it ascended into that realm of the heavens the little Cessna could not possibly go.
Reagan’s fascination with his “UFO” experience culminated with the U.S. government’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as “Star Wars.” When Reagan became president, he put billions of dollars in the development of a defense system designed to defeat the “UFOs” he had encountered: a secret weapon that used a laser traveling on a beam of light that would move through space at a rate of 186,000 miles per second to destroy the aircrafts he had encountered as governor.
The concept of the Wheel is not alien to the Black religious experience, both during and after our experience as slaves in America. I am sure you are familiar with the Negro spiritual, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” a song originally written by an ex-slave, Wallis Willis. What you may not know is that the slaves envisioned the Wheel as an instrument that God would use to kill the white slave master and lead the enslaved Blacks to freedom. So the concept of the Wheel is part of the Black community’s religious and cultural paradigm.
The purpose of the Wheel is twofold: it is to be used for redemption and for destruction. This is similar to Minister Farrakhan’s explanation of the Wheel’s purpose, namely, that it is to be used in this modern era to destroy the enemies of God and redeem His people. This is totally in line with the purpose of the Wheel as conceived by the Hebrew prophets. So to belittle Minister Farrakhan’s experience with the Wheel is to express a profound ignorance of Talmudic doctrine, Jewish esoteric teachings, Christian theology, Biblical prophecy, Black history, and the U.S. government’s military initiatives against the Wheel itself.
What Carter, Symington, Kucinich, Reagan and countless others have experienced is real. It is not an aberration. The technology associated with the Wheel is far superior to anything this world has ever seen. According to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad “this wheel-like plane” is “a masterpiece of mechanics.” Ezekiel’s vision—which “included hints on the Great Wisdom of Almighty God (Allah)”—has indeed become a reality. Just as Reagan couldn’t develop a weapon to destroy the Wheel, neither can you tarnish the reputation of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan by belittling his personal experience with it. The Minister boldly proclaims that the power of that Wheel and the Personnel commanding it are what protects him and what makes him the bold, uncompromising, iconic phenomenon that he is. Though this may be hard for you to accept, you have no choice; however, you now have the truth.
Jackie Muhammad is a former presidential appointee, member of the Oxford round table, educator, youth-trainer and businessman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.