The French television series Varsailles was set during the civil wars in France that occurred in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War. At that time Louis the 14th was confronted with the combined opposition of the princes, the nobility, the courts, and most of the French people. In the show, during one fictional encounter, Louis meets the central hero in a series of fanciful poems. The King said: “Will you not share a glass of wine with me?” Our hero responded “I prefer to see the world as it is.”
It was clearly an attempt at seduction within the broader context of the same power dynamics we’ve often witnessed in our own day. So much of our commerce, our religion, our politics, and our social media experience is tainted with a certain coercive quality. Name calling is a form of coercive labeling. Leading questions are often misleading at best. And, certain algorithms affecting our social media experience specifically target the Primal Brain or the Paleomammalian / Emotional Brain.
Efforts to severely blunt the Neomammalian or Rational Brain, also known as the Neocortex, were clearly the theme in the oft ignored Moody Blue’s song Send Me No Wine. The lyricist went on to warn “They’re gonna make you leave your, leave your heart behind.” The emphasis on higher things was clearly evident in the lyric “If only everybody found the answer in love.”
As we become centered in this particular “answer,” we can better enjoy our lives and become more discriminating, even when it comes to the finest of wines. However, when anything is taken to excess, and in the face of the ongoing warfare that was early on described as “War in Heaven,” the enemy gains tactical advantage by means of the sophistries designed to make us leave our love behind. Our Mission Commander clearly exhibited a unique situational awareness when he said: “This is my command, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Our strife torn world is what it is. And we need to be clear eyed if we are to recognize and address its many persistent problems. Our earliest written records state that God gave us dominion over many of these things. He has delegated responsibility for mitigating the effects of war, famine, and pestilence that are unwelcome characteristics of the natural world. And we are clearly admonished to aspire to something higher than nature.
We have entered an age and are at a stage where we faced with global pandemics, regional skirmishes, and rampant criminality. Some of our fellow human beings are even fighting alongside our microscopic foes. They sabotage any effort to combat not only deadly viruses but other forms of disease as well. While paying lip service to the top forty Christian talking points, some show disdain for much of what Jesus actually taught and exemplified.
The Book of Revelation occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. While it is widely recognized as the final book of the Christian Bible, its title is derived from the first word of the Greek text: apokalypsis. The precise identity of the author remains a point of academic debate although no one is pushing back on the descriptive title advanced when American gospel-blues musician Blind Willie Johnson recorded the song “John the Revelator” in 1930. The chorus line “Who’s that a writin” is widely regarded as asking if it was John of Patmos who was exiled as a result of anti-Christian persecution.
Whoever it was is not quite so important as other questions arising from the challenges put forth within the book itself. For example, the writer makes many interesting statements including this one : “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he took the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and he bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit. And he bound him and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the people no more till the thousand years were fulfilled. And after that, he must be loosed for a little season.”
Why, one might ask, would the deceiver be “loosed for a little season?” Now the book is commonly dated to about AD 95 so, depending on the length of the “little season,” we could well be smack dab in the middle of it. And, just what is it? Could it be a time of testing? Maybe it is intended to provide for a period of sorting and sifting. We do, after all, live on a rebellion torn, confused, and disordered planet.
Maybe, just maybe, this is how Jesus always intended to separate the sheep from the goats. Really, do we think he would want to be surrounded by those feigning allegiance? Highly unlikely. Instead, Our Sovereign Lord would undoubtedly want to build his true church with those who are sincere; those with a loyalty and devotion that is voluntary, wholehearted, and sophistry-proof.