For all my years as a pastor, I was forever trying to help parishioners see that The Book of Revelation was not a piece of literature detailing a prognostication of events in our time promising doom and gloom but was rather an apocalyptic proclamation of hope for a world under the domination of the Roman Empire. In other words, John of Patmos, author of The Book of Revelation, was promising a divine intervention that would destroy Roman oppression, he was not predicting Twentieth-Century events and personages. As far as I could discern, few wanted to hear such an explanation, preferring the mistaken notion that Biblical prophesy was fortune-telling for a future generation, to the notion that its relevance is for those to whom it is originally addressed. Televangelists have made millions peddling the prophesy as fortune-telling palaver to audiences eager to be deceived.
Now though, I am beginning to understand why the idea of a divine intervention is so popular. It offers hope to those without power to do anything about their situation.
Our post-911 history with its endless violence has left hundreds of thousands dead in its wake and has cost trillions of dollars, which expenditures have benefited no one except arms manufacturers and the Security State that devours civil liberties like a plague consumes its victims. Both sides of the aisle in our Congress applaud as our President promises to reduce to rubble yet another sinister outbreak of bloodthirsty militants by resuming military intervention almost before he can fulfill his promises to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It apparently matters not whether our President is a Republican or a Democrat, nor does voting make any difference in any event, since it is Big Money that determines election outcomes. We average citizens are left with no options and no power. One man steps in front of the column of tanks, shifting left when the column tries a right flank and moving right when the tank commander tries to move left. This occasional voice may be heard trying to protest ceaseless blood-letting but feeble cries of the likes of us are drowned out by the drums of the God of War.
It is indeed easy to understand why an apocalyptic vision of a divine intervention makes sense. You and I, and the sum of all of us together, have lost the capacity to stop the barbarism of the military-industrial complex. Our hope must come from beyond us.
Don’t hold your breath though, waiting for the intervention. You’ll only pass out, to awaken again in despair. Pogo was right, we have met the enemy and it is us.