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Revelation's metaphoric 'lake of fire' and the universal symbolical images of brutality and deception, focal points of Evil, oppressing humanity for thousands of years
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A blizzard of Revelation bible-commentaries confronts the student of Scripture; each might offer a different perspective.
Editor's note: I well recall a defining moment in my intellectual development as a young man: I discovered, from the writings of various biblical scholars, other viewpoints concerning the message of Revelation, ones that did not conform to the dogmatic teachings of my particular church at the time, but which, however, offered credible explanation of Revelation, grounded in fair and careful assessment of the text.
Today, it seems too puerile, too obvious, to state that there will always be other possible explanations to any question or phenomenon. But, in my youth, still oppressed by cultish unclear thinking, such expansiveness of thought and liberality of mind had not yet come to me. It would take a long time, most of my life, for me to become free, not just of bad ideas, but bad ways of reasoning and arriving at those ideas.
Allow me to summarize an important principle from my studies of many years ago - seemingly, a small point, but one inviting new vistas of thought and would become dispositive, an opening wedge, in terms of arriving at some semblance of Revelation's message.
the number 7 is used more than 50 times in Revelation - clearly, we are dealing with a symbolical number
Probability tells us that the employment of a number 50+ times within short compass could not happen by accident. Revelation's author is trying to tell us something by this surfeit of usage.
coded language so as to not alarm Dear Leader and invite his wrath
In Revelation we find layer upon layer of symbolical meaning. The author, it becomes evident, is cloaking his intended message lest the totalitarian powers-that-be of his day should look askance upon, and find threatening, his writing. The great ruling world-power of Revelation's author would have been one of the oppressive Caesars.
The ordinary meaning of much of the book's symbology refers to these Roman dictators. Caesar is like a "harlot-woman" riding a "beast", that is, controlling a vast military edifice.
And yet, the author is also concerned with a larger question, "How will evil on planet Earth eventually be expunged?" He speaks and searches not unlike Dante who posed the same question in another of history's great writings.
Despite the extensive content of Revelation's symbology, I would like to keep this discussion on an abbreviated level. Therefore, my purpose will avoid extended dilation and offer condensed comments.
so many sevens
In Revelation we find 7 churches, 7 angels, 7 thunders, 7 trumpets, 7 woes, 7 Beast-resurrections, 7 vials... we could go on. The number seven, especially when used in this ostensible way, has a hidden meaning in the Bible, indicating fullness, completeness, perfection.
"7 churches" means, "This applies to all congregations everywhere."
"7 angels" means, "The entire heavenly host, all of God's agents, are working on this."
"7 woes" means, "You have no idea how bad it could get. It will get as bad as the forces of Evil can make it bad."
I think you get the idea. But, for our purposes at hand, I will be centering on the 7 Beast-resurrections.
the Beast and the False Prophet
These two, an unholy alliance, do not refer to any particular duo in history, that is, not in an exclusive way. Granted, the author would have had certain ones in mind who, in his day, fit this bill - but, since the writer is also keen to understand the larger significance of evil, he means to indicate more. These two rogues are universal symbols applying to fundamental essence of Evil found everywhere and in all eras.
"The Beast" or "The Vicious Animal" or "The Monster Heart" represents raw, brute, oppressive force, murderous power in the world.
"The False Prophet" or "The Lying Teacher" "The Master Of Deception" signifies the power of hoodwinking and propaganda in the world; as we say today, "fake news."
These two work toward the same goal, the enslavement of all others. But, depending on what they think they can get away with, one may temporarily become Evil's weapon of choice.
These forces of Evil in the world and throughout all history, as we might know, often come to us costumed as harmless "lamb," that is, they masquerade and role-play as savior, good person, and benefactor-politician, while cloaking a monster-heart. In the "clear thinking" writing, we called it - Adrian's term - "the mask of piety."
- Shakespeare: "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain"
the Lake of Fire is absolutely not a reference to eternal hellfire
The myth of eternal hellfire is dealt with elsewhere; however, for our purposes here:
You will notice that both Death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).
But, can Death die?
Hades indicates a place - can a place or location die?
Death and Hades are abstractions, mere ideas, symbolical forms. Death and Hades have no bodies to be burned. We are dealing here with symbolical language; and, despite Revelation's abstruseness, in this case, the meaning is not very hard to discern.
All thinking people throughout history have pondered the significance of suffering and evil in the world: how will it end? will 'the good' eventually triumph? The author of Revelation is addressing these universal questions - as did the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, and also the apostle Paul:
"He will swallow up death forever" (Isa. 25:7, 8).
