Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The End Times.

The end times (end of days) are most often worked into a message that God is set to bring Armageddon upon a sinful humanity, who must repent their sins, but even so, only “one hundred and forty and four thousand” of them will be spared into heaven, according to what is written in the Chapter of Revelations. The meaning of the complex, confusing and fearful scenes described in that closing chapter of the Bible is open to interpretation, and biblical scholars vary in their opinion and offer different readings of it, and yet without doubt, it seems to point to a chain of events that lead to an outcome in which the Earth is utterly and forever changed. If we believe that the description of these end times are a forewarning of human destruction, then it is easy to look at the many and interconnected troubles of a sick planet with sicker humans on it, and find a map in Revelations that our actions, of greed and disrespect for each other, ourselves and the Earth are simply predicted by divine will, and we should simply carry on as we are, contemptuously consuming ever more, laying waste to all resources and carving the way to majority dissolution and death, in the cause of the will of a creator who wrote the end times of humanity into His code for our destiny.

Other religious teachers read Revelations as being an historical record to us, in which the Whore of Babylon was the Roman Empire, not an agent of Satan, although to the persecuted of the time it may have seemed as though the Romans were themselves agents of the devil. The subject is fascinating and for example the psychic, Edgar Cayce saw the Book of Revelation as symbolic of the body and consequently each emblem, emotion and condition relate to the person. So, the elders of Revelation 4:4 relate to the 12 pairs (24) of cranial nerves, and the seven churches of Asia in Revelation Ch. 1 are symbolic of the 7 chakras, i.e. spiritual centres, and that the end times, if that is what they are, reflect changes within individuals, and that the second coming of Jesus Christ, rather than being part of an almighty cataclysm, was an event for each of us, singularly, and the end times of particular attitudes, beliefs and behaviours within each and every one of us, through which we enter a state on enlightenment. Whatever may be the truth of any of these interpretations, most of the cheap and readily available resources of materials and energy will not be so for much longer.

Thus, these are the end times of casual regard, e.g. for many metals, and fuels like oil, gas, uranium and even coal, if the end days last 50 years or more, and of an enlightenment to the reality that we must use them less and use them well. The alternative may be that we are living in the lead-up to an apocalypse, of war, famine, disease and death, and those four horsemen are on their way, at least if we do not begin to care for the earth, for one another and indeed for ourselves as individuals, by curbing greed and complacency - the principal sins of disregard. We are indeed, running low on cheap resources of metals and energy and the spiritual values of family and community have been plundered in the process that has lead to that which we call progress. It is beyond refute that there is much to be applauded in the advances of the past century and more, in healing sickness, and raising countless millions out of abject poverty, but there has been little symbiosis with the natural world, which we are largely isolated from in a vulnerable and fragile bubble , which could so easily be popped by any number of resource shortages, new strains of disease, or famine.

Even money, in the new economic miracle is proving to be a phantom, spirited away like a will-o-the-wisp on a financial system “built” on credit - i.e. on nothing. It is the issue of money as a false god that consumes resources and human inner resources, that I can read most closely in Revelations, but that is just an impression. If the end times are not to become the end of days, we need to address the problem, and readapt our attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and actions to avert this outcome. This will involve both a material and spiritual transformation, taking us into an enlightened new age. I have great faith and respect for the better qualities of humans, and a belief that we can find an earth-centred haven from the current white-noise of fear and despair. I am an optimist.

“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city's street. On either side of the river, stood a tree of life, which yields twelve crops of fruit, one for each month of the year. The leaves of the tree serve for the healing of the nations, and every accursed thing shall disappear.”

Related Reading.
Revelation 21, 22: "The New English Bible; New Testament. Popular Edition. Oxford University press; Cambridge University Press, 1961.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Chris

I have often heard many of my English speaking acquaintances saying “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.

I observe you say about the same thing, just reversing the order : “I expect the worst but I still want to hope for the best”.



Professor Chris Rhodes said...

Hi Andre,

well, I am still hoping for the best and I don't think we shouldn't give up yet... as many seem to!

In my worst moments, I begin to agree with them...



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