by Ralph Calabria, DMC Executive Editor
Given the state of the world today, you may be hearing people use the word “apocalyptic” to describe the chaos. But “apocalypse,” a Greek word, does not mean chaos. It means “uncovering” or “revelation.” Thus St. John’s Apocalypse, the last book in the Bible, is commonly known as the Book of Revelation.
This Apocalypse is a “Humdinger-Folk Singer, just about as good as it gets.” But for about 99% percent of its readers, the Book of Revelation appears to be a nightmare or science fantasy. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists use this apocalypse as a weapon. The evangelical wannabe doomsday warriors preach that humanity should expect an “end-times” destruction soon, an end of the world as we know it.
They claim it is prophesied, and ordained. Their agenda is to convert and control, so they preach this catastrophic event to frighten people. They claim it is down-right foolish and fatal to reject Jesus as your personal savior for “the apocalypse cometh.”
The first verse of the apocalypse is:“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1). Then John defines “evildoers” and tells us of God’s judgment for “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev 21:8).
So, did the events John described (the burning lake and so forth) “shortly come to pass?” It’s been nearly 2,000 years since St. John wrote his Revelation…. Christ has not returned yet and Satan is still on the loose. Hmm, perhaps it should start to dawn on people that Revelation is not to be taken literally.
The underlying theme of Revelation, as religious scholar Bart Erhman says, “is not as a literal description of the future of the earth but as a metaphorical statement of the ultimate sovereignty of God over a world that is plagued by evil.” John, who like his fellow Jews had suffered under the oppression of the Roman Empire, wrote partly in response to those injustices….. But that wasn’t his entire purpose.
Even though apocalypse means “uncovering,” John kept the mysteries secret. He cloaked his meanings in allegory because of the Romans, and because Jesus said, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without – (outside of his circle of close disciples) – all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11).
Jesus knew that most people were just not capable of receiving what he had to give and he also warned of the dangers in revealing the mysteries to those who were not spiritually ready.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt. 7:6).
Yogananda, a Christ-like Master, explained, “Jesus talked to the populace in parables to awaken their curiosity for truth, but to his disciples he taught plain truths and techniques of meditation.” Jesus could, in a glance, distinguish casual spiritual seekers from those who were intensely interested and spiritually ready to learn the boundless mysteries of the Eternal Kingdom of God. He did not select his disciples randomly. He selected men who were ready for discipleship and advanced spiritual training.
As I have reminded my readers many times in my blogs, Jesus said, “ye are gods.” (John 10:34). How many of us really believe this is true? If so, how many of us work to establish our spiritual identity?
Jesus taught us how to begin: Love God, Love Neighbor, Love Self (Matt 19:16; Luke 10:25-28). To permanently regain our spiritual identity, one must become a disciple of Jesus or a “Christ-like” Master. Otherwise our spiritual transformation remains incomplete, camouflaged from us by the lies and deception of Satan.
Spiritual truth and training can be threatening (to the ego); it is not for spiritual weaklings. Yet, we have everything to gain by making the effort! Kriya Yoga Master Yogiraj says, “the only purpose of man’s sojourn on earth is to seek God.” And who is God? Yogananda defined God as ever-new joy, unconditional love, and the end of all sorrows.
Until our effulgent spiritual identity is alive, Yogi Sadhguru says, “What you know is miniscule, what you do not know is boundless.” In other words, until we make the supreme effort to claim our true spiritual stature, we live in overwhelming ignorance.
So, will there be periodic chaos, wars, earthquakes, pandemics, such as those described in the Book of Revelation? Yes. These calamities will continue to appear from time to time as they have for centuries. Yet they are not world-ending events. Great troubles are caused by humanity’s selfishness, not by the coming of Jesus or any other of the Great Ones.
We must not and cannot quit in resignation, believing we are not responsible, or that we are not capable of solving our self-created problems. Do not accept the sick evangelical and fundamentalist “solution” of ignoring pressing global problems in anticipation of Jesus’ return and destruction of civilization.
The healthy spiritual solution is: 1) accept and work toward establishing our spiritual identity (inner work through meditation); and 2) address the world’s problems within our power to make a difference (outer work through service to others). Saint Francis shows us how.
Start by doing
Then do what’s possible,
and suddenly you are doing
–Saint Francis of Assisi
This is “just about as good as it gets.*”
*lyrics from an album of Bob Dylan’s original recordings 1961-1962