June 11, 2006

APOCALYPSE NOW?



Some believe that a peaceable kingdom where the lion will lie down with the lamb (or dogs, cats, and birds will laze together as in this photo) will come after a period of great tribulation.

You may have noticed some of media hype last Tuesday about the significance of the date: 6/6/06.

Some people associated the day with 666, the "number of the Beast" mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation, which a large number of Americans interpret literally as a prophecy regarding the imminent second coming of Christ.

One television report even claimed that some parents-to-be deliberately postponed caesarian operations until the following day to avoid giving birth on that date.

Millions of Americans, including a sizeable portion of the electorate, believe that we are living in the last days and base their views of current events on that belief. Books and videos about the last days, such as the "Left Behind" series by Tim LeHay and Jerry B. Jenkins, have reached millions of American and become a major industry. Apocalyptic themes often dominate religious broadcasting, sometimes to the neglect of any other religious message.

In the next few posts, El Cabrero will explore a little of the background and history of apocalyptic religion and its impact on the current situation in the US.

(Full disclosure: El Cabrero is a practicing but not very proficient Christian from the Anglican tradition with a background in sociology and a long standing interest in the history of religious ideas.)

First some words. Two terms that commonly come up in discussions of this topic are "eschatology" and "apocalypse." Eschatology (not to be confused with scatology, although in some versions the difference is subtle) refers to last things, as in death, judgment, and the end of the world. Apocalypse comes from the Greek word meaning to uncover or reveal, hence the English name of Revelation for the last book of the New Testament).

Apocalyptic religion and literature developed in Jewish and later Christian communities in the two hundred years before and after the time of Jesus. The main apocalyptic books in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament are Daniel and Revelation respectively, but these are only two examples of a common literary form (more about this next time).

This approach to religion developed in response to persecution of Jews and later Christians by violent empires. The underlying message is for believers to remain faithful and resist (usually nonviolently) the temptations of empire until God decisively intervenes in history.

At a very basic level, apocalyptic religion is one of many attempts to deal with the problem of evil, which is a persistent question in monotheistic religions, one that becomes more pertinent in times of social unrest, injustice and persecution. The term for this effort to prove the justice of God in a very unjust world is theodicy, from the Greek words for God and justice.

Consider the following three statements: God is good (as far as people are concerned); God is all powerful; and evil exists. If any two of these are true, there is no logical problem for believers, but asserting all three requires some explanation.

For example, if God is good and all powerful and there is no evil, there's no problem. The same is true if God is all powerful but not all good and there is evil. Ditto if God is good but not all powerful and evil exists.

But those who believe in an all good and all powerful God in a world where evil exists and seems to prevail have worked hard for thousands of years--from the biblical Book of Job to bestsellers such as When Bad Things Happen to Good People--to come up with a satisfactory explanation.

There are many proposed solutions to this problem, none of which are always entirely satisfactory, particularly if one is on the receiving end of evil. One is that evil has no reality. Another maintains that it is the result of human freedom. In the Book of Job, God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind and basically says that it's beyond our insignificant human comprehension, which isn't bad as such explanations go.

Some of the deeper approaches to this question in Christian theology maintain that this is a profound mystery but that God shares in the sufferings of the world through the crucified Christ.

Apocalyptic religion answers the question this way: God is good, but the present world is under the domination of evil forces hostile to God. In the fullness of time, God will intervene, often after and through a series of cataclysmic events and sometimes through the agency of a messianic figure.

In the end, there will be a final judgment where the good who have suffered and died in this life will be resurrected in glory and the evil will be punished, sometimes forever. The sufferings of the innocent will be compensated by an eternity in paradise.

One doesn't have to be too much of a psychologist or follower of Nietzsche to see that this can sometimes express an all-too-human desire for revenge. The early church father Tertullian, who lived in Carthage in the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Christian era, maintained that the sufferings of the damned in hell would make up part of the pleasures of being in heaven.