"The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15: 26).
the Beast and False Prophet are abstractions, symbols, of endless oppression of humankind. The author of Revelation ponders a universal question: when will these twin scourges of Evil will be removed from the world - when will all the suffering and misery they produce finally end
The Beast or "The Vicious Animal," along with the False Prophet or "The Lying Teacher," rises and falls 7 times. But 7 is a symbolical number indicating a complete or perfect number of times.
I suggest that the meaning is clear enough. Brute Force and its concomitant, The Lying Teacher, at times in history, have been beaten back, and, for short periods, a measure of peace might reign. But then the forces of oppression rise again.
How many times will Evil rise and fall? Seven times?
This begins to sound like a discussion Jesus had with his students: "Seven times? - no, I tell you, seventy times seven!" His rejoinder, too, is not meant to be taken literally. He's not saying, "Let's see now, 7 times 70 is 490 times, that's the literal magic number."
But Jesus had no intention of suggesting a concrete number. He meant to say, "an infinite number of times."
And so it is for us in our example from Revelation. How many times will the Beast and False Prophet come after us? - an infinite number of times. And they will keep coming, and keep coming, and keep coming, as many times as they seemingly are beaten back.
Isn't this what we see from the Power-Mongering and Fake-News elements of the world? Do they give up, admit mistake, even when discredited? No, they double down on malfeasance, and keep pouring it on.
Can you think of even one example in the last 10,000 years when Brutality or Deception has said, "Well, we've been pretty hard on these people. Why don't we just let them go now so they can have a nice life?" This has never happened. Murderous Oppression has never voluntarily laid down its weapons.
To restate: this is the lesson of history, for thousands of years. Brute Force and Propaganda might suffer a setback, but it isn't long before they're back in business.
Editor's note: There is a scene in Nixon which speaks to this. A nineteen year-old female war-protestor, in debate with the President, suddenly perceives the dire issue: "If they don't want the war, and we don't want the war, and you don't want the war, why does it go on? [suddenly understanding] You're not able to stop it! It's the system, isn't it? It's like an uncontrolled Wild Animal!"
why and how do they keep coming back
Let's take a moment to rethink this entire issue. Possible confusion here stems from wanting to make the Beast and False Prophet specific individuals or collective-powers, such as particular nations or churches or specific dictators - which assertions, even in themselves, are usually forms of propaganda, an effort to demonize certain groups to the advantage of mountebanks.
This is wrong.
The Beast and False Prophet are universal abstractions, ideas, concepts in the head. We must escape the literalism of cloaked terminology of two thousand years ago and translate these symbols into modern thought-forms.
Brute Force and Deception-Propaganda do not represent the exclusive domain of history's most famous villains. The dysfunctional ego loves this kind of talk, conveniently excusing itself, removing the spotlight from its own diseased underpinnings, as it proclaims, "Let's get rid of the bad guys so life can be good for us good guys." But it doesn't work that way -- this is just more propaganda.
it's always tempting to externalize the problem: we want to 'become saints by rehearsing the sins of others'; we want to 'throw the Beast and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire' and be done with Evil forever - but, it's more complicated than that
These universal abstractions, the two major forms of oppression in history, are common tools of the Small Ego, as it attempts to accommodate the inner neediness of "I don't have enough" because "I am not enough."
The Beast and False Prophet denote the grasping-tactics of the unenlightened Everyman and Everywoman.
the end of all evil in the cosmos: one enlightened mind at a time
Many churches preach a different meaning. But, I would suggest that their sensationalism, of turning Revelation into a prophecy of “end times,” is a product of sloppy scholarship and, worse, an effort toward hucksterism; playing on people’s fear of death to gain a following, and their money. I know of this too well, as I was once part of a ministerial teaching team. The truth is, however, each us, individually, must represent the “end of evil in the universe.”
Admittedly, some of us are much more hard-core than others, some are more insane than others, and some do, in fact, operate on a world-stage, but all, major and minor role-players, serve in the grip of the Small Ego, and all live on the same continuum of unconsciousness, or lack thereof.
And therefore the curse of oppression will not leave our planet until each man and woman comes to know the True Self, the life and fullness within.
Many months after writing the above, I had occasion to discuss this topic with Adrian Smith. He had recently written a piece for the “ultimate reality” page featuring the apostle John’s view of final events in Revelation, “the Bride adorned for her husband.” Adrian said that this view of highest reality, in essence, is an advanced level of consciousness, an ecstasy. This is why the writer chose the image of a Bride to represent a future beneficence for the planet. She is a universal symbol of ecstasy, a rapturous euphoria and elation, a mind-frame that dwells in exalted perceptions of beauty.
As we discussed these things, I thought of John’s metaphor of the city of God, that “Bride,” that ecstasy, displacing the former domain of the Beast and False Prophet with their mental darkness of "threat", "lack" and "I am not enough".
