end of days
Prophets: The Oracles of Conscience
Faith in the Holy One as revealed in Judaism affords us a particular view of a people's experience in their relationship with God, themselves, and each other. The Bible offers us a meta-narrative of the story of revelation: Prophecy. Following the period of matriarchs and patriarchs, as Jewish people became a nation, the Holy One raised prophets as oracles of conscience, calling the people out their twoness in return to oneness.
Despite how religion has flattened the words of prophets, implying some moody demigod above that favors or damns people below, the subtlety of inwardness from which prophets are speaking is still more exposing than many might bear to hear: God is what is happening. The Holy One isn’t only above but everywhere below, displaying the state of every human heart. Reality outside is generated from interior lives inside. From the historical perspective of conscience embodied by the prophets, the darkest cycles in Jewish history of collapse and exile turned inevitable past the tipping point. When turned away from God and towards illusory idols of human constructs, people’s hearts fell out of balance and were hardened by the Other Side, which in turn exposed society to escalating assaults of social, political, and ecological catastrophe.
It doesn’t take a prophet to see the same, spiraling cycles continuing to our very day. What has happened? We’ve long passed the tipping point. While the polar caps are melting, our hearts seem to be freezing. As more species lose their habitats and perish, so shall we. And unlike every prophetic cycle before us, we face global exile, with no where to go. As climate refugees rise in number and desperation, violence can only escalate. But founded on the Crucifixion and Resurrection, genuine Christian faith offers the most sublime opportunity to know and embody Messiah more directly than ever before. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints (Revelation 13:10, 14:12). Our hope is not to attempt to escape to heaven, but to serve God in each other, even in the end.
Who, in the name of Messiah, would abandon suffering people in need? Instead of evacuating to heaven while his time and place was swiftly collapsing, what did Yeshua desire? To stay: to serve to his last breath, even in the worst case scenario. See, we honor the Cross of Messiah not at all as vicarious salvation, but imitating Yeshua’s way of salvation: Break out of yourself, take up the cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34). He inverted every idea of salvation in heaven by offering himself on earth. Salvation is to serve. The heart that sees, loves, and serves Messiah in all beings can know the Resurrection in this life.
For This Hour We Have Come
What religion binds to the past, Our tradition finds in the present. The time and place of the Crucifixion was a prophecy of our spiritual working conditions today. Nothing today can contradict the context of the gospel. Despite the worst nightmare Romans could imagine, Yeshua remained lucid throughout his mutilation and offered himself. This reframes the entire gospel away from evacuation to one of lucidity and service in all circumstances. In simplest terms, the Cross reveals that no one is separate. If one’s seeing this way, it is then that they may recognize the oneness of God. When one can perceive God in all that is happening, they may realize the absolute oneness of God. Oneness makes no ultimate difference between this life and the afterlife. The essence of the gospel is gnostic, non dual awareness of ourselves in God in all circumstances.
Applying the crucifixion of Yeshua to the crucifixion of the world, it’s easy to assume or hope that John describes events of the Apocalypse from two settings: the sinners wailing on earth below and the saints rejoicing in heaven above. But consider his opening statement: I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos (1:9). He received his revelation while in a prison labor camp! This proof text inclines us to collapse these settings: Saints and sinners are both on earth, but while all is falling apart, the saints gathering for prayer and worship ascend through their souls into visions and direct knowledge of the Lamb of God and New Jerusalem. In our community, this is actually happening. Not only in ours, but in any community founded on light transmission and active compassion. This is the revelation, the very hour in which our lineage holders long ago longed to work. They knew its darkness and violence also would hold the greatest opportunity for generating merit in spiritual progress. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour (John 12:27). For this hour we have come.