While there has always been an eschatological dimension to Christianity (this is less true of Judaism), it has seldom been the main focus of religious teaching. When it has been, the results have generally been disappointing.

Next time: the development of apocalyptic religion in the biblical period.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

4 comments:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello El Cabrero,
Here are some insights on the true meaning and purpose of 666. Hope this helps clarify many age-old mysteries. Also, here's access to some significant research data for your upcoming articles...

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

By the way, symbology is intended to encode and convey very specific and ultimately verifiable information. One aspect of symbology is numeric symbolism. On the other hand, mysticism and numerology are mumbo jumbo based partially on misunderstood ancient symbology and purposeful efforts to obscure what little is known...

666 is a numeric symbol that purposely marks the Vatican/Papacy throughout history, not any single individual. The number 666 is put forth in verse 13:18 in the Book of Revelation and of course, 6+6+6 equals 18, directly matching the verse number and helping to disprove any 616 assertions. The following information on triangular numbers further disproves attempts to hide the truth.

Revelation 13:18
Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Men, women, and beasts symbolize organizations and groups of people in all symbolically sealed Hebrew prophecies and Revelation never mentions the so-called antiChrist. 666 is the most famous of all triangular numbers, being the sum of the whole numbers from 1 through 36. Triangular numbers were very important to Greek Pythogoreans and Hebrew wisdom groups purposely used them as pivotal symbolism pointing to Greco-Romans.

Likewise, John 21:11, which speaks of Peter, the supposed first Pope, has the number 21 in its chapter and verse number. 21 is also a triangular number that is the sum of all whole numbers from 1-6, thereby forming a triangle with three 6 point sides, hence a triangular 666.

John 21:11
Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land (earth) full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty and three (153); and for all there were so many, yet the net was not broken.

Additionally, 153 is a triangular number that is the sum of the whole numbers 1 through 17. Also the verse number is 11 and the sum of all whole numbers from 1 through 11 equals 66 and 17-11 equals 6. Why are 11 and 17 important in this verse talking about Peter and 666? The Second Temple period of ancient Israel was during the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar and the 21st century is the beginning of the 17th cycle, which began in Hebrew year 5761, which was Christian year 2001. Thereby, John 21:11 purposely links Peter, the Papacy, 666, and the 11th through 17th cycles on the Hebrew calendar. Notice also that the prophecies of St. Malachy say that the Papacy will end shortly, which will be during the 21st century and 17th cycle? Here is Wisdom!!

Also read the following article - Verifiable proof that "Armageddon" has begun

For more stunning confirmation of this information, download my FREE EBook and read through the symbol glossary for 1776, 666, 153, 66, 36, 21, 18, net, triangle, and triangular number and their related references. Be prepared to be shocked and amazed.

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello again, with more research data pointers.
Here's some detailed insight into the backstory and subplot of the DaVinci Code and related books and texts.

Most have totally missed the point that the Gnostic texts and others are making. First, they refer to symbolic males and females, hence the philosophical masculine and feminine nature and character. All the Gnostic texts are philosophical and symbolic treatises, not literal narratives. When you try to interpret any of these ancient texts (including the Bible) as literal, you will always come to the wrong conclusions.

You may not initially agree with everything I reveal, but please be a little patient with my long-winded presentation of what I have waited a very long time to be able to say. I promise to amaze and enlighten.

Contrary to those who strive to assert that the DaVinci Code created the term, symbology is an ancient philosophical technology and I am a real life symbologist. Likewise, the upper-level members of secret societies such as Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Illumanti, and the Vatican are symbologists. Keeping their "craft" secretive and misunderstood is a purposeful ploy designed to hide the truth about ancient wisdom and the symbology used to model, encapsulate, and encode it. The title "mason" is itself a symbolic allusion to those who work with the "Philosophers' Stone" which is the symbolic name given to an ancient body of symbology, hence "Masons" are workers of "stone."

Read Proverbs 9:1 below to better understand this allusion.

Wisdom has built Her house. She has carved out Her seven pillars.