And I said to Adrian, this is the answer to universal evil. Some people think that we, here on the Earth, with better teaching, more education, societal growth, will eventually, gradually, turn this planet into an oasis of spirituality. But there can be no “gradually.” This is a planet where the system itself is rigged against us - with the system being our own unenlightened minds.
Here, the Beast and False Prophet reign with iron fist, suffuse, to various degrees, all unenlightened thought, and no matter how many times – seven times, and seven times seven – they're beaten back, they will rise again, and keep coming at us, and keep coming at us, because the dysfunctional neediness of the “false self” cannot help itself but to grasp for "more and more".
It's never enough for them. Burdened with this pathological outlook, one is mindlessly compelled to be "number one," to take, to grasp, to "win" at all costs, to accumulate endlessly, to be first, all the money in the world is not enough, to push to the head of the line. It's an insanity. As Jesus said, "they know not what they do." And there will be no peace, in this world, or any world, until this dysfunction of "seeking for more" is remedied in every human heart.
I would just say that those who are deep under and taken over by this kind of heavy misconception of reality are guaranteed to end up in "dark detention." No question about it.
Editor's note: Nothing wrong with winning and seeking for more, per se, and the healthy mind looks forward to an eternity of growth and betterment, but this natural desire to expand and enlarge is hijacked and perverted by the small ego. We have many reports from the other side concerning these blinded materialists when they cross over. They had bet the farm on everything going blank at death, meaning they thought they could get away with taking as much as they could during the Earth visit, but when they’re confronted with the jarring and inconvenient fact that no one dies, moreover, that one’s higher self has not been amused by how the ego has lived, then they’re angry and want to fight. And this bellicose reaction is the reason why so many of the hard-core languidly collapse into centuries of confinement in the “rat cellar.” They could leave the same day - but that would mean admitting they were wrong.
I said that if “The Wild Animal” and “The Lying Teacher” were to be expunged from the world, there’d be no reason to come to this planet of dualism and polar opposites – the good and bad, the hot and cold, the bitter and sweet, on and on -- we might as well have stayed in Summerland with its perfect climes. However, we come here to learn valuable lessons of “waking up” via the harsh terra-environment, and the Guides intend for us to get our money's worth.
the 'lake of fire' is a symbol of a planet-wide purging and cleansing, a burning away of all things ungodly - but the 'fire' will be found only within a mind that 'comes to the light'
Editor's note: See the "Gospel of Thomas" whose Jesus continually speaks of the "light" within. This is the cleansing "fire".
The Beast and False Prophet do not give up, I said to Adrian, because human egoic neediness is never satisfied and does not, and cannot, ever give up. The small ego cannot be reformed, but only transcended.
Doctor Strange (2016), The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton)
“We never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them.”
This is why the metaphoric Evil Duo is thrown "alive" into the lake of fire. The writer makes a special point of "alive." They’re thrown "alive” because they never give up, and will go down fighting - not by a gradual, incremental program of the world becoming better and better; no, they’ll be gone - in their mid-stride, right in the act, during fervent untoward activities, like Pompeii's unprepared victims taken at the dinner table - in one blinding flash, one incendiary instant, of blazing cosmic insight of enhanced consciousness, of "coming to the light": that unforgettable and shattering euphoric moment when the Bride of ecstasy arrives; and with her delightful advent, all things become new, permanently. Once we have the real thing, there's no going back, because we'd never want to.
This Bride, this joy, this euphoria, to Revelation's way of speaking, is a life fully attuned to God. While the now-neutered small ego ever survives in dormant state, as this is part of our humanity as free choice, it will never again dominate. The Bride, this new, higher level of consciousness, alone, expunges evil from the cosmos. We now have sturdy incentive to "live above" potential evil within, as the Ancient One said, and this, on a lasting basis. We would never go back.
And the coming of the Sacred Beloved, one's destined eternal romantic mate, is a perfect pictogram and microcosm of this larger orientation of one's life. The writer of Revelation knew this. It is the authentic eternal marriage, as Jesus said, that "cannot be sundered." It's not going away. With the Bride's arrival, one's person becomes sated with well-being - no more malaise of "I am not enough." As such, he would never go back to living without her. Yes, absolutely, it is the eternal marriage that "cannot be sundered."
Jekyl-and-Hyde canines, faithful sheepdogs by day, bloodthirsty monsters by night
It’s 1966 and I’m sitting in Mrs. Willardson’s English class. I’m excited because the monthly shipment from Scholastic Book Services has arrived, and I’ve purchased ten or more paperbacks. The cover prices were often only 60 cents, cheap even then, but students got a discount and could buy for something like 35 cents! It was great. Those were the days.
Every month I’d order books. Not that I read them all, mind you, I wasn’t yet disciplined enough to do that, but I just liked having them. However, one book I did read, and parts of it were so shocking that I still recall 56 years later.
Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946) offered, he said, “true stories” of animals he’d encountered. Among the most noteworthy is that of “Wully” the sheepdog, a very strange case of a pooch living a veritable “double-life.” By day, he attended faithfully to his master’s business, but by night “he became a savage, treacherous sheep-killer.”
Even more intriguing, with the publication of Seton’s book, other similar accounts were brought to his attention. “All told, I now have information of six of these Jekyl-Hyde dogs. In each case it happened to be a collie.” These duplicitous and vicious creatures “added to night amusements the crowning barbarity of murdering the smaller dogs of the neighborhood.” One of them “had killed twenty, and hidden them in a sand-pit.”
A certain image has lodged in my spirit all these years as it reaches for highest order of cunning, deception, and two-facedness.
The author vividly paints the scene concerning one of these dogs; it may have been Wully. In the early hours of the morning, the master happened to be awake and was ambling about the kitchen. Suddenly, who should bolt through an open window but Wully! On his fur and about his mouth remained bloodstains from the night’s escapades. Normally, Wully would have met his owner with a studied deference and feigned loyalty, but the dog realized that the evidence of its malfeasance could not be hidden. And now Wully turns into his real self, a snarling, menacing monster. The master backs away, keeping a wary eye on the canine. The dog moves in, about to pounce for its kill, but not before a steel poker from the fireplace was raised against the ogre, to end his devilish adventure.
the beast, the wild animal
When an animal, whose heart is laden with viciousness, feels itself threatened to the utmost; when it’s exposed for what it is, when the game's over, with realization that it’s now do or die, kill or be killed; it will invest all its energies to stay alive, at whatever expense. Desperate situations, the egoic inner-being counsels, demand desperate measures.
At the time of this writing, the whole nation is witnessing an example, writ large, of the spirit of Wully the conniving false-fronted one. At the highest levels of government, we see those of respectable, august office, exposed for what they really are. All these years they’ve been “raiding the neighborhood at midnight,” living the rapacious life in the shadows, but feigning service-mindedness, speaking in platitudes, smiling sweetly for the cameras.
But now they realize that, if certain ones come to power, it will be the end of their duplicitous treachery. No more chicken-coop larceny in the dark. See them now, of wild and crazed mind, foaming, attempting to defend themselves by sophistic ways and means; unwise, boorish, heavy-handed, illegal, criminal. But it’s do-or-die for them. And Wully knows that time is short, and this makes him reckless, lathered up, and more insane.
The Beast, or the Wild Animal, has made its way through history pillaging, brutalizing, taking what it likes from others. If required, to get what it wants, it will at times assume the guise of a “lamb,” a studied respectability, an outward veneer of civility. But, when he's backed into a corner, go for that poker now, as the real monster-heart will be coming out, and coming for you.
As the great mystics such as Krishnamurti teach, the world doesn't need "more time," a gradualism, to become perfect, but only an accessing of the non-temporal, one eternal moment of timeless clarity.
Education, more information, alone cannot remove the fears and insanity of people. In the history of the world, no educational program or religious training or weekend "sensitivity seminar" has ever been able to eradicate one atom of the "heart of darkness."
But, the question will be asked, is not the world a safer place than a thousand or two thousand years ago? Have we not abolished slavery and the burning of witches or child labor in factories? and similar advances.
Yes, to some extent, there are certain improvements, and we welcome them. But the essential "heart of darkness" remains untouched, poised for its next resurrection.
The dysfunctional ego might be put in a strait-jacket, and hedged about by a system of carrot-and-stick constraint, but it has not surrendered. It will come back to attack society under new guise, new cleverness, to get what it wants, as it attempts to circumvent the newly-minted socially-unacceptable norm.
Today we have new forms of slavery, new oppressions, new arguments to convince us that "good is evil"; we burn witches in new ways, children are treated as chattel in new ways, and new power-structures inflict their whim upon us - as much as they can get away with at the moment - as "the truth" is vilified and trampled in the streets, just as it's always been sullied and spat upon.
Real change, as historians Will and Ariel Durant came to see, comes only by way of philosophers and saints. It is only when we're led to a higher level of consciousness that fears and insanity begin to lose their grip on the human psyche -- only then might the illusion of "I have not enough because I am not enough" be snapped. This manumission, alone, and no other factor, becomes the end of evil.
And this seems to be the writer of Revelation's vision with “the Bride,” an ecstasy, a new civilization, displacing the reign of the symbolical Evil Duo. This ecstasy, the joy, of living in the flow of abundant life, of partaking of the mind of God, of the happiness of simply being alive, is what finally defeats the Evil Duo and cleanses the world by fire. They’re burned up, in a single moment, by the flames of piercing insight; one charring instant of cosmic clarity - and they're gone, forever.
