30 December 2004

Signs and Portents

The recent quakes have upset everybody and devastated so many, but they have also got me battling a desire to fumble through the bottom of bookcases and cupboard drawers looking for my bible, which as you can gather from that statement, doesnt get much of an airing.

I dont actually have it in mind to re-read the gospels and clean up my spiritual act, which I have to admit has become one of those 'must do's that gets an airing at around new year resolution time, along with losing weight, giving up smoking and paying more attention to the children.

No, my target is Revelation.

Given the dire warning about changing a single word of that book, it is quite surprising that modern versions exist at all. There is the suggestion that the original text is compatible with the bible code that reportedly finds extra instruction hidden in the old testament, but apart from that, who knows. It is so unlike the bible to have something akin to a pharaoh’s curse (well bigger actually, a God curse) plastered on the front of one of its books, that I do wonder how many crucial pieces of information were in the original, whether or not they were in plain sight.

Is the number of the beast something to do with the bible code again, or with Cabbalistic or other pre-Judaic numerology? If so, which number should one look for, as there already seems to be disagreement over whether 666 should really read as 616?

My point is this, the world these days seems to have a thin veil of homogenous religion, belief in God or at least an ultimate power or power source, the afterlife, angels, spiritual healing, humanitarian ideals, world-husbandry; all these are ‘new morals’ adopted in part or in their entirety by most people, even on the sly. I don’t know of any other belief system however that puts its cards on the table so firmly as Christianity as regards future prediction. According to the Bible, Christ is coming back and the end of the world is very possible, albeit that it’s all to happen at an unspecified time. What Revelation does is to paint signposts to that time by describing disasters. Has famine or disease (help me, God, I forget which one!) wiped out a third of the world’s population yet? Is it true that whatever else has been in short supply there has always, always been enough oil and grain produced on a yearly basis to comfortably feed the entire world population? Is the earth groaning like a woman in childbirth?

If the answer to that last one is yes then I’d have to say that two consecutive 8+ earthquakes, 2 weeks apart and at different points in the crust, with enough force in them to nearly tip the planet off its orbit and all the attendant devastation, count as a bit of a big bloody contraction.

Okay other faiths suggest a big change coming; I seem to recall that the calendar of forever (or whatever) in some Peruvian (?) faith simply stops, this century. Books have come out in recent years suggesting that the tunnels in one of the Great Pyramids were built, like the lifeline on a hand, to map out future possibilities, with a big chance for calamity in the next decade or so. Some spiritualists feel that the earth’s vibration is speeding up, which I can go with, I mean maybe it is measurably changing but by all accounts we adopted an extra 5 and a bit days into the year some time back, which would imply to my ignorant mind that once upon a time the orbit changed and frequency slowed. It doesn’t mean we’re all going to vibrate until we are balls of light, nor does it mean that we will gain some sort of understanding of the universe in the process or suddenly start floating around to the strains of incidental music off the original Star Trek. Come to that I wouldn’t want to spend eternity with anyone who could conceive of buzzing off up their own vibration like some sort of selfish party guest, leaving the rest of us to mop up. I’m alright Jack, or what?

I cant take these offerings with any more sincerity that the prophecy which gave my childhood a few sleepless nights, that the Witch of Wookey Hole had predicted the end of the world by 1984!

No, Revelation is different. It paints a picture of real disasters on a global scale, in a set order and with attendant statistics. There is nothing airy fairy about it, it can only either be right or wrong, and simply because it is sitting there waiting to be noticed or ignored, proved or discounted, I for one am off for a very studious read.

My last and most awful thought is that, if it turns out to be right, then there is only one way to survive because whatever we’ve faced over the last decade, more of the same or worse will be coming after. The only way round that is to release the grain mountains, completely reassess ourselves and our society and get some sort of global NI and health care service in place, where we in the West take a massive but voluntary reduction in standard of living expectations in order to insure ourselves as much as anybody else against the need for the next rescue.

Completely as an aside, I wonder how the heads of multinational conglomerates would like to hit the afterlife only to discover they were the cause of Armageddon and the end of the world. Looking at the shenanigans of the sugar barons, I wonder if they’d care. I wonder what numerology would make of the names Procter and Gamble, or Tate and Lyle……….

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