Notice that "wisdom" is referred to as "Her" and "She", as in Sophia and Miriam (the Magdala), and that "She" has "hewn" "Her" "seven pillars" (of stone)? Read my Home Page to see what those seven pillars of "stone" have always referred to, contrary to what religions and mysticism have said for millennia.

Peace...

Here is the key to understanding what the Vatican and Papacy truly fear...

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

Here's a real hot potato! Eat it up, digest it, and then feed it's bones to the hungry...

There's much more to the story of the Vatican's recent machinations than meets the eye. It's not the DaVinci Code or Gospel of Judas per se, but the fact that people have now been motivated to seek out the unequivocal truth about an age of deception, exactly when they expect me to appear. These recent controversies are spurring people to reevaluate the Vatican/Papacy and the religions that Rome spawned, at the worst possible time for them.

Remember, "I come as a thief..." ?

Read verse twelve of the Gospel of Thomas to understand who I am...

The DaVinci Code novel and movie are no more inaccurate as literal versions of history than the New Testament. The primary sub-plot involved purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, exactly like the Bible and related texts. In other words, none of these stories represent the literal truth. This is the common and pivotal fact of all such narratives about ancient Hebrew and Christian history. Debating whether the DaVinci Code, Gnostic texts, or the Bible are accurate history is a purposeful ploy designed to hide the truth by directing your inquiry away from the heart of the matter.

There is a foolproof way to verify the truth and expose centuries-old religious deceptions. It also proves why we can no longer let the Vatican tell us what to think about ancient history or much else. It is the common thread connecting why the ancient Hebrews, Yahad/Essene, Jews, Gnostics, Cathars, Templars, Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code, and others have been targets of Rome’s ire and evil machinations. The Vatican and its secret society cohorts don’t want you to understand that the ancient Hebrew symbology in all of these texts purposely encodes and exposes the truth about them. Furthermore, the structure of ancient wisdom symbology verifiably encodes the rules to decode messages built with it. This is what they most fear you will discover.

If the Bible represented the literal truth or even accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk. It is undeniable the New Testament is awash with ancient Hebrew symbolism and allegory. The same is evidenced in the Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, Quran, DaVinci Code, and other related sources. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

It is beyond amazing that the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are the literal truth. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. Recasting the symbolism of earlier Hebrew texts as literal events in the New Testament is one of the central deceptions associated with Christianity. This is part of the secret knowledge held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, Cathars, and others, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. This fact is the key to unraveling many ages-old mysteries and exposing the truth about the Vatican's long-term deceptions.

Moreover, the following Washington Post article (The Book of Bart) describes how many changes and embellishments were made to New Testament texts over the centuries, unequivocally demonstrating they are not original, infallible, or truthful. When you combine proof that the New Testament Gospels are not wholly literal with proof that these texts were heavily reworked in the early years of Christianity, you are left with only one possible conclusion. The Vatican has long lied to everyone about the central tenets and history of Christianity. This revelation also proves they are not the Creator’s representatives but Her long-time opponents. The recent hoopla over the Gospel of Judas and DaVinci Code demonstrates they are still desperately trying to deceive the world and obfuscate their true nature and activities.

It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. As further proof of these assertions, seek to understand the symbolic significance of my name (Seven Star Hand) and you will have proof beyond disproof that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have long been duped by the great deceivers I warned humanity about over the millennia. What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand the truth?

Now comes justice, hot on its heels... (symbolism...)

Not only do I talk the talk, I walk the walk...
Here is Wisdom!!

Revelations from the Apocalypse

Peace...

Wabi-Sabi said...

My head hurts...

As for eschatology, the best definition I've heard was offered by the great theologian Drew Carey during the 2002 White House Correspondents Dinner:

eschatology (Es`cha*tol"o*gy) n: Ozzy Osbourne attends White House Correspondents Dinner and is regarded as America's favorite TV Father.


In hindsight, we should have known that war in the Middle East was imminent.

Secret Rapture said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!
Read My Inaugural Address
My Site=http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman
Your jaw will drop!