The end of the symbolical Beast and False Prophet is not a single universal event. Their demise, the end of their influence, comes to each one of us, each heart and mind, on an individual basis.
Each one of us must represent “the end of evil in the world” – for we are the world, we are society, the ego lives in each one of us, and until we cleanse ourselves by the immolation of better awareness, the Evil Duo retains foothold in the cosmos, and stands ready to come back one more time, indeed, "seven" times.
a deeper look at 'thrown alive into the lake of fire'
In the “levels of consciousness” article I recall feeling very disturbed by the lowest rung of spiritual blindness, a pure shamelessness. Allow me to quote from that writing:
the utter shamelessness
Aselegeia from the New Testament Greek, according to Dr. William Barclay, is "the ugliest word in the list of NT sins." Often translated "lasciviousness" or "licentiousness," such words fail to elucidate the depth of depravity.
violence and audacity, consummate disrespect for propriety, no restraints, shocking to public decency
Dr. Barclay offers usage-examples from ancient classical Greek. Aselegeia describes "violence coupled with audacity"; it is used to explain "the spirit which knows no restraints." A man may commit a crime, but - in a sense, wisely, discreetly - often will attempt to hide his misdeed, but the person gripped by aselegeia sneeringly flaunts his maliciousness and "shocks public decency."
some people are so far under, so perverted, that they'd need to improve a lot just to reach the next-higher consciousness level of shame
In other words, aselegeia doesn't have enough good sense to know how to be ashamed. It has no sense of shame or propriety. Common decency is far too high for this dark-spirited mind-set.
It is so much under the influence of the basest of animal instincts and passions - my apologies to our dear friends, the animals - that, in the words of Barclay, it "does not care what people say or think so long as he can gratify his evil desire. He is the man who is lost to shame. Most men have enough decency left to hide their sin, but [one gripped in aselegeia] is long past that. He will be guilty of any outrageous conduct, and cares for nothing except to satisfy his desires... Aselegeia is a grim word. It is the wanton insolence lost to shame."
It is more grim than we have known, than I have known, and I'd like to talk about just how grim. In that article I used The Joker as an example of basest of minds.
Most people we meet every day, those run by the dysfunctional ego, are generally polite enough, offer a modicum of civility. However, this thin veneer of courtesy, we sense, is supported not so much by the milk of human kindness but a fear of retaliation or punishment or judgment should they overstep a line of legal duty toward propriety.
In other words, in an unenlightened state, they’re being nice because they know what’s good for them. But, what if they didn’t care what’s good for them?
You can’t reason with The Joker, explaining that, if he does such and such it will be better for him, or worse if he doesn't. He doesn’t care what’s better for him -- not as a guiding principle for his life; something else is more important to him. You can inflict pain on The Joker, beat his face with blows, and he will just laugh at you. He doesn’t care about his own well being, to say nothing of yours.
Batman punches The Joker. The Joker laughs:
“You have nothing! Nothing to threaten me with!
Nothing to do with all your strength.”
What does The Joker want? What does the utter shamelessness want? On the surface of his activities, The Joker wants to create as much chaos as possible. He wants to hurt as many people as possible. He wants to destroy as much of society as possible.
Well, strictly speaking, he would allow most people to live as long as they became his slaves, and acknowledged his superiority. What does The Joker want? What does any pathological ego want? It wants to quiet the inner clamoring of "I don't have enough" because "I am not enough."
the joker is wild
In order to calm this riot of existential craving, The Joker would be willing to kill as a many as necessary. In fact, The Joker, so far under in his insanities, would be willing to destroy the whole world rather than allow one person to escape bending the knee to him.
Editor’s note: Dr. Carl Jung, in an interview when he was very old, commented, to the effect, “We don’t need some mythical super-evil being like Satan to plague the world, we have all evil within us, each one of us, and do just fine poisoning the world without him.” We bring to mind Joseph Conrad’s famous descriptor, “The Heart Of Darkness.”
lessons from history
Is it really as bad as all this? Are not most people led by a basic decency? Isn’t it true that much of the world’s ills are caused by a small group of corrupt ones? In fact, many afterlife researchers today will say that one’s ticket into Summerland is simply that of living a generally good life, helping where one can, and that will be enough; no need for sainthood as entrance requirement. I myself have written of these things.
On one level, all this is true, but, as we go deeper, things become more problematic. Eventually, we'll have to do better than being "generally decent," but that's another topic.
Would the “utterly shameless ego” really destroy the world rather than give up attempts to secure “more and more” to assuage the inner bedlam?
The lessons of history are not encouraging in this regard. I shall not attempt any thorough survey but several examples immediately come to mind.
if you're willing to do that, then what aren't you capable of
It was said of King Herod of Judea that “it was safer to be Herod’s pig than his son.”
