Fear not the light
Lets make it clear once and for all: “There is no believable prophecy in the Book of revelation; Revelation is to prophesy and divine insight what science fiction is to reality.”
Numerous societies, including the Babylonian and Judaic, had produced apocalyptic literature and mythology, which dealt with the end of the world and of human society. The Epic of Gilgamesh, written ca. 2000–1500 BC, details a myth where the angry gods send floods to punish humanity, but the ancient hero Utnapishtim and his family is saved through the intervention of the god Ea. Later, the Epic of Gilgamesh will be edited by the Judaic authors to become the scriptural story of Noah and his Ark describing the end of a corrupt civilization and its replacement with a remade world, one of the best-known mythical and apocalyptic stories of the modern world.
The first centuries AD saw the creation of various apocalyptic works; the best known is the Book of Revelation filled with prophecies of destruction, as well as luminous visions.
In the first chapter of Revelation, the author takes it as his mission to convey, to reveal God’s kingdom. The apocalyptic story provides a beautiful vision of The Judgement Day, revealing God’s promise for redemption from suffering and strife. Revelation describes a New Heaven and a New Earth, to its intended audience, the Christians under the persecution of the Roman Empire. As for Israel before them, these Christians believed themselves to be the chosen ones.
This apocalyptic story will then be revamped by many prophets of doom claiming to be the owner of the divine decree and mandate of heaven and that the only way to save your soul and avoid death when the judgement day will come is to join their cult and missionize the world.
How should one look at the book of Revelation?
Apocalyptic literature is nothing else then a genre of prophetical intended to brainwash and scare people into joining a religion or a cult; a literature genre first developed in the alleged post-Exilic Jewish-culture that later became very popular among millennialist early Christians. Today many religious cults and organizations are still pretending to the reality of the Book of Revelation to get to the people and their savings.
“Apocalypse” [Ἀποκάλυψις] is a Greek word meaning “revelation”, “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling.” As a literature genre, apocalyptic literature details the authors’ visions of the end times as allegedly revealed by a so called god, an heavenly messenger or so called angel or spirit.
The apocalyptic literature of Judaism and early Christianity embracing a considerable period of time, from the centuries following the so-called Exile of the Jewish people from Egypt down to the close of the Middle Ages, is a literary genre pretending to foretell supernaturally inspired cataclysmic events that will transpire at the end of the world. A product of the Judeo-Christian tradition, apocalyptic literature is inevitably, [for evident credibility reasons], characteristically pseudonymous. This way, no information being available on the fictive author name, nobody can challenge the credibility of the tale and its author. The Apocalyptic piece of literature will always be in narrative form, will always employs esoteric language, express a very pessimistic view of the present, and inevitably treats the final events as imminent.
The earliest apocalypses are Jewish works that date from about 200 BCE to about 165 BCE and the latest ones are works originating from Chinese and Japanese sects develop after the second World War. In Japan alone, there are 41,000 religious and spiritual sects pretending to an imminent end of the world. In the western world everyone knows the pretentions of the Mormons or the Jehovah Witnesses and lately of Pastors Mark Biltz and John Hagee and one hundred nineteen other Ministries [including one Japanese religious and spiritual Sect], pretending that the Great Tribulation started this fall of 2013; that signs will be visible in the sky on April 15 and September 8 of 2014 and that the second coming of Christ and the end of the world is to happen somewhere in 2015.
How much of that bull can one take?
While the earlier Jewish writers or whatever Jewish Prophets, have foretold the coming of world wide or localized disasters, they never placed these events in a narrative framework nor conceived of them in eschatological terms. It is only during the time of the Hellenistic domination of Palestine and the revolt of the Maccabees that a pessimistic view of the present became coupled with an expectation of an apocalyptic scenario characterized by an imminent crisis, a universal judgment, and a supernatural resolution.
The most famous and influential of the early Jewish apocalypses is the last part of the biblical Book of Daniel written about 167 BCE and attributed to a revered wise man that supposedly lived some four centuries earlier at the time of the Babylonian captivity. “Daniel” recounts a series of visions, the first of which is the most succinct. He sees a succession of four terrible beasts, evidently representing a succession of earthly persecutors culminating in the contemporary Hellenistic tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the “eleventh horn” of the fourth beast). Daniel then sees the destruction of the last beast by the “Ancient of Days” and the coming of “one like the Son of Man,” to whom is given “everlasting dominion that shall not pass away” and whose kingdom will be inhabited by “the people of the saints,” who will forever serve and obey him.
