Imagine Blake as a very young child reading. The Bible was likely
his primary, if not only, reading material; so he steeped himself in it,
the way a child does with his favorite book. Frye called him a Bible
soaked Protestant. In a letter to Flaxman Blake described his
primary sources: "Now my lot in the Heavens is this: Milton lov’d me
in childhood and show’d me his face; Ezra came with Isaiah the
Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years gave me his hand;
Paracelsus and Behmen appear’d to me; terrors appear’d in the
John Milton is thought to be England's greatest prophet, but some
people say that William Blake was the greatest prophet we have had
since St. Francis.
Moses had this to say near the end of his life: "Would to God that
all the Lord's people were prophets?"
What is a prophet? There are many definitions of the word, but
here's mine: a person who points out to people the primary choices
they have: "either this or that". If you do such and such, so and
so will happen. If you do such and such(2), so and so(2) will happen.
Your destiny is in your hands--at least to some degree.
The prophet points out to us that we must choose between 'good' and 'evil', and he lays out for us the consequences of our choice. His/her basic function is to awaken people. From Milton,
Plates 22-23; Erdman 117:
"The Witnesses lie dead in the Street of the Great City
No Faith is in all the Earth: the Book of God is trodden under
He sent his two Servants Whitefield & Westley; were they Prophets
Or were they Idiots or Madmen? shew us Miracles!
PLATE 23 
Can you have greater Miracles than these? Men who devote
Their lifes whole comfort to intire scorn & injury & death
Awake thou sleeper on the Rock of Eternity Albion awake
The trumpet of Judgment hath twice sounded: all Nations are awake
But thou art still heavy and dull: Awake Albion awake!"
Most prophets, biblically and today, become famous and are looked to and
The Covering Cherub is the epitome of Satan. (see also Plate 14 of MHH.) But in essence they're both a state of mind.
The Catholics speak of a state of Grace and a state of Sin. As
the years went by Blake saw Satan as one state and the 'Christ
consciousness' as the other one. We've come now to the place
where we all live.
Blake's first real prophecy was The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
In it he pointed out good and evil; only he reversed it (this
is called irony!). The devils were what we today call creative
people; the angels were those clinging to the 'good ole days'- and ways.
In mature years he gave up the youthful ironic tone for more
reasoned prophecies; We might list the 'either ors', which he
Instead of good and evil
for Heaven' put Eternity;
For Hell put Ulro.
(Beulah is between; but a 'resting Eternal' is apt to go to sleep and drop into the Sea of Time and Space.)
Goolgonooza is also between, but hopefully 'coming up'.