This was not so uncommon. Many notable potentates of history killed family members deemed to be threats to maintaining power. The butcher Emperor Constantine, of the famous Nicene Councils, father of Big Religion's “holy doctrines,” murdered family members who ventured too close to the throne.
In fact, as we discussed in “30 art masterpieces of the ancient world,” all art produced at that time served as “visual propaganda”, an effort to impress and intimidate the masses. In line with this, essentially all of the ancient rulers exercised dominion in a brutal and murderous way. The BBC documentary series “I, Claudius” well dramatizes the killing of family member who might have rivaled the current Caesar.
I think the point is this. In those days, while no one had the power to destroy the whole world, it takes little imagination to understand that, if one is willing to kill one’s own child, or brother, or mate, or parent, then – what aren’t you capable of? Those controlled by this degree of insanity, we suspect, would not stop even at destroying the whole world if they felt power might be taken from them. In the conflagration, their own children would be killed by their own actions, but, as we've seen in history, the lives of children and family mean little when one's insane quest for power is at stake.
compiling elements of perdition
Today it is possible to destroy the whole world; and, from many different angles – over-population, wars, destroying the ecosystem in a hundred different ways, pesticides and pollutants, damage to the ozone layer, fresh water shortages, harming the oceans and the rain forests, the extinction of flora and fauna, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the dumbing-down of the school system, inundation by plastic garbage, rising rates of illiteracy and childhood diseases, mindless and low-grade entertainment and generally amusing ourselves to stultifying death, corruption of the food supply and medicines, and others; we lose heart in keeping track of the elements of autopsy. Poor Mother Gaia. It’s so bad that any thinking person marvels, and despairs, concerning which of these competing “poison pills” will do us in first. They all circle like vultures now, and we sense that some sort of dark climax cannot be forestalled forever. We don't need to study the Bible to believe that we live in an "end time."
But, probably our worst threat, just as in ancient times, are the totalitarians who gain more power in the world with each passing year. They pose as smiling servants but work against the common good. How far will they go to quiet “the inner bedlam” that troubles The Joker?
We’re not encouraged as we see how great political power has conducted itself in the last few thousand years. How far would they go? When we witness what’s happening in society today, how authentic reformers are vilified and attacked, with unjust charges, with the rule of law trampled and personal freedoms effectively gone, we suspect that "the utterly shameless" would be willing to go very far.
And what does this mean concerning Revelation’s metaphor of “thrown alive into the lake of fire”? My earlier understanding on this led me to think that the forces of evil will be active to the very end. And while this is true, I think it’s worse than this.
The “lake of fire” is John’s symbol of cleansing all the world of evil. When the Wild Animal and the Lying Teacher see this coming purge, they will know that their game is about over. But this doesn’t cause them to stand down; instead, they continue on, probably, double down in their efforts to cling to power.
This means that the level of frenzy to maintain control is ratcheted up. They become more insane, and reveal their true colors to a greater degree. This makes the world an even more dangerous place as the Evil Duo now are willing to do anything to stay in power. Is this level of frantic clinging-to-the-throne not what we see in the world today? Are not the vectors of evil becoming more bold, more outrageous, and more reckless, in their attempt to entrench themselves in their positions of power? It is "violence coupled with audacity".
'it is an end time'
It’s interesting that the Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates I John 2:18 as, “My children, it is an end time…” We note the indefinite article.
As the temperature rises in this “end time” conflict -- "end time", in that it is the current "end time" among an endless chain of "seven times" -- how far will they go to avoid being ousted? We speak metaphorically here because there is no “white knight” on the horizon to set all alright, and we might even be on the brink of a new Dark Age; it’s not as if this hasn’t happened before. But how far would they go if they feel substantially under threat?
Certainly, they will be active to the end, and therefore will enter the purging fire “alive,” but, we suspect, there's more -- they will not allow themselves to be “thrown in the fire” without a good measure of retaliation. And I think we should not rule out the possibility that the Evil Duo might actually bring down the entire global system if they feel sufficiently threatened. They're thinking about it, if their worse comes to worst.
I decided to write this piece because of a new testimony I found. It concerns the pathological ego and the possibility that its insanity, to vindicate itself, might even destroy the whole world. As you might know, I've reviewed a great many channeled works from the other side, and also other messages from wisdom sources. And I came across one that was different. So many of these reports, purportedly from advanced ones, speak of a “new golden age” coming for the Earth. These prophecies, usually from immature teachers in the next world, have always fallen flat. I wrote of this problem in “the 500 tape-recorded messages from the other side.”
