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Saturday, 28 May 2011

The End quote

We run amok if we get involved in the details.  Almost all Biblical comment on the subject is metaphor--words in search of words to describe the indescribable... When you literalize it, though, everything turns kind of sour.  The Book of Revelation is actually a wonderful poem...  When you start fussing about how many horns the demons have, or the precise timetable of this or that, then, as we used to say on the farm, "Mister, you're driving your ducks to a mighty poor pond."


John Petty on Progressive Involvement

7 comments:

  1. The Book of Revelation is actually a wonderful poem...

    Has John Petty actually read The Book of Revelation?

    Or did he get that from either the Atlantic Monthly or the History Channel?

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  2. Hey, I'll be the first one to laugh at the unhappy Campers (And, as corroborated on my comments section, neither the WCG itself, nor did Armstrong, set concrete dates, the way Camping and Weinland, to their own detriment, have.), but unfortunately for Douglas Becker (sorry, Douglas), I do have to agree with John Petty on one point:

    Regardless of whether or not you believe the events pictured in the Revelation of Jesus Christ are literal, or taking place now, or will take place sometime in the future (my current, admittedly human, understanding, leans towards the year 6000 of the Judaic calendar), it is a wonderful (in the sense of "wonder and awe") narrative, full of rich imagery and detailed metaphor and even (yes, Basil Wolverton's illos aside) an incredible amount of hope, for a bright and shining future, that we should all aspire to.

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  3. Sing Songs of Praise to Him: I'm not exactly certain which way I am leaning.

    The problem I have is that if Revelation doesn't have a measure of future reality to it, particularly the part of God the Father wiping away all tears, the elimination of everything that is evil from the Universe and the ultimate fulfilment of destiny of mankind to be the people of God, then the poetry doesn't matter and the metaphor is empty.

    While I do believe firmly in God, a perspective that the whole thing has no basis in reality but is some abstract fantasy is severely limiting and quite disturbing.

    I'm not so sure we can have it both ways. It would seem to be rather disappointing delusional psychotic fantasy, worse than no future at all. If that were the case, I would rather put my faith in Star Trek and Dr. Who as an incredible amount of hope, for a bright and shining future that we should all aspire to. And so far, the vision of Star Trek technology has more reality than Revelation does at the moment (not that it couldn't change very quickly, I'm just sayin').

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  4. There is another, overriding issue here:

    So many believers get caught up in Jesus, Jesus, Jesus as the end all of everything. The Apostle Paul compounded this by saying that he came to just talk about Jesus only, when Jesus himself said that he was here to bring us to the Father.

    Revelation makes it very clear that God the Father is the One. Jesus is to sit at His right Hand, but He is to be Our God and we, His people.

    Metaphor or not, this seems to be lost to the masses of those who argue endlessly about eschatology without ever bringing that particular topic up: Jesus simply takes second place. The Binatarians and Trinitarians solve the problem by saying that God the Father Most High and Jesus Christ are exactly the same person, which then is dismissed as a mystery which no one can understand. There. Mystery solved because it is a mystery which cannot be solved. We said so. Go your way. We can argue about it, but we can't discuss it, because it is a mystery.

    Of Babylon, I'd think.

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  5. Douglas,

    "Sing Songs of Praise to Him: I'm not exactly certain which way I am leaning."

    Hey, that's allowed. Better to be uncertain and still learning, than dead-certain and at a standstill, the way I was, just a few short months ago. And I will be the first one to tell anyone that it is entirely possible I might be wrong; events in my life don't suggest it, at the moment, but I am not a "fundamentalist" by a long shot; nor was I one, growing up in WCG.

    "The problem I have is that if Revelation doesn't have a measure of future reality to it, particularly the part of God the Father wiping away all tears, the elimination of everything that is evil from the Universe and the ultimate fulfilment of destiny of mankind to be the people of God, then the poetry doesn't matter and the metaphor is empty."

    I agree. But you should know better than I, that the metaphor is not empty, is anything but empty, no matter what your stance on the actual book in question is.

    Even the Anglicans agree on that! Although, for some perplexing reason, they prefer to read the promise of those verses at funerals, which seems counterintuitive in the extreme, to me, as Anglicans don't believe in the Resurrections, or even the Kingdom.

    "While I do believe firmly in God, a perspective that the whole thing has no basis in reality but is some abstract fantasy is severely limiting and quite disturbing."

    I agree. Obviously that's not my take on the book, either. Just as obviously, there are others out there, for whom that is their take on the book; my point is, even that self-limiting view cannot take away the power of the promise in those verses. In my opinion, anyway. One need only read them, to have that confirmed.

    "I'm not so sure we can have it both ways."

    We absolutely cannot have it both ways. I'm sorry if I was unclear on that point; rest assured, there is only one way to read those verses, and the whole book itself, as a matter of fact, and that is with an overwhelming sense of hope.

    "I would rather put my faith in Star Trek and Dr. Who as an incredible amount of hope, for a bright and shining future that we should all aspire to."

    Science fiction has its dystopian side as well, don't forget; even with science fiction, though, no matter how dark it gets, it still posits that there is a future; as does the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Surely that overrides any doubts or misinterpretations or outright denials, promoted by anyone else in this world. (Of whom we are not the judges, anyway, I would add. But you already know that.)

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  6. "Binatarians and Trinitarians solve the problem by saying that God the Father Most High and Jesus Christ are exactly the same person, which then is dismissed as a mystery which no one can understand. There. Mystery solved because it is a mystery which cannot be solved. We said so. Go your way. We can argue about it, but we can't discuss it, because it is a mystery."

    Hmm, well, I know professing Christians (trinitarians) do push this quite heavily, but the WCG I grew up in never taught that binitarianism was a "mystery" or "unexplainable" or any of the ten-dollar-words the "theologians" of man like to throw around; in fact, when I was a child, there was no "mystery" at all, to binitarianism, as taught by the WCG: There was John 1:1-5, Let US make man in OUR image, Ps. 110:1-4 (which even shows up in the Hebrew bible), and Melchizedek, who was Christ incarnated earlier on Earth.

    I remember all of that quite clearly (indeed, I found the references very easily, and quickly), as what the WCG taught, when I was a child. No "mystery" or obtuseness at all. It was always made very plain, and very clear.

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  7. Yep. There are those who believe that Jesus pre-existed his existence and think he was Melchizedek of Genesis fame. However, it's because ol' Mel wasn't mentioned in the Jewish genealogies in Genesis and the time of his birth or death is not given.

    It only means that he didn't descend from Ham, Shem or Japeth but from someone who didn't drown in the worldwide flood of Noah.

    He was the Priest of El, the most high god of the Ugarites. Plus, he was the king of Salem.

    Melchizedek combined the office of priest and king, one of many priest/kings of the ancient world, and that's the only relationship there is to Jesus - the office of Priest/king rolled into one.

    Imagination is the only thing that can make a man pre-exist his own birth. Plus, he couldn't be a begotten son if he wasn't really begotten - that is, unless God had a wife and Jesus was begotten in some dim distant past in the cosmos somewhere.

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