The other Jewish apocalypses, the first Book of Enoch [c. 200 BCE], the fourth Book of Ezra [c. 100 CE], and the second and third Books of Baruch [c. 100 CE], are “apocryphal” insofar as they do not belong to the canonical Hebrew Bible. They are extant in Ethiopic, Syriac, Greek, and Latin translations made by Christians rather than in their original Hebrew or Aramaic forms. The reason that the apocalypses survived in this manner being that, after the failure of a series of Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire, after about 135 CE, the rabbis who began the process of codifying the Jewish tradition turned away from apocalypticism to an emphasis on upholding and interpreting the law of the Pentateuch. Unfortunately, however, while Jewish apocalypticism was still flourishing, it was taken up and edited to suit their own purposes by Christians.
Most authorities regard early Christianity as a fervently apocalyptic religion, intent on the imminent “Second Coming” of Christ to preside over the Last Judgment and the end of the world. Early Christian apocalypticism is evident in the Gospels, which are permeated with language taken from Daniel. The so-called Little Apocalypse, a sermon by Jesus found in Matthew with parallels in Mark and Luke, foretells the imminence of collective tribulation and chastisement before the coming of the “Son of Man” who will “sit upon the throne of his glory” and separate “the sheep from the goats.” Some Pauline epistles also contain apocalyptic content. The last book of the New Testament, Revelation concludes canonical Christian scripture on an apocalyptic note. Written in Asia Minor about 95 CE by a Christian named John, Revelation offers a vibrant, sometimes colorful, account of imminent crisis, judgment, and salvation. Evidently obsessed by the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire, which he refers to as “Babylon,” John recounts a series of visions that foretell a crescendo of persecutions and martyrdoms followed by universal judgment, retribution for the forces of evil, and rewards for the faithful.
Whatever the origins of the apocalyptic work, its details are more then often impenetrable because of the compulsive use of an esoteric allusive language that is not making any sense except for the author of such work. Moreover, Moreover, because the events are so repetitive, the narrative is always and always will be bewildering. Nevertheless, the intent of the writer cannot be ignored: the hallucinogenic imagery is easily engraved in the mind of the reader, and the mysteries found in the text have proved endlessly fascinating if not scary. Nor can there be any doubt of the ultimate intended message: the world, which is already suffering, will soon be washed in blood, but the “King of Kings” will come to “tread the winepress of the wrath of God,” and everlasting rewards will be given to those who have “washed their robes in the blood of the lamb.”
A number of other Christian apocalypses were written during the period between 100 and 400 CE, including the Apocalypse of Peter, the Apocalypse of Paul, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Testament of Abraham. Although these works adhere to apocalyptic form in recounting supernatural visions pseudonymously in esoteric language, they refer to an individual’s rather than to a collective salvation. For many scholars and less naïve believers, they believed in a non-apocalyptic Last Judgment and started insisting on the fact that the time of the last act of history of mankind was utterly uncertain. Nevertheless beliefs inherited from Daniel and Revelation permitted the survival of apocalyptic thinking in the Middle Ages and led to the creation of new apocalyptic works, such as the Revelations of Pseudo-Methodius in the mid century) and the Vision of Brother John later in the thirteenth century. Many medieval authors also wrote pseudonymous prophecies foretelling about imminent crisis, judgment, and salvation.
Although the apocalyptic genre disappeared after the Middle Ages, because of the more and more frequent conflicts emerging in the world at the end of the 18th century, starting around 1843, an apocalyptic mood, reinforced by explicit references to the Book of Revelation, appears in numerous modern literary works between 1930 and 1959. Moreover, in the same period, several Protestant denominations in the United States and East Asian denominations, started to propound apocalyptic faiths and beliefs, describing apocalyptic events in sufficiently descriptive, colourful and violent terms, to achieve phenomenal popularity and monetary success.
No, Nobody needs to belong to any religion or cult to become a better person. 2014 will not be the year of the end of the world but rather the year of the early global awakening of the people of the world 2014 will be the year of the end of this era of total nonsense and bull of the authoritarian clerical economical and political; the end of all of this pseudo intellectual, spiritual, mystical, religious, political and economical mental masturbation. 2014 will be the year of the proper and the ethical.
Stop praying and start acting.
To be continued…