But I came across a new source, very clear-eyed, very wise, with a profound understanding of the dark side of human nature. This teacher’s warnings, grave and somber, were very much in line with what we heard from the discarnate Winston Churchill, as reported in “the 500” writing.
The message was this: The vested interests of power-and-control in your world have already stepped beyond the point of no return; meaning, their selfishness, and insanity, now churning at such high frenetic level, plus all of this linked to new technologies, make it very difficult to avoid a coming dark climax in your world affairs. He said that advanced ones do what they can, or must, to keep us from annihilation, but, even so, the insane power-mongering ones of your dark world, he plainly asserted, would, indeed, decide to destroy the entire planet if, at last resort, they cannot get their way.
I’ve long wondered why God would allow things to go that far. It’s a difficult teaching situation for divinity, I think, because such a large percentage of the population is not that interested in living and discovering the truth. So many people seek out their favorite Dear Leader, fail to do any thinking on their own, and then simply hate those who disagree. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that the serious problems in the world today are not just the result of criminal leadership as the people themselves, too many of us, “love to have it so” (KJV).
Editor’s note: Coming to mind is a scripture I’d not thought of in years. Jeremiah 5:31: "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority. My people love it so, but what will you do in the end?" Berean Standard Bible
Ah, yes, "the end." What will we do then? the scripture asks. We sense now, palpably, that we are living in an "end time.” The people do not object to the diminution of personal freedoms, "love to have it so," are venal and purchasable, easily stirred to hate those who offer "misinformation", and clamor, vote for, leaders of the most knavish and ignoble sort.
Many of us sense the gathering storm, feel that the current state of affairs on planet Earth is heading toward some unpleasant culmination. Our materialistic-hedonistic way is unsustainable, cannot continue, with too many on the take, too many having been dumbed down; worse, we witness the demonizing of those, the modern Wilberforce, who offer reform. Truth is trampled, violated in the streets.
There's always been trouble here in this sorrowful world, but not like this -- planet-wide control and censorship, totalitarian surveillance of the globe aided by high tech, the wide-spread pillaging of Mother Earth's ecosystem. It's one minute before midnight, civil society unravels at the edge, also at the core.
What this means, I’m not certain, but I do feel that life, just to continue on, business as usual, will not be possible; however, even if it could continue, I believe that this would not help people spiritually but make them worse.
Editor's note: It occurs to me that Max Planck's observation concerning cultish science is but an extension of "thrown alive." See this, reprinted from the home page:
Saul rarely becomes Paul, instead minds remain tight-shut, and science advances one funeral at a time
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents, making them see the light, but rather opponents eventually die and a new generation grows... rarely, does Saul become Paul.” Max Planck, father of quantum mechanics - Editor’s note: Planck’s dictum is often paraphrased as “science progresses one funeral at a time.”
And this, more complete version, reprinted from the "afterlife" page:
"There is a great body of evidence which, taken as a whole, absolutely and unqualifiedly proves the case for the afterlife... This evidence would be technically admissible in the Supreme Court of the United States, the House of Lords in England, the High Court of Australia, and in every civilized legal jurisdiction around the world." Victor Zammit, retired attorney of the Supreme Court of Australia
Editor’s note: “Taken as a whole,” facts in aggregate, a total-field perception, becomes key to determining better views of reality.
Dr. F.C.S. Schiller: "A mind unwilling to believe, or even undesirous to be instructed, our weightiest evidence must ever fail to impress. It will insist on taking the evidence in bits and rejecting item by item. The man who announces his intention of waiting until a single absolutely conclusive bit of evidence turns up, is really a man not open to conviction... For modern logic has made it plain that single facts can never be 'proved' except by their coherence in a system. But, as all the facts come singly, anyone who dismisses them one by one is destroying the conditions under which the conviction of new truth could ever arise in his mind."
To insist on waiting for a knock-out blow of one conclusive item of data is to declare, with sophism, that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. This is tantamount to announcing, from the outset, that the new proposition shall not be accepted, and detractors work hard to ensure rejection. Painting the target around the arrow, they begin with conclusion in mind.
There can never be absolutely conclusive “extraordinary evidence”. We always know but in part. All perceptions are fragmentary, all data might be gainsaid, no matter how auspicious. It is disingenuous to assert, "it's not extraordinary enough" - it will never be enough, especially for the willfully blinded. This is not science but cultish "scientism" (see below).
Instead, the honest seeker of truth, with disinterest, will survey the data, in its totality, gathered from independent sources, weighed proportionately, empirically corroborated variously, measured against competing theories, over a period of time.
In this manner of objective research, often slowly with false starts and mirages of success, a clearer and more accurate picture of the world as it is - not as fears or vested inclinations clamor - gradually, and finally, comes into view.
