Monday, December 05, 2011
I finished reading The Book of Revelations last evening. I like how much math is involved in it.
8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8:10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.
8:11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
With all the stars falling (an actual star falling I think would cause a bigger disaster than what is here described), and grasses getting burnt up (humanity is said to arrive along with the birth of grasslands, as our ability to stand up in the grass gave us an advantage over monkeys and other low creeping thangs).
There are also all these cool quotes. Manson used to run around citing this one:
9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Rainbows abound, and seven of this and seven of that. Dragons pop up out of nowhere, and a woman has two wings like a great eagle. 666 appears as the sign of the Beast of the Apocalypse. It's a very cool book. Plus, Jesus speaks again, and he is quite specific about all those who are misleading others about his project:
2: 20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
This isn't exactly the Sermon on the Mount, in which love conquers all. Jesus says,
2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
That last word must have bothered Luther, because it continually appears as the final arbiter of good and bad, and Luther didn't want that to be the final arbiter. He wanted faith as the final rubric. So he denied this book in his youth, but later came to believe it was a truly Christian book. What changed his mind?
It's a lovely strange fiery book, with imagery that seems allegorical to a degree that nothing else in the Bible seems to portend. But finally it is works that matter in this book.
20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
What works, exactly? Not sleeping with Jezebel is seemingly a good thing. Not playing ball with 666. Fighting against Gog and Magog counts. Listening to the still small voice of faith rather than worldly inducements, in general. Not blaspheming God while He destroys the earth with hellfire seems to be a goodly thang.
A certain number from each of the 12 tribes are sealed, which I think means saved, but it doesn't seem to depend on anything they did. It was foretold. They are saved from hunger and thirst (7:16), and they will cry no more.
But Jesus says he wants us white hot with faith, not lukewarm 3:16.
But not hot in the body, hot only in the spirit. Anyone who teaches or learns fornication (sex outside of traditional marriage?) is going to get it.
Jesus is also quite elderly now, with a snowy white beard and hair (white like wool, as white as snow -- 1:14). But he's tough as heck: 1:16 "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
This was supposedly written by John, who also wrote the fourth Gospel. He calls himself John four times. He is imprisoned on Patmos, an island. It takes place somewhere between 60-95 AD, and is thought to be an attempt to send comfort throughout the Christian west, which has been under siege by the Romans for decades now, and yet the light continues to spread. It's a beautiful book, and I think it's my favorite book. The only book that touches it in sheer beauty is John's own Gospel, and some passages from St. Paul when he's talking about love and angels. Is 666 meant to be Rome, or it some aspect of each of us?