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents, making them see the light, but rather opponents eventually die and a new generation grows... rarely, does Saul become Paul.” Max Planck, father of quantum mechanics - Editor’s note: Planck’s dictum is often paraphrased as “science progresses one funeral at a time.”
What do you [Kepler] think of the foremost philosophers of this university? … they have refused to look at the planets or moon or my telescope ... the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo
The years of searching in the dark for a truth that one feels but cannot express, the intense desire, the alternations of confidence and misgiving, until one breaks through to clarity, are known only to those who have themselves experienced them. Einstein
New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, but from an inspired researcher, struggling [if need be, for years] in lonely thought on one single point. Max Planck
the jungle always wins
In their massive “Story Of Civilization,” Will and Ariel Durant, observing the tiresome rise-and-fall of history’s human governments, societies, and cultures, comment, to the effect, that the jungle always wins.
A people might amass great scientific knowledge in astronomy and mathematics, might create grand and imposing architectural edifices, produce a veritable wonderland of philosophy, the fine arts, and jurisprudence, but, eventually, the jungle will have the last say and wins.
In fact, as the Durants’ assess, any apparent progress that humankind makes in this world is but "a temporary interruption of the jungle." This is a lesson of history, a view of life on planet Earth, from a high vantage point.
The Durants' "jungle" metaphor says that things of this world are impermanent, all structures therein are unstable.
John Adams, with disturbing insight into the nature of things, spoke plainly that all democracies eventually commit suicide. But it’s not just democracies, it’s all forms of human government that self-destruct, which would include all churches with its Nice Young Man, grasping corporations, all John-and-Mary marriages, all ego-based friendships, all social contracts of every sort.
But why should it be this way? Why are we so unstable?
Many saints and philosophers have explained it to us. For example, in the New Testament, the apostle John speaks of this world as “passing away.” And why so ephemeral? – because it is founded upon “the lust of the eyes,” the covetousness of the heart, the Little Me, the dysfunctional ego within, that can’t stop chattering, “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”
The domain of the Ego creates civilization as it makes its fearful and needy way through history, but a time comes when that which it creates falls apart. Why does it fall apart? Call it “imperial overreach.” It tries to get too much, it oppresses others too much, it attempts to fortify itself at the expense of the common good. And then it all “passes away.” And when it does, the jungle stands ready to take over.
We might think we’ve won against the jungle with our machetes, herbicides, and mechanical choppers, but, as the Durants instruct, all this is but "temporary interruption of the jungle." The silent verdant marching-troops of slow-accretive floral advance, eventually, win all wars. But only in this world, which is passing away.
The lessons for us?
(1) Whatever we are doing, be it this moment or in terms of long-range projects, if these are not based upon the energies of “the true self,” then – stop. There’s no point in continuing, as it will all “pass away,” come to nothing, but for sorrowful and tearful insights gained.
(2) If our cause is just, if our purpose reflects authentic desire based upon “the true self” and the hidden pledges of the soul, then, we are to be like the jungle. Keep moving forward. In the short term, we may be turned back, with battles apparently lost, but, a day will come when we'll win the war. If we never give up, if the heart is set like flint, then one will yet achieve that which the heart authentically desires. Because the jungle always wins.
This is the mountain-moving message of Jesus in Mark 11. The long-viewed fortitudinous intention, built upon the dictates of the soul and Universal Intelligence, cannot fail in its endeavor. Like the jungle, it always wins.
Editor's last word:
In Revelation, Satan is also thrown into the Lake of Fire; but he, too, is an abstraction, just a symbol of evil in the world, and not a living entity. I deal with the Satan-myth in a separate article.
Also, see the Jiddu Krishanmurti lectures. For 60 years he gave talks around the world explaining how the seeds of evil reside within each heart of darkness.
'we are the world, we are society'
Very often, Krishnamurti would caution his audiences against blaming others, seeing ourselves as "above." It's not easy to stand down as there’s much aspersion to cast. Right now, we witness the world marching toward totalitarianism, to a degree not seen since the days prior to World War II. Many of us are angry, and we want to believe that if we could just get rid of “the bad guys,” the ones causing all the trouble, then life would be good for all of us “good guys.” But this is illusion.
The seeds of evil, not always unsprouted, reside within each of us. If sufficiently provoked, if blinded to the light within, each person is capable of any atrocity, any brutality, and more, that we’ve seen in history.
the seeds of evil
Star Trek: Next Generation, episode "Violations"
|"No one can deny that the seeds of violence remain within each of us. We must recognize that - because that violence is capable of consuming each of us."
In other words, “We are the world. We are society.” We are not exempt, as we too reflect the human condition, and we take with us the vectors of perdition wherever we go. And until we learn to access the light within, there will be no peace and happiness; not on an individual basis nor for the world.
See the Krishnamurti page and especially his "